PLANS TO close a path that has been in use for more than 60 years, have caused a storm of protest.
On Sunday, protesters formed a human chain along the “Wiggly Path” to show their outrage at a proposal to close the route that goes through Ardwyn Nursery and Infants School.
During the last week, the path has been a hot topic on social media, with many in the town annoyed by the decision.
It had been revealed that, due to child safety concerns, the whole school campus would be closed off to the public.
This would end access to the path that has been used as a shortcut to town for more than 60 years.
Ian Harrison, chairman of the Interim Ardwyn school governors, has defended the decision.
Mr Harrison, speaking to the County Times, said: “There are a number of issues about this.
“First of all the nature of the school is changing.
“The eldest pupils were aged seven, but from September children from the age of four to 11 will be taught at the site.
“We have to make sure that we can provide a safe environment at the school for all of the pupils.
“We have taken advice from the education authority and staff.”
Mr Harrison said that the risk of children being affected by toxocara, that can cause blindness and can be transmitted to humans through dog excrement, had also been considered as an issue for the closure.
In response to the decision, town resident Linda Hilditch and her friends walked the path, to show their outrage at the decision taken by the school governors.
On Sunday, direct action escalated.
Following a call from Alan Crowe on social media, objectors formed a human chain along the path.
Mr Crowe, said: “It was a really good turn-out and the overall message was clear that people want this path to stay open.
“A big thank-you to those who turned up to support.
“The wiggly path has been used for over 60 years without any problems. Both the Croft path and the pavements are not suitable for mums with prams.
“It’s a shame to see part of Welshpool history close as well as the name of my old nursery school disappear.”
County Councillor Graham Breeze, who represents the Llanerchyddol ward, has met with protesters and is asking the council to look at alternatives.
Cllr Breeze said: “The safeguarding of school pupils must come first but I am confident a compromise can be found which will meet the demands of the school governors and staff along with those who regularly use the pathway.”
Powys County Council has investigated rights of way issues regarding the path and concluded that there is no public right of way.
In September the school will be home to pupils of Ysgol Gymraeg y Trallwng, the new Welsh medium school for the town which should be built by 2019.
The new term starts on September 4 and it is expected that access will be limited from that date.
See full story in the County Times