TOWN councillors are hoping to finally put a small footpath on the map after years of dispute over whether it is a public right of way.

The path, which runs through the car park of the Three Tuns Hotel, in Thirsk, has stirred up mixed feelings among local residents, not least the owner of the hotel, Mary Nelson.

The application from Thirsk Town Council to add the route to the definite map as a public footpath will be considered by North Yorkshire County Council on Monday.

The town council originally claimed the route as a public footpath in the 1950s, under the provisions of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, but it was successfully objected to by the then owner of the hotel, William Younger.

The county council may now authorise the inclusion of the path on the definite map if they are satisfied that it has been used substantially during the past 50 years.

In support of its application the town council submitted eight Evidence of Use forms completed by the public who claim to have used the route for periods varying between 16 and 70 years.

They have used the path to gain access to the swimming baths, the market place, shops and the Flatts, an open area of land.

Four letters of support from residents were also included with the application.

Hotel owner Mrs Nelson is among those who are opposed to the application, believing it is unnecessary.

She said: "There is already a public footpath just three doors down from the hotel that links up with the local swimming pool and the market place. There is no need for another one.

"I don't see why public money is being spent debating about this path when it could be spent on lighting and resurfacing the existing one, making it even safer."

On a personal level, Mrs Nelson is also concerned about the security of the hotel car park and fears that youngsters will use the path after closing time at the pubs.

Her disapproval of the application has been seconded by Ivan Redman, who leased the hotel from 1972 and 1989.