FALMOUTH’S newest footpath, which offers residents of the Goldenbank estate safe passage to Swanpool and onwards to Marlborough School is proving a hit, with a steady stream of people making use of it.

The path, which leads from Swan’s Reach, opened on December 21 – almost a decade after the idea was first put forward. While Cornwall Council supported the suggestion, some residents living at Swanpool were opposed to it and forced the matter to a public inquiry last year.

Following a three-day hearing, government inspector Roger Pritchard ruled that the footpath should be created claiming other routes from the estate, which include Swanpool Road, were “seriously inadequate” and stating there was a proven demand for it.

Parents taking children to nearby Marlborough School have been taking advantage of the new route, with many now leaving their cars at home and choosing to walk instead. Maria Grimshaw and Lisa Ward are two such mothers. “I used to drive to Marlborough because there really was no safe way to walk,” said Maria. “Now I’m walking, even in the rain. We get the waterproofs out and we are away. The children love it and every day they ask ‘can we walk, can I take my scooter?’”

Lisa added: “I think it is brilliant. There are far fewer cars at school now so it’s positive all round.”

Fiona Hingston said: “It takes me seven to eight minutes to get to school instead of 35 the other way. I live at the bottom of the estate so used to have to walk up the estate and back down the other side, down Cuckoos Mill, or down Swanpool Road where I was nearly hit by cars a couple of times. This saves a lot of time. I am down and back from school in 15 minutes.

“I use it every day and even came down on Saturday and Sunday to the beach or feed the ducks. It’s brilliant.”

The new route has the support of Marlborough School’s headteacher, Richard Gambier, who told parents in the latest newsletter: “After years of promises and negotiation, the path has now opened, offering a far safer and more convenient route to school for many of the children.

“This is a great opportunity to encourage a healthy approach to school and to further reduce traffic around Silverdale and Ferndale roads. It may also raise the school’s profile in our neighbourhood and I’d like to remind everyone of the importance of Marlborough Manners.

“Please be particularly respectful in the area of the new pathway, as you will be aware that not all residents have given as positive a welcome to the path and it is important that we value their privacy and demonstrate Marlborough’s values of showing good manners and caring for others.”

One resident whose property overlooks the new path, but did not want to be named, said concerns she had before the path opened have not, so far, materialised.