A COUPLE with a footpath stretching across their driveway have revealed their 20-year-long struggle to get it removed.

Jean and Graham Underdown said they bought their home in Clos Cwm Barri in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, in 1999 and have now had numerous attempts to remove the footpath going up their driveway refused by Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Mud and dog mess is often on their driveway, the couple said, and their attempts to have the footpath gated off has resulted in further upset.

The Underdowns say their privacy is being infringed upon and allege they have faced several instances of intimidation and vandalism including having rocks and breeze blocks thrown at their cars – one of which was written off.

Penarth Times: The Underdowns have had their cars damagedThe Underdowns have had their cars damaged (Image: The Underwoods)

However some local residents pointed to the council’s decisions over the years to keep the footpath in place and said their right to walk along it was being hindered.

Jean said: “The actual footpath is only one metre wide but they don’t stick to the one metre.

“They walk right the way across the whole width of the drive.”

Penarth Times: The Underdowns property at the end of Clos Cwm BarriThe Underdowns property at the end of Clos Cwm Barri (Image: Google Maps)

Taylor Wimpey obtained planning permission to build new homes in Cwm Barry Farm off Pontypridd Road in 1994 and Vale of Glamorgan Council’s order for the creation of a footpath off Clos Cwm Barri was confirmed in 2003.

The footpath on the Underdowns’ property, known as Footpath 73, gives walkers access to Porthkerry Country Park from the estate.

Applications were made for the deletion of footpath 73 in 2009 however these were dismissed.

Jean added: “Some people like to walk over and have a look at what I am growing in the garden and things like that. It is intrusive.

“We came here thinking: ‘Right, we have got a private drive. We will not have every Tom, Dick, and Harry walking through our property.’ But that is exactly what happened.”

Graham said: “I have had people wanting to fight me on the drive, a car written off, dogs in the house – you name it we have had it.

“I have had one car written off and one breeze block put through the window of the present car.”

Penarth Times: The footpath goes up the Underdown's drive (red box)The footpath goes up the Underdown's drive (red box) (Image: Google Maps)

Another issue the Underdowns said they faced was people using their driveway to access the nearby field to camp and use scrambler bikes in.

Jean said there have also been raves in the field where the footpath leads to and people with air rifles and wearing ski masks walking past the house.

A valuation of Jean and Graham’s property conducted in 2012 showed that it was worth £60,000 less than what it would be without the public footpath at the time.

Vale of Glamorgan Council argued in their most recent ruling to keep Footpath 73 in place that it had already been used as a footpath for more than 20 years.

However, the Underdowns argue that there was never a public right of way where Footpath 73 is now.

Penarth Times: Footpath 73 in BarryFootpath 73 in Barry (Image: Supplied)

A council report presented to the planning sub-committee claimed that “aerial photographs cannot in any event provide persuasive evidence of the status of a right of way or the basis on which it is used”.

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: “This matter was considered in detail, as was the comprehensive documentation submitted, at the meeting of the council’s Public Rights of Way Sub-Committee.

“The committee determined that the application to delete the footpath as recorded on the definitive map be declined.

“The applicant has the right to appeal this decision. We understand this is currently being considered.”