A NEW public right of way has been declared in Donaghadee.
A 150ft path linking Hunt’s Park with the Seahill part of town is now officially a public access route.
The lane runs down to a disused railway track that borders Hunt’s Park and is regularly used by Seahill residents to get to and from a walkway and children’s play area in the park.
Surveys showed that people have been using the route for up to 40 years, but adding it to official registers as a public right of way will properly secure it for the future.
Ards and North Down Council discussed the Seahill lane, as well as several other potential public rights of way, at a series of behind closed doors meetings over the past few weeks.
The council barred the public and press from attending those meetings, and what was said about the public rights of way is never to be revealed.
Even the fact that the Seahill path had been declared a public right of way was kept secret until last week.
News that it has been kept as an access route has delighted local alderman Mark Brooks, who with local residents campaigned for it to be added to rights of way registers.
This little piece of ground is of immense value to the local residents,” he said. “It’s as important to them as the Suez Canal.
“Residents use the path to access Hunt’s Park, which in turn allows easy and quick access to the Commons, a local nursing home and Ballyvester Cemetery.”
Mr Brooks added that the right of way campaign also revealed that the lane is Housing Executive property, and the local community now hopes to join with that body in making it easier to use.
“Over the years the link has become difficult to use, it’s eroding,” he said.
“Working with the council and the Housing Executive, the Donaghadee Community Development Association hopes, with the aid of grant funding, to create a new path that would enable residents to easily use the link.”