Plans have been drawn up to find a way to re-open a car park next to a Doncaster green space, which nearby residents claim is a magnet for antisocial behaviour.
The facility was closed after campaigners who were unhappy about its use found evidence that the access road to the car park at Quarry Park, at St Mary's Road in Dunsville, was a bridleway – and therefore should not have been being used by cars.
Now Doncaster Council is looking at buying the bridleway and upgrading it into a road, allowing the car park to be used again.
But protestors, who have asked for the council to create a car park on another site instead, warn that the plan could take years because of objections.
Andy Rutherford, head of street scene and highways operations at Doncaster Council, said: “Quarry Park is a wonderful facility for the community to use and enjoy. However, visitors to the park are currently unable to use the car park, which has been there for over 20 years, as there is no vehicular access from the bridleway.
“The council plans to purchase the bridleway and turn that area of land into a road which will allow vehicles to access the car park.
“Other options have been carefully considered, such as looking at the existing footpath for access. However that would entail building a new road and car park from scratch and would also affect the privacy of many residents living behind the footpath.
“Formal consultations will take place and I have already spoken to many members of the community who are supportive of the council’s plans to bring this car park back into use so the park can be enjoyed by more people.”
But resident Mick Hand said cars were being caught on the bridleway by council CCTV cameras, and police were sending letters to the vehicle owners, warning if they persisted they would be prosecuted.
He has been fighting the car park with support from Hatfield Town Councillor Mick Glynn.
Mr Hand said the council’s plans would bring the nuisance and vandalism back into the car park and warned with objections the plan could take up to two years as it has to go in front of Government town planning inspectors.
He said: “We have asked them to look at an alternate entrance to the park on land which they own less than 200 yards from the bridleway which is a cheap alternative, has better access, is already gated and fenced, can be up and running in a couple of months and has a tarmac path for the disabled, walkers and cyclists.
“The Highways Department has refused. Instead they are intent on spending the public purse, on a bridleway and after two years they still may not get permission.”