ANGRY Wimborne residents protested the closure of a footpath they have used for decades.

Work has begun to close one of the Cuthbury footpaths to enable the construction of the Cuthbury New Neighbourhood development.

The development will see the construction of 203 dwellings, an office, café and basement parking.

However, residents who regularly use the footpath for jogs and to cut through to the river, are unhappy as the diversion is length and dangerous.

Ian Edwards, 57, of Culvarhayes Road, said: “We want to stop the temporary and long-term closure of the footpath.

“It’s a historic footpath, it’s been here for hundreds of years. It’s a shortcut onto the main footpath that leads to Eyebridge and Pamphill.

“The alternative is to walk along the main road with the thundering traffic and the narrow footpaths and it’s about a ten-minute diversion.

“The development is it was it, it’s progress, we have to have houses but the whole thing, the way it’s been managed by Wyatt’s leaves a lot to be desired.

“In the broad context of things, it’s not a mega hardship but it is an inconvenience.

“I’ve lived in Wimborne for 33 years and I’ve been using these paths for 31 years.

“It’s really, really important. People walk from the recreation ground, through here, onto the main footpath and then go down to Eyebridge or Pamphill which is a beautiful spot.

“I would guess there is 100 people who use this everyday of the year, in the summer, even more so.”

Ian added: “I’m hoping Wyatt’s will give us a short diversion and in the long-term we need to keep the footpath open.”

Diann March said: “I cannot understand, with the ancient footpaths and how straight they are, why the development was not built around them.”

Nearly 15 residents turned up to the protests on Friday with signs expressing their dissatisfaction.

Signs displayed messages calling for the footpaths to be saved, as well as showing how many years some people had used the paths.

David Wyatt, managing director of Wyatt Homes, said: “We are disappointed that residents have protested about the temporary closure of the footpath.

“The path is being closed for a limited time for health and safety reasons to allow for access and services to our development site.

“Our development will deliver a wide range of community benefits, including a new path that is currently being constructed and this will open up a new stretch of river frontage for the community to enjoy.”