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Campaigners attempt to protect Bury Farm, Edgware, with new application
Campaigners have applied to establish a bridle path in the middle of an “urban oasis” to protect it from becoming a golf course.
Bury Farm, in Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware, could be turned into an 18-hole course if planning permission is approved.
The track across the site, which crosses between crop fields and pastures where horses graze, has never been registered - even though walkers and cyclists have used it since the 1970s.
But the protestors have now made a formal application asking Barnet Council to give the path legal recognition as a bridle path under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Under the act, councils can make any path which has been freely used by the public for at least 20 years into a bridleway.
Ruth Broomfield, 43, said: “It would be a tragedy if a private golf club was allowed to end this facility used by horse riders.
“Some use it as a safe place to walk, jog, cycle and admire the rare birds which nest in the area.
“We’ve issued heartfelt statements to help protect this wonderful piece of land. It would be absolutely devastating.
“It’s a wonderful urban oasis and I do very much hope Barnet Council acts quickly to give this land the legal protection it clearly deserves.”
Campaigners have submitted more than 20 sworn statements from residents who remember walking along the track in the 1970s.
But it could take months or even years for the council to agree to establish a bridle path in the area.
The proposals have sparked a campaign backed by MP Matthew Offord and GLA Member for Barnet Andrew Dismore.
An online petition opposing the golf club plans set up in October has so far received more than 1,800 signatures.
Developer Tony Menai-Davis, who has applied for planning permission for the land, said the path has never been an official footpath.
He added: “There’s only one historic footpath on the site which will be kept open.
“There are three and a half kilometers of a perimeter route across the site for people to walk around or ride their horses on. It will still be available for public use. There will be no loss of public access.
“We’re really trying here. We are also hoping to take part of that route and join it up with the track that goes to the roundabout, making it an all-weather track away from the A1.”
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