A developer has been forced to reopen a footpath after it was categorised as a public right of way.

The path between Borders Lane and Rectory Lane in Loughton was blocked by Sav Aktar in March 2012 when building work started on a care home.

Loughton Town Council insists it was given assurances that the footpath would remain open and launched a campaign to get it classified as a public right of way after failing to reach agreement with Mr Aktar.

Now, two years later, residents can again use the path after Essex County Council has accepted detailed evidence that the footpath has been used by the community for generations and changed its status.

Enid Walsh, Town Council Clerk said: “Using its powers under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, ECC will now publish an order to modify the Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way.

“This will enable residents to resume this route which is particularly useful to access the Health Centre and the E15 Acting School.”

The nursing home is due to be completed next month.