A SERVING soldier made an impassioned plea for a new public footpath at Falmouth to keep his family safe.
Roger Angliss was one of the supporters of Cornwall Council's plans to create a new path between the Goldenbank estate and Swanpool.
The council's modification panel agreed last year that a footpath should be created, but objections from residents forced it to a public inquiry.
Supporters and objectors addressed the three-day hearing last week.
Mr Angliss started a petition three years ago for the path after his young son was nearly struck by a car while walking the main road to the beach.
"When I am out of the country fighting for this nation I expect the nation to keep my children safe," he told the inquiry.
"It is fatality waiting to happen and let the blood be on the hands of whoever decides not to do this."
He claimed the path would serve hundreds of residents and the alternative was the main road or a path called Cuckoo Mills, which was "steep, slippery and enclosed" with no lighting and unsuitable for pushchairs.
However Michael Wood, for the objectors, said the council could upgrade Cuckoo Mills and other paths were being planned.
"Between (the council agreeing the order) and the public inquiry, much has changed," he said. "The need of this path has considerably diminished."
And he said the cost to the council for the order and compensation, exceeded the benefit it would bring.
But Vanessa Davis, for Cornwall Council, said neither of the alternative paths would be "delivered in the near future".
Falmouth Bay Residents' Association and Falmouth Town Council have opposed the order.
However Cornwall councillor Steve Eva said when first proposed, the town council had supported it.
"I don't want a child to die," he said.
"I nearly lost one of my children on the main road. It is too late to argue how much something is worth when you lose a child."
Government planning inspector Roger Pritchard said the number of potential users of the path was the subject of a "certain degree of speculation".
A decision is expected by Christmas.