A ROW has broken out in Ledbury once again, over a locked gate on a path that links Pound Meadow to the John Masefield High School.

Town councillor Tony Bradford and a number of residents say it is "a public right of way" and the gate should never had been padlocked in the first place.

But the High School, which is the key holder for the gate, does not agree and says it is a matter of student safety, because that particular path cannot be supervised, due to resources.

School business manager, Wendy Bradbeer said the High School had expressed its reservations to Cllr Bradford a while ago, and added: “At the time we explained that opening the gate would be impractical and unsustainable long term.

“We have two entrances to the school and these are supervised before and after school. We do not have the capacity to supervise another entrance to the school, so as a safeguarding precaution this pathway remains closed.”

A Herefordshire Council spokesman said the pathway was owned by the council but was not a public right of way, and the high school held the gate keys.

The spokesman said: “It is private and for the school to determine whether it’s open or not .

“We did not have anything to do with chaining it up and locking it.”

The issue about the closed path first arose in August 2017, when Cllr Bradford called for it to be opened and for Herefordshire Council to keep it clear of litter.

The path in question is narrow and unlit and much of it runs through through high residential fencing.

In February, two women on separate occasions complained that a man had exposed himself in an different alley, close to the school. Following prompt liaison with the school, extra police patrols in the area were arranged.