Barrow restaurant boss faces ramblers in footpath inquiry

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Restaurant owner Mr Kevin Berkins faced footpath campaigners at a public inquiry and insisted: “There is no footpath.”

The owner of the Eagle at Barrow was opposing a move by Lancashire County Council, supported by the Ramblers’ Association, to modify the Whalley Number 5 footpath, so that it passes through the pub-restaurant’s gated service yard.

Eleven witnesses, including Clitheroe Ramblers footpath officer Mr Norman Thorpe, said a path had existed for many years and ran from fields into the former Spread Eagle Farm yard and past the pub into Clitheroe Road.

On the official designated map, however, the path stops behind the pub, about 60 metres short of the former A59.

Mr Berkins, who also owns a butchery business and the Fence Gate Restaurant at Fence, took over the Spread Eagle pub five years ago, redeveloped it and renamed it.

He said: “When I purchased the premises, I went through all the normal searches.

“We searched with Ribble Valley Council and Lancashire County Council and were told there were no highways, no by-ways, no private ways and no footpaths.

“We have all the documentation. When we applied to Ribble Valley for planning permission, they asked me to put the services and deliveries on the north side, away from the car park.”

Mr Berkins said he was unaware of any problem until people started “hassling” his contractors, telling them there was a right of way where they were building.

The inquiry inspector, Mr Mark Yates, closed the inquiry at Ribble Valley Council Chamber and his decision will be announced later.