COUNCILLORS are demanding answers over an 'unacceptable' delay in settling a rights-of-way dispute in Otley.

The issue of Piggy Lane, a path from Lisker Drive to Leeds Road, has been rumbling on since 2007 - when a householder put up a wall that blocked the way.

Residents who had used the route for years submitted evidence to Leeds City Council shortly afterwards in support of a bid to get it officially adopted and reopened.

Since then, however, the claim has languished in a long waiting list of backlogged cases - but in 2017 seemed to be finally heading towards the front of the queue.

Trinity Rise resident David Mowlam has been pursuing the city council for years about the issue's progress, checking with them annually.

In August, 2017 he was told by the Public Rights of Way department that: "The application will be in the next batch...which we will be dealing with and we are intending to begin investigation towards the end of this year, or early next year."

Now, though, he has been informed that the case is "currently preceded by 15 applications and unlikely to be investigated this year."

Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), responding to the department, said: "This is hugely disappointing and wholly unacceptable and not what Mr Mowlam, nor ward members, were expecting.

"I shall seek further clarification in due course but for now please can you explain how Piggy Lane has mysteriously fallen down the list?"

Councillor Colin Campbell (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) also criticised the delay.

He wrote: "In August last year ward members were promised that 'The application will be in the next batch of applications...and we are intending to begin investigation towards the end of this year or early next year'.

"You now inform us that this is not so, and there seem to be a number of other applications which are to be dealt with before this and nothing is to happen for at least another year.

"It is now over ten years since this issue arose and further delay is unacceptable."

They have been told that the case, though ranked at 17, hasn't actually 'fallen down' the waiting list.

It is - eventually - set to be investigated at the same time as a batch of five other outstanding footpath claims in Otley's Cambridge estate area.

Piggy Lane used to provide a handy way for the estate's residents to get to Leeds Road and its bus stop.

A planning ruling in 2016, which refused an application to replace 11 Lisker Court with two houses, concluded that the scheme would 'fail to reinstate an existing Public Right of Way'.