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LUNG and the local residentsí associations maintain that the path through the hospital site is a public right of way, as it has been used continuously by members of the public for a period of over 20 years.  

The Residentsí Association of West Wimbledon (RAWW)  made an application to the Council in October 2001 for the path to be formally adopted as a public right of way, thus guaranteeing that it would remain open to the public.  In support of this the Association has provided signed statements from 123 people demonstrating continuous use for nearly 50 years.  

The St. George's NHS Trust locked a gate at the southern end of the path for a period in 1999, and recently have been locking the gateNewspaper cutting "Footpath closure forces protesters to stage vigil" at weekends.  They have also put up signs to discourage people from using the path.  RAWW has protested at all moves to close the path, and staged a small demonstration in July 2001 when the Trust started to lock the gates at weekends.

In the approved Planning Brief for the AMH site, Merton Council include a requirement that a public footpath and cycle path are provided through the site.  They also state "The existing footpath linking Copse Hill to Cottenham Park Road across the site should be retained for public use.  If this is not adopted as a public right of way, the developer will be required to ensure the path is permanently provided and maintained for public access through the site"

This should ensure that the path will remain open, but the Council have not formally responded to the application for the path to become a public right of way.  The application is still outstanding and LUNG and RAWW will continue the campaign until the future of the path is certain.

LUNG campaigned for  provisions for access and security since hospital closure 10th October 2003.  The footpath was temporarily closed but has now reopened.

Last updated:01/08/11