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EAST SUSSEX PATH ROW GOES TO COURT

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The Ramblers' Association got the go-ahead on Saturday to prosecute a multi-millionaire landowner for blocking what...
The Ramblers' Association got the go-ahead on Saturday to prosecute a multi-millionaire landowner for blocking what it says is a public footpath, reported The Independent on Sunday (p6). Its legal advisers

recommended legal action against Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, who has built a barn and barriers to prevent access to the path, on his land in East Sussex.

The blocked footpath runs for half a mile through his High Cross estate in the heart of Sussex downland near Uckfield where he is building a vast mausoleum for his remains and a gallery for his art

collection.

Ramblers said Mr Van Hoogstraten had erected a barrier with a sign warning: 'Private Proerty - Keep Out'. Old refrigeration units now block their path. The association also claims East Sussex CC, responsible for keeping highways and footpaths open, has been dragging its heels on the issue. The council agrees it is a public footpath, but says budget constraints prevented it from taking action.

Mr Van Hoogstraten said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: 'It is not a public footpath. It never has been. Nobody has ever given me legal evidence that it was a public footpath'.

The path was closed long ago, he said. 'This issue was dead 12 to 15 years ago. It has been brought up for political reasons because of other government nonsense about a right to roam'.

He said the route was shown as a 'path unmarked' on various maps, which was different from being a public footpath.

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