ANGRY farmer Chris Shenton is calling for a planned footpath to be re-routed to enable him to continue to graze his award-winning animals.

Chris and his wife Debbie are opposing plans for a path which would cross land at Bridge Farm, the last farm in Handforth.

The path would be created under plans by David Wilson Homes for 174 homes on fields off Stanneylands Road, Wilmslow.

The couple breed award-winning pedigree Blonde cattle, and the footpath would cross land they use for grazing.

They met with representatives from the developers and Cheshire East Council this morning, and put their case for moving the proposed path to the opposite side of the River Dean.

They are also asking for an extension to public comments on the housing scheme because they say the plans do not show where the path would go, and because of opposition from residents to the proposed path.

The housing scheme has attracted more than 600 comments, with the deadline for comments being tomorrow.

The Shenton family have rented the land off the council for more than 60 years.

“The builders are proposing to build a bridge over the river from the Stanneylands side, over onto our land, and want to build a tarmac cycle and footpath right across our fields,” said Debbie.

“We have had no written notice of this plan, which shows a new bridge but not where the footpath would go.

“The builders want to push the new footpath onto our land, instead of building new paths on the Stanneylands side of the river, which would link into existing paths.

“If the footpath gets the go-ahead and comes over our land it will affect us massively - we could not farm the land as it only lends itself to graze with cattle or sheep.

“This would be impossible to do with a tarmac footpath through it and either a style or gate leading onto a main road.

“We have bulls, tups, cows with calves at foot, ewes with lambs at foot, store sheep, all grazing this land at different times of the year.

“We have cases of dog worrying with our sheep, and on occasion the cattle - also sadly cases of children chasing and throwing bricks or rocks at the animals.”

Chris said: “The farm is the last in Handforth, and the land the last which is being farmed in Handforth.

“We are asking for the path to go on the other side of the river, which we feel is a sensible suggestion as people would still be able to get from A to B and we would still be able to farm the land.

“We’ve had a lot of support from people who don’t want to see the path where it is proposed.”

The Shentons play an active role in the community, taking their tractors to schools and nurseries, loaning bales of straw and vegetables to churches and schools for harvest events, and supporting events including Hampers of Hope and Wilmslow Motor Show.

Debbie added: "We need your support - if you feel you are able to support us to have this footpath kept on the Stannylands side of the river we would be able to continue farming the land.

"You can help us by placing your objection on the Cheshire East Council planning website, using the reference number 17/4521m, and objecting to the proposed new bridge and footpath onto Bridge Farm's land.

"If each resident in your household can lodge an objection that would be great as each one counts - you don't have to a Handforth resident to object, you are able to object as a member of the public.

"We haven't got long - please help us if you can."