‘Help us solve Downham Market lane owner mystery’ plea
A group of Downham residents are appealing for information about the potential ownership of the lane that leads to their homes.
People living off Rabbit Lane say they are expecting a bill for thousands of pounds to repair pot holes and other damage.
The route, which leads to Bexwell Road, is classed as a restricted byway, meaning there is public access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, but only private access for car drivers.
County transport officials say that means those motorists who use the route should pay for its upkeep.
But people who live there say the, so far, unidentified land owner should also make a contribution towards the cost and hope that people from the town who may be able to shed some light on the mystery will contact them.
Resident Ann Renouf said they had been given an estimate of £20,000 to cover the costs of repairs, adding: "We've got to explore every avenue."
Neighbour Elizabeth Byrne added: "We're prepared to put money in, but we need somebody to come forward and say whose land it is."
The residents, who estimate they pay around £40,000 a year in council tax between them, have raised the issue with both Norfolk County Council and their MP, Elizabeth Truss, in their argument that the authority should contribute to the lane's maintenance as it is used by residents of other nearby communities as well as them.
They say they are also considering forming a residents' association to help press their case.
But, in a response to Ms Truss which the Lynn News has seen, the county council suggested the residents should set up a fund to pay for the work and said there was insufficient money to bring the route up to a pavement standard for walkers.
The authority said: "It is recognised that the private vehicular use is responsible for the damage to the surface of Rabbit Lane as this is evidenced by the fact that the parts of the lane elsewhere without vehicular access are not potholed.
"Norfolk County Council considers those causing the damage through the exercise of private rights are responsible for the upkeep/repair of the damage."
Anyone who may be able to provide information is asked to contact Mrs Byrne on 01366 382647.