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Eton College blocks off National Cycle Network route and deploys security staff

Sustrans working with college to find a diversion

A Bracknell cyclist has complained that part of the National Cycling Network has been blocked off at Dorney Lake, where she says she encountered “wound up” security staff employed by Eton College.  

The Windsor Observer reports that a group of six women had planned to ride from Bray to Dorney Lake along National Cycle Network route 4 this week.

However, they were met with a barrier and ‘road closed’ signs.

“I went up to the security man and said ‘this is a public right of way. We would like to use it’,” said one of the cyclists, Charlotte Parker.

“He just said ‘the road is closed, go away’ and put the barrier right in front of my bike.

“I wanted to establish a connection and say I totally understood why they had had to take action they did, but this was a right of way. Had a temporary closure notice been applied for?

“He just said ‘we are Eton College and it is closed’.

“I pointed out the bridleway notice and he just said, ‘that’s coming down’.

“He was right in front of me and seemed so wound up. He threatened to call the police.”

Dorney Lake is privately owned by Eton College. In March, the college obtained a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for the area in response to anti-social behaviour.

A post on the lake’s Facebook page explained: “The Order was granted in recognition of the fact that persistent incidents of an array of aggressive, unreasonable/anti-social behaviour including alcohol and drug abuse, littering, vandalism and bridge jumping has had a significant negative impact on the local environment, our events and the quality of life in the locality.”

A subsequent post, on June 1, announced that the lake was closed until further notice, including to cyclists.

Parker said she felt the college were managing the situation very badly.

“I asked Eton College to update me regarding the legal details of the closure a week ago when I found another route with barriers across. Eton College have not responded.”

The National Cycle Network is managed by Sustrans. A spokesperson told “A few weeks ago, access to NCN4 was closed because of a Public Spaces Protection Order obtained by the College to deal with anti-social behaviour. Sustrans has since made contact with the college, and are working with them and the local authority to find a temporary diversion.”

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