CALLS have been made to Gloucestershire County Council to add footpaths running through the Cotswold Water Park to the official footpath list.

The petition was launched by Somerford Keynes parish council last week and calls on the county council to make all footpaths on land it owns at Keynes Country Park, Neigh Bridge and Coke's Pit part of the definitive footpath map of Gloucestershire.

Presenting the first page of the petition to the parish council chairman Karen Mogridge, county councillor Shaun Parsons said he was optimistic that the petition would be successful.

"I would urge as many people as possible to sign it," he said.

Cotswold district councillor Clive Bennett, said they had decided to use the government's Localism Bill to add weight to the petition.

"This is what localism is all about," he said, "giving the people a say in what they want for their area. "

The paths run through the country park and have been walked by thousands of people for decades but have never been on the definitive map.

Cllr Bennett said villagers now feared that the paths could be fenced off or blocked in some other way.

He added: "Somerford Keynes parish council had started proceedings to have the paths legally added to the definitive map but it was proving to be a long drawn out process.

"It is hoped that the petition will persuade the county council to fast track the appeal so as to ensure walkers can use the footpaths safe in the knowledge that they will always be open."

Cotswold District Council agreed to back the petition at its full council meeting last week.

The petition will be available to sign for the next month and it is expected to be presented to the county council at the end of March.