AN APPLICATION for a new public footpath has led to a hearing.

The path – just over a metre in length – is to be added to the definitive map and is proposed between Strawberry Drive and Little Stanney Woods, Whitby, by Little Stanney and District Parish Council, which is the adjacent parish council.

The council claims a sufficient length of time has elapsed during which the public has used the claimed route for it to be presumed it has been dedicated as a public right of way.

At the time in question the land was owned by Mr and Mrs Davis at 26 Strawberry Drive, according to a Cheshire West and Chester Council report.

A gate was erected by the landowner in April 2011 in the gap between the woods, which are owned by the borough council and the verge of Strawberry Drive.

This has been locked between 5.30pm and 8.30am and users argue this obstructs their right to use the path.

Evidence has been provided by 27 witnesses covering a period of continuous use from 1975 with all but two arguing the path has been used openly and without permission.

Rights of way officers say the evidence is sufficient to show public use of the way as of right uninterrupted during a 20-year period.

The landowner has been invited to submit comments but has not done so.

The application is supported by the Wirral Footpaths and Open Spaces Preservation Society.

Rights of way officers have recommended the path should be added to the definitive map.

The issue will be decided by an inspector following a hearing which is expected to take place this autumn 2013.