Eversheds LLP and the Northern Footpath Forum

Legal advice and professional support from law firm Eversheds has helped community group The Northern Footpath Forum open up a safe route for walkers to a local leisure spot.

Working with the Northern Footpath Forum has allowed us to help a local community group who wouldn’t ordinarily have had access to legal advice. As the opening of the footpath was publicised this work also allowed us to raise our profile within the local area – giving us both benefits from working together. The support given to the Northern Footpath Forum was undertaken by junior members of staff which provided them with routine transactional experience in a real client situation.

- Audrey Black,
Paralegal and CR Manager, Eversheds
The company

Eversheds LLP is a global, full service law firm, with offices across the world, including one in Cambridge offering high quality legal service that focuses on innovative thinking and deep client relationships.

The project

Sally-Ann Jackson from The Northern Footpath Forum in Peterborough approached ProHelp for support as they needed legal help with purchasing land from a private landowner so that they could extend a public footpath that would allow walkers to walk between two villages safely.

Eversheds LLP agreed to take on the ProHelp assignment and Jessica Pinto and Heather Farrell from the firm both worked on the project which involved 12 hours of their time, at a value of £1,800, and took almost 10 months to complete. Jessica and Heather assisted with the legal aspects of the purchase of the land for £500 which included the removal of a charge to allow the Northern Footpath Forum to open the Maxi Cut Welland Link which links the Deeping Road in Peakirk with the existing Public Right of Way along the south side of the River Welland.

Now that the land has been purchased, the next stage of the project is to provide a footbridge over the River Welland at Deeping St James to allow the safe access between the Deeping Lakes and the villages to the north of Peterborough on foot. This will be a very popular route as to access the Deeping Lakes by car from Peakirk is a 15 mile round trip despite the lakes being only half a mile away on foot.

The Northern Footpath Forum has applied to have the status of public footpath granted to enable easier access between the two local villages in their area and Peterborough City Council is currently carrying out the legal designation of the new footpath as a Public Right of Way - a condition of the grant funding they obtained from Natural England Paths for Communities scheme to purchase the land.

The new footpath was opened on 5 May 2014 and the Group walked from Peakirk Village Hall along the Deeping Road up to the River Welland with refreshments served in the Village Hall.