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Open Spaces Society Local Correspondent
Turning a Landowner's downgrading request to public gain.
At Watford Magistrates Court a deal was done on Bushey 35.
There had been problems on this path for years. The path, mostly RUPP status,
had had a downgrading request from the landowner to footpath which (wrongly)
stopped County from acting to clear the structures which stopped horses. County
then decided to make an order downgrading and we all faced a stressful inquiry.
I felt we might win but this was far from a high confidence level case. A deal
was suggested (I think by me and Phil Wadey of the BHS) and resulted in this
disputed RUPP becoming a footpath on a slightly different line, thus benefiting
the landowner, but at the same time a brand new five metre wide bridleway was
created some 200 metres away, thus benefiting everyone else.
It was done by stopping-up the whole RUPP to horse and higher rights and then diverting it as a footpath. The key condition for my support was a signed dedication of that bridleway coming into effect on the making of the two orders by the magistrates.
So instead of just one RUPP (or at worst just one footpath) we now have both a footpath and a bridleway giving a good circular walk.
The old RUPP, now footpath The new bridleway
Very importantly this route forms part of the H25, the BHS's London Orbital Bridleway, as well as a vital link in the planned Hertsmere Borough greenway from Bushey to Aldenham Country Park. Also County has saved the cost of a public inquiry. This is an example of BEST VALUE in action. This was the Surveying Authority section (definitive map officer), if only we could work so effectively with the Highway Authority (access officer) section.
Advising a landowner near St Albans as to what would be an acceptable diversion package
He wanted to divert away from his house (how unusual). He was prepared to dedicate a new path as well as diverting the old path. He agreed a four metre width throughout (or very nearly throughout) for this footpath. He is prepared to outlaw stiles. The public benefit was in my judgement significant. The local St Albans Footpath Association and I liased on this, I drafted some orders. It has been in place some years now and apart from a little churning up by horses is quite satisfactory.
Series of inquiries into paths at the boundary of Ridge and Shenley parishes, Herts. top of page
I think there have been now five enquiries over nearly thirty years. I have taken part in three. There have been, I think, three high court appeals. Currently pending grant or otherwise of leave to appeal to the Appeals Court. All appeals by one landholder. The path was very near a stream forming parish boundaries. Which side is it?
Success at Stevenage January 2001 top of page
Our correspondent doesn't normally get involved so far away from his normal
area, but Laing Homes and Stevenage Borough had proposed a TCPA stopping up of a
bridleway without exploring alternatives with users. Several user groups
objected. Laing were fairly desperate to sort it out by some contract option
expiry date (31st January?) and asked users what they would need to do to get
the objection withdrawn. We said the three metres width offered was not enough
except where that was all that was physically possible. We asked for 5 metres
width and got it. I believe the East Herts Footpath Association got a commitment
for a completely separate cycle route. The British Horse Society asked for
£20,000 to be earmarked for path improvement locally with user group
consultation on its use, they were offered less, held out and got the full
£20,000. On the actual developed site there will still be access (though
tarmac) to the otherwise severed dead-end bridleway at the Lister Hospital site.
So we get:
# a new path to National Target standards,
# cyclists with their own track,
# existing way downgraded in quality but still there,
# £20,000 for local paths.
Making recommendations for a golf course near Rickmansworth
Another course near Batchworth Heath is proposed and planning consent is sought. I made representations as it clearly affected and old lane and also it is now known how to make paths and golf courses reasonably compatible. This application was withdrawn.
Agricultural field changed to school playing field
This is at Garston, Parmiters School. In connection with a necessary diversion nearby I persuaded people to extend the length diverted across the school field so as to make the path easier to follow and define it as 4 metres wide, thus achieving the National Target for it.
This was followed by a change at the field at the end of that first change. The path goes diagonally across what are now playing fields. I worked with the Ramblers and with the School Bursar to get an additional path round the edge of the field for the occasions when games are in progress, but leaving the existing path too.
An area of a long-time filled-in pond added to path.
At Aldenham a path was being recorded, but the County people had not included the whole width. There had been a pond that was shown on old official maps as part of the way but County left it off the order. I managed to persuade the inspector to reinstate it, making the path much more spacious at this point.