A MEETING attended by almost 200 people to discuss closure of a footpath was abandoned in controversy after residents accused the site owner of ‘taking over’.
People living in Beighton claim a track off Rotherham Road has been used for a century, and is a popular route to Rother Valley country park.
But Steve Winstone, owner of scrap metal company Advanced Metal Innovation Company, said he has put gates across the track on the advice of the Health and Safety Executive - and said an alternative public footpath runs parallel.
The meeting at Beighton Miners’ Welfare Club, High Street, was organised by campaign group Save Our Public Rights of Way.
Kath Davis, from the protest group, said: “The meeting was not a success. Steve Winstone, from the scrapyard, turned up and kept interrupting. He stood up and kept trying to take over. The track’s been used for decades so should be a right of way.”
Sheffield Council said the group needs to prove the route has been in use for 20 years.
Mr Winstone, who lives in Beighton, said: “The meeting was disorganised and they didn’t invite me or anyone from the council, so I came along with a council officer.
“I was advised to secure the track after tarmacing it. Trucks travel along it at 30 to 40mph, there are no lights and it’s not safe.
“The track has never been a right of way and I am disappointed the protest group got Reignhead School to issue leaflets saying it was.”
Mr Winstone said a comment he made about ‘village idiots’ had been taken out of context and referred to people walking down the track in front of moving scrap lorries.