A CONTROVERSIAL fence put up to block off a popular access route into Primrose Wood has been vandalised within a fortnight.
Residents voiced their anger over the town council’s decision to erect a fence to prevent access to Primrose Wood from behind the cricket club on Burnby Lane.
The cut-through was popular with dog walkers and schoolchildren but the town council, who took leasehold of Primrose Wood last year, said that they were acting on a request from the cricket club to stop the dozens of people crossing their field to use the unauthorised route.
However, a sign placed opposite the opening stated that the closure of the access had ‘nothing to do with Pocklington Cricket Club’.
Mayor of Pocklington Coun Graham Perry explained: “The council’s position is that we have been asked by the cricket club to block access to Primrose Wood at the rear of the cricket club to stop people illegally crossing their land.
“There is the proper access to Primrose Wood some 25 yards up the road and we will be putting a sign up to make it clear that is the proper access.”
Mayor Perry explained that the access point was never an authorised route and that the town council intends to put up more fencing to completely block it off.
He said that he was disappointed that somebody had already damaged the fencing, but this would not deter the council from its aim of permanently closing the entry.
“Should we find out who is damaging the fencing we have put in place, we will prosecute them,” said Mayor Perry.
The news that the entrance will be permanently shut off will be a blow to the many dog walkers who have used it for years, including Angus O’Donnell of Burnby Lane who raised safety concerns about its closure.
He said: “I find it incredible that the council would block up a gateway to the delightful Primrose Wood.
“This is obviously very popular for dog walkers and is now a main route for many children coming and going to school.
“All users of the wood are now forced to use the main road for access, which is clearly very dangerous.
“As a compromise the council should at least consider a safe and substantial footpath alongside Burnby Lane for easy and safe access.”
Another frequent user of the route, Arthur Bland of Burnby Lane, says that the council has ‘no right’ to block off an access to a wood which was left to the people of Pocklington by Major Stewart.
He said: “Primrose Wood has never belonged to the council, it was left to the people of Pocklington, so they have no right to claim it.”
However, Andy Inns, chairman of Pocklington Cricket Club, said it was necessary on ‘health and safety grounds’ to stop dog walkers from crossing their land to use the access.
He said: “I know that dog walkers have been using that route for many years, but we have to make sure our field is safe to play on, particularly for the children in our junior team.
“Most dog walkers do pick up their dog’s excrement but, in winter when it’s dark and their dogs are running across the field, they are not always going to.
“For health and safety reasons we do not want dogs on our field.
“I support fully the town council putting the fence up, we want to work with them to make it a safer place for children to enjoy playing cricket.”
Pocklington town council took over the leasehold of Primrose Wood from the Woodland Trust in 2011 and pledged to encourage more townsfolk to enjoy the land.
A similar access issue last hit the headlines in 2007 when residents complained that their access from The Balk had been blocked off by a steel fence erected by East Riding Council.