Row over right of way through private school

Footpath at Mill Lane, Westbury, which runs through Beachborough School.'130328M-B249
Footpath at Mill Lane, Westbury, which runs through Beachborough School.'130328M-B249

More than 50 people have objected to the removal of a footpath through a private school near Brackley.

After Bucks County Council’s rights of way committee cited school security when they gave notice of the closure of the footpath which passes through the edge of Beachborough School’s cricket pitch, they received 52 letters of objection from Westbury residents, ramblers and Westbury Parish Council

Objectors say there have been no serious breaches of security in the past, and there are many other ways to get on to school grounds.

Vicky Webb, of Westbury Parish Council, said: “The parish council does empathise with the school regarding safety and are hopeful we can work with them to find a solution, but in this instance, there is no evidence of it being unsafe.”

Headteacher Jonathan Whybrow said: “Although we would be upset if the decision went against us on account of school safety, we would respect the findings of the law.

“Everybody has their own opinion, we just know the safety of the children is paramount.”

Mr Whybrow agreed there had been no serious breaches of security but added: “We have been secure only with constant vigilance, complicated by a footpath running through school grounds.”

He believes the situation arose as a result of the school straddling the Bucks/Oxon border and added: “The paramount issue is nothing to do with upsetting local people and being an aggressive landowner, it’s simply the safety of children.”

The committee will next discuss the issue in July.