THE Secretary of State may have to make the decision on whether a footpath in Wanborough can be put back on the maps after parish councillors raised an objection.

A group of residents claim the path from Sutors Lane, which connects to another on land at Honeyfield Farm, has been used for 120 years.

But the council claims it was only created in 2009 as a temporary measure until a nearby footpath running through a housing development on the former caravan site at Ducksbridge could be reinstated.

The residents lobbied councillors at their last meeting in a bid to persuade them to withdraw their objection, but say they came up against a brick wall.

Now they fear they will have to wait months until a decision is made by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

John Warr, who lives close by, said: “They should at least have agreed to revisit it.

“They have gone against everybody. This is not over, we will carry on until we get justice”.

Around 45 residents went to the meeting and several told the council how they had used the path over the years to avoid having to walk on a busy road.

“The periods ranged from 77 years to around 10 years, with over a third stating over 30 years use of the paths,” said Mr Warr.

Others told how they had maintained the stiles and fencing along the route for more than 20 years.

They also shared maps showing the footpath existed in 1898, 1919 and 1943 along with photographic evidence from 1995.

“Every resident finished their testimony, asking the council to take on board this new evidence and to please reconsider their decision,” he said.

However, in its correspondence with Swindon Borough Council the parish says that now the neighbouring footpath has been reinstated by the developers “there is no reason why there is a need to have both footpaths within a short distance of each other.”

The objection means the decision not to re-open the path has to go to the borough council and could be sent to the Planning Inspectorate.

“If they change their mind they can withdraw their objection at any time,” said Mr Warr.The Advertiser has approached the parish council for a response but had not received one at the time of going to press.