Portsmouth City Council accused of 'dragging its feet' in naming Camber footpath a right of way
AN MP has accused Portsmouth City Council of 'dragging its feet' in a long-running campaign to have a public right of way designated.
Stephen Morgan has urged the council finalise the Old Portsmouth Camber route, having first been ordered to do so three years ago.
The council said it did not have the capacity to process the application itself and was now looking at ‘other sources’ to do so.
Campaigners first launched efforts to have a public right of way recognised in 2014 after construction of the £12m Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) headquarters started.
The council twice refused applications before most recent decision was appealed and overturned in 2018.
But progress has since stalled and now there are renewed calls for the route to be finalised.
‘It’s long been clear that the right of way around the Camber in Old Portsmouth needs to be protected, but the city council has kept people waiting for seven years and counting,’ Mr Morgan said.
‘I have supported dedicated local campaigners as they have engaged with the council in good faith, but the process has descended into an unnecessary farce of administrivia.’
The subject is set to be discussed at Wednesday's full council meeting with applicant Ken Bailey due to raise the issue in a public question.
Mr Bailey, alongside fellow campaigner Anna Koor, has spearheaded efforts to have the public right of way designated.
‘We are completely mystified as to why [council] officials have been unable to progress simple administrative processes and meet legal obligations to move this right of way case forward over the past few years without any rational explanation,' they said.
They added that they hoped raising the issue on Wednesday could help spur on the council.
A council spokesman said work was ongoing to progress their application.
‘As an urban authority, we receive very few rights of way applications and therefore do not have a dedicated rights of way team,’ they said. ‘For this reason we work with expert rights of way witnesses from outside the council.
‘We have been working with another council to process this application but due to a current lack of capacity, we are now looking at other sources to help us process the application.’