The gardens of more than 30 properties lining the Comber Greenway have encroached onto land owned by the Department of Regional Development.
The department has revealed it currently has 31 licence agreements with landowners whose properties back onto the popular walking and cycling route which runs from east Belfast to Comber and that these were set up as a way of dealing with historic encroachments onto its land.
The revelation comes after new fences erected close to the edge of the Greenway sparked fears that the department was poised to sell off strips of its land to landowners. The department has insisted that any disposal of land would require the formal abandonment of all protection lines and be subject to consultation with local councils.
Alliance MLA Judith Cochrane wrote to Transport Minister Danny Kennedy over fears that the land might be sold off.
"I am pleased that he has confirmed that his department has a record of the land which has been partially fenced off by several properties and that it is still in DRD ownership."