A PUBLIC inquiry will be held next month into the controversial stopping up of a popular Public Right of Way in Cockermouth.

There was an outcry in 2018 when Story Homes, who are building homes off Strawberry How Road, applied to Allerdale Council for permission to stop up a much-used path on Slatefell.

The developers wanted to close a 600-metre section of the path which goes from Bellbrigg Lonning to Slatefell while work is carried out on their proposed housing development. They provided details of a temporary footpath, which would be in place during the construction period, and a pedestrian footway through the site once work was completed.

The application prompted a barrage of objections and a petition. More than 30 residents attended a public meeting organised by the town council to discuss the application.

Allerdale's Development Panel approved the application in 2019 and issued a stopping up order. Then town mayor David Malloy appealed to residents to make their views clear. He said he wanted to ensure the Secretary of State was ware of the outrage felt.

A public inquiry date has now been announced. It will take place online on December 8 and 9.

Councillor Malloy will be representing the town council. "This path dates back to 1810 and is so well used. This stopping up order was never mentioned at the start of the planning application," he said.

Cockermouth resident Dr Jack Abernethy will also be speaking. "There were 280 objections to this. Stopping up of the PROW was not necessary, the housing development could still go ahead by diverting the PROW.

"Story Homes wants to replace it with a pathway which crosses people's drives and estate roads."

Representatives from Story Homes and Allerdale will speak at the inquiry. Story Homes did not want to comment.