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Category: Inquiry Issues

Seal of Disapproval?

Seal of Disapproval?

Sometimes you might think that there are few surprises left in rights of way casework. You might be wrong. At the end of August 2017, Cheshire East Council made and published two ‘unremarkable’ s.257 diversion orders, and circulated the notice and copy orders to the usual list of statutory bodies. For no obvious reason, these orders contained only the five articles, sealed at the bottom with the council’s official seal, plus the order map. There were no schedules. The absence…

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Piddlehinton: Poisoned by Policy?

Piddlehinton: Poisoned by Policy?

On 24 September 2004, Jonathan Stuart of Friends of Dorset’s Rights of Way (FoDRoW) applied to Dorset County Council for a definitive map modification order to ‘upgrade’ various public bridleways to byways open to all traffic (BOAT). These were 4 Piddlehinton, 14 (part) and 5 Piddletrenthide, 11 Cheselbourne, and 3 (part) Piddlehinton. There were two applications, although Dorset County Council (reasonably) treated them as one. Together these bridleways form an inverted Y, marked on the sketch map as lying between…

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Oakridge Lane

Oakridge Lane

Trail Riders Fellowship v. Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 18 July 2017. CO/762/2017. Mr Justice Holman. Oakridge Lane, near Radlett, Hertfordshire, is an undisputed ancient public vehicular highway (a ‘main road’), effectively split into two parts by its crossing of The Brook, a meandering and somewhat mobile stream, which now coincides with the road’s northerly course for some distance. The southern stretch of Oakridge Lane is part sealed unclassified road, part already recorded BOAT, and…

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Piles of Files

Piles of Files

Practitioners in the dark arts of public inquiries will know how much of a chore it can sometimes be getting hold of the case papers early enough in the process. The Planning Inspectorate has recently updated its ‘Checklist for Order Making Authorities‘ (regarding the papers that the OMA must send to PINS with an order for determination) by adding this note: ‘To help with the smooth running of the process, and to ensure parties are able to access all the…

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No Barrier Causes Railing

No Barrier Causes Railing

Local Government Ombudsman Decision. Complaint reference: 15 016 097. 6 June 2016. Available on the LGO website here. This Local Government Ombudsman decision arose from a complaint by Mrs X against Essex County Council alleging failure by the council in four areas. Two of particular interest are that the council: (1) failed to install signs to mark where the right of way which runs through her land changes from an adopted road to a restricted byway; (2) required her to…

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Conflict of Evidence: No Resolution?

Conflict of Evidence: No Resolution?

In a ‘user evidence’ order relying on s.31 of the Highways Act 1980, you need a ‘bringing into question’ date from which to count back twenty full years of user, next before. In the decision letter for a claimed public footpath in the Lake District, FPS/Q9495/7/32, Inspector Susan Doran cannot identify an event that brings the claimed right into question, and she declines to confirm the order as a consequence. But hold on … didn’t the CRoW Act sixteen years ago…

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No Alternative?

No Alternative?

In a s.257 order determination, can an Inspector decline to divert a bridleway on to an estate motor road where no reasonable alternative off-road route has been provided in the proposed development? Probably not. See the report on decision FPS/L2820/5/2.

What! No NERCA?

What! No NERCA?

Inspector Michael Lowe considers an order to ‘upgrade’ a footpath route to restricted byway on the basis of pedal cycle user evidence, but he seems to overlook s.67 of NERCA with regard to a stretch of road that was previously on the list of streets. Click here for the report.

Who is the ‘Landowner’?

Who is the ‘Landowner’?

In a recent decision letter, reference FPS/Z1585/4/23, Inspector Peter Millman considers a s.119 diversion order ‘in the interests of the landowner.’ The landowner is in the process of selling his house, and the ongoing benefit of the diversion would accrue to a prospective purchaser. Is such a purchaser the ‘landowner’? This decision is summarised in Inquiry Issues.