School footpath closed after four years of debate

PUBLISHED: 10:56 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

A FOOTPATH which runs directly behind a school s buildings is to be closed after years of debate. Footpath 89, which runs through the grounds of Francis Bacon School in St. Albans, is to be shut on the recommendation of an inspector who presided over a pu

A FOOTPATH which runs directly behind a school's buildings is to be closed after years of debate.

Footpath 89, which runs through the grounds of Francis Bacon School in St. Albans, is to be shut on the recommendation of an inspector who presided over a public inquiry last month.

The inspector confirmed a decision by Herts County Council to close the footpath for the safety and security of the pupils and staff at the school which had submitted an application for it to be closed in 2004.

Francis Bacon attributed more than 40 incidents to the footpath including theft from the changing rooms, the smashing of windows, the caretaker being threatened, an intruder trying to sell cigarettes to pupils and a horse being allegedly ridden down the footpath in a dangerous manner.

In addition motorised scooters and bikes often used the route and in 2005 a teenager entered the school via the footpath armed with an iron bar to attack a pupil.

Francis Bacon maintained that CCTV and other security measures failed to curb the problems and that fencing on the footpath would have caused a health and safety risk in the event of a fire.

The county had voted unanimously in favour of extinguishing the footpath in 2006 but the objections of local residents and footpath groups forced the public inquiry to be held.

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