COUNCIL leaders are still trying to find a resolution to remove a fence that is restricting access through a former railway line in Cheadle.
The fence was erected at the entrance to Pullmans Court from the former Cheadle to Cresswell railway line by residents in a bid to stop anti-social behaviour.
However, its erection has meant that the route can no longer be used by students to access the town's schools.
County councillor for Cheadle and Checkley Mark Deaville has been trying to negotiate with residents in Pullmans Court and the land owners Midland Heart to remove the fence.
During a Cheadle Town Council meeting on Monday, September 16, he said that since the last meeting in July, he and town councillor Ray Wood had met with residents of Pullmans Court to try and find a resolution to get the fence taken down.
He said: "They were adamant that they wanted the fence to stay exactly where it was, so I contacted the owner, Mr Miah, from Midland Heart and the bottom line is he would not do anything the residents didn't want to do and would absolutely not remove the fence without the permission of tenants.
"We talked about the anti-social behaviour experienced about eight years ago and since putting the fence up they hadn't experienced any since.
"I told him my intentions and said that we had to look at two sides of the story and put to Mr Miah a suggestion to remove the fence on a temporary basis.
"The footpath is being developed further and has the potential to be a fantastic amenity, but without direct entrance into Cheadle it's somewhat limited.
"If the worse came to the worse and the fence had to stay we'd still have an amenity, but I'm convinced we need that as a passage to schools and the town.
"It is regrettable that the anti-social behaviour issues weren't nipped in the bud there and then; if it was we'd be on a more even plateau.
"When I suggested opening the fence on a trial basis to the Pullmans Court residents, they would not listen and were absolutely not willing to follow through with that at all.
"The matter goes on and the situation in my own opinion hasn't altered. I'm adamant that I want to see a safe route for school through there and I shall continue working along those lines, but at this moment in time the fence is on their land and there is not much we can do at the moment."
Mr Deaville said that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is looking at permitted routes and highways and whether any pathways are being blocked off. Meanwhile the county council is looking at existing rights of way and designated footpaths, alternative routes, as well as assessing historical maps and landowners' records.
He added: "I'm disappointed we couldn't take it further and open it on a trial basis.We've got this right of way for everyone and we might have to give it up.
"I'm also disappointed we can't work together to make sure we've got a peaceful living situation and generate a fantastic amenity for Cheadle."
Cheadle town and district councillor Stephen Ellis said that he was "pleased"
to have an update and that it was "quite clear" the council supported creating a safe route on the railway path He added: "The railway itself has a history as a walkway by the local authority and has been protected as such."
Councillor Richard Alcock said that users of the path needed to fill in rights of way forms saying they have used it for more than 20 years in order for it to be put on a definitive map.
Councillor Ray Wood said that the situation had caused a lot of disagreement between neighbours and that alternative routes needed to be found.
He added: "It needs to be give and take on both sides and it may take a while to sort out.
"It's not very nice for people living there and it has caused a lot of disharmony, so we need to look at alternatives."
Councillor Gary Bentley said that people were having to drive or walk over a mile to get to the town's schools instead, because of the fence, and that children were climbing over it, which is spiked at the top, risking their lives to access Pullmans Court.
He also suggested that if more people could use the path it would police itself and prevent anti-social behaviour.
Councillor Peter Elkin said: "This area has been a problem from day one. I believe it's still unadopted, obviously there's nothing which can be done at the moment."
Councillor Alan Banks said that in the past he and councillor Peter Warrillow suggested that pupils could use the left hand side of the path, which leads to one of the schools, instead of going through Pullmans Court, but that the school authorities did not agree and he suggested going back to them again.