Common plan may endanger riders

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This is a letter in order to express concerns regarding the proposed grazing of Highland Cattle on Wadsley and Loxley Common in the north of Sheffield.

Funding (£100,000 over 10 years) is to be provided by Natural England in order to manage the common land and try to preserve the area at lowland heath, as this type of habitat is said to be threatened.

Proposals have been put forward so that the common will be split into three areas, all to be fenced with permanent stock fencing and accessible via kissing gates, or, we are told, with larger self-closing gates for the use of horse riders.

To my mind the proposals pose many problems, and although maintaining the heathland is important, many issues have not been considered when the details have been provided.

The common is used by many groups of people, walkers with or without dogs, riders and children to name but a few.

Access for all of these groups will be severely compromised by the presence of cattle and the required fencing and gates.

We are told that the animals chosen are docile but animals can be unpredictable.

My own personal concern is that for the safety of myself and my friends, who use the common on a daily basis to ride.

This is the only local, off-road area in which we can exercise our horses without the worry of traffic.

There are limited bridleways in the area and our presence on the roads is often made unwelcome by drivers.

The common is used probably every day by the local riding school, again because it’s safer than taking young, novice and sometimes nervous new riders onto the road.

Business there could be severely compromised if this area is no longer available.

What can be done to make the council see that this proposal will seriously affect what the common was gifted to the citizens of Sheffield for in 1913?

Ruth Windle