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Fear of footpath security risk

Wiltshire County Council was due to decide today whether to lobby for a change in the law to make school security the prime consideration for authorities deciding whether footpaths should become legally mapped rights of way.

The proposal has been made by Wiltshire's chief education officer, Dr Lindsey Davies, and follows the outcry over the proposed mapping of a path that runs 10 yards away from Wardour primary school near Tisbury.

The school's governors, head and parents were upset at the prospect of more walkers tramping alongside the playground.

After the Dunblane massacre, Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, established a working group on school security. "Regrettably, the group did not recommend changes to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Highways Act 1980," said Dr Davies.

The controversy has been such that councillors recommended the path be put on the map while simultaneously inviting the school to apply for a diversion order.

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