Agenda and minutes

Commons and Rights of Way Committee
Tuesday 26 November 2013 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Simon Harper 

Items
No. Item

7.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2013.

Minutes:

The Committee were asked for their approval of the minutes of the meeting held on 8 November 2013.

 

At this juncture (10.05am) Cllr Leppington asked for an adjournment to allow the wording of his proposed amendments to the minutes to be typed-up and circulated.  The meeting reconvened at 10.15am.

 

Cllr Leppington proposed, seconded by Cllr McMahon, that the following amendments be made to the minutes:

 

a)    Minute 5 - Recording a question from Cllr Leppington regarding whether it was correct that the CROW Committee had not met for two years.   The officer confirmed that this was the position.

 

b)    Minute 5 - It was not recorded that a number of members of the committee had not seen the report on the backlog situation regarding public rights of way which had been circulated electronically beforehand.

 

c)    Minute 6 - A member of the public asked that the committee should record that he had not been provided with a written response to his questions before the meeting. 

 

d)    Minute 6 - To add the following sentence to the last paragraph: ‘ No oral questions were considered from members of the public’.

Cllr Cordwell also proposed and it was duly seconded that the word ‘some’ be deleted from the first line of the last paragraph of minute 5.

 

The Committee, having noted the above amendments,

 

Resolved

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 8 November be approved subject to the amendments as detailed above.

8.

Public Questions

To answer any written or public questions about the application before the Committee at this meeting.  The closing date /time for the receipt of questions

is 10 am on 19 November 2013.

 

With the consent of the Chairperson, to answer any oral question(s) on the application before the Committee at this meeting put by members of the public.

 

Depending on the nature of the oral questions asked it may not be possible to provide a comprehensive answer at the meeting, in which case a written answer will be supplied as soon as reasonably possible after the meeting.

Minutes:

No questions had been received from members of the public relating to the application before the Committee.

9.

Members' Questions -

To answer any written members’ questions on the application before Committee at the meeting. The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10am on 19 November 2013.

Minutes:

No questions had been received from members on the application before the Committee.

10.

Application for the registration of an area of land known as the Recreation Ground, Prestbury Road, as a town or village green pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To consider the following application

 

Nature of application:  Application for the registration of an area of land known as the Recreation Ground, Prestbury Road, as a town or village green.

 

Location:  Land to the north of Prestbury Road, Cheltenham and to the west of Prestbury Recreation Ground.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Prior to the commencement of this item the following declarations of interest were made:

 

Cllr Wheeler – “As a member of the Planning Committee at Cheltenham Borough Council, I have considered applications on land in this area.  However the question of what is recreational land was not part of this consideration.  I come to the meeting today with an open mind and will make my decision in the light of the published report and today’s discussion.”

 

The Committee noted that following advice from the Monitoring Officer, in the light of his declaration of a personal and prejudicial interest, Cllr Prince would make a short statement and then withdraw from the meeting so that he would take no further part in the debate.

 

Cllr Prince – “I have worked for many years seeking to retain this land for recreational purposes and am very disappointed (but not surprised) with the recommendation in the report.  I feel that the 20 year rule had been adequately reinforced.  The photos provided at the Inquiry did not show footpaths as the grass had been left to grow long so that when mown it covered the footpaths.  Gloucestershire County Council is failing to preserve the Olympic legacy by protecting recreational land.  This was an ideal opportunity to enforce recreational land use as of right.  I felt that there was an adequate demonstration of this right.  There is much in the report that I do not agree with.  I hope the Committee will listen to the evidence and make an objective decision.”

 

Janet Smith, Senior Lawyer, introduced the report and asked the Committee to note the corrections to the following typographical errors:

 

·         Page 13         Plan should be entitled ‘A’

·         Page 15         Advice annex should be entitled ‘B’

·         Page 67         para 116 – correction in the last line to the spelling of ‘Mr Houldey

·         Page 68         para 117 – year in the last line should be ‘2000’.

 

The Committee then viewed a slide show (copy attached to the signed copy of these minutes) which showed views of the area of land, together with an annotated Plan indicating where the photographs had been taken.  Ms Smith then asked Mr Leslie Blohm, QC, as the Inquiry Chair, to introduce his report and explain how he came to the recommendation before the Committee today.

 

Mr Blohm explained that the Inquiry into the application to register an area of land known as the Recreation Ground, Prestbury Road, Prestbury, as a town or village green, was held between 9 and 12 September 2013.

 

There had been a substantial amount of written evidence available to study before the Inquiry.  During the Inquiry there had been a lot of evidence given orally by various witnesses.  Mr Blohm’s advice report considered this evidence in some detail since being given during the hearing meant that it was able to be tested.

 

In order to be successful the applicant had to show that the land in question had been used for at least 20 years for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To answer any written or public questions about matters, which are within the powers and duties of the Committee.  The closing date /time for the receipt of questions is 10 am on 19 November 2013.

 

With the consent of the Chairperson, to answer any oral question(s) on matters, which are within the powers and duties of the Committee.

 

Depending on the nature of the oral questions asked it may not be possible to provide a comprehensive answer at the meeting, in which case a written answer will be supplied as soon as reasonably possible after the meeting.

 

Minutes:

Nine written questions had been received from members of the public.  A copy of the questions and answers had been published on the Council’s website on Monday, 25 November 2013 and hard copies provided at the start of the meeting.  The questioners accepted the questions and answers as read and asked the following supplementary questions:

 

Question 3 – Mr Adams: No documentary evidence has yet been shown that the e-mail was sent – can this be provided?

 

Question 4 – Mr Adams: This answer is not specific enough – why, since the Committee resolved on 12 October 2011 to hold annual meetings, have no meetings been held?

 

Question 5 – Mr Adams: I do not feel that this answer is complete – can move information be provided?

 

Question 7 – Mr Rice: I do not feel that the minutes are representative of the meeting – why were the numbers of applications in the backlog not published and why have the answers been provided by the County council and not the Committee as asked?

 

Question 9 – Mr Rice: There is a level of deviation from the legal requirements which means that the Council is failing to meet its statutory duty under Statutory Instrument 2461 and is trivialising the matter to the extent that I feel I am being forced to take this issue to the Local Government Ombudsman.  I have checked every parish using the software and the numbers do not match.  In 2012 there were 25 undetermined applications; we are now told there are 36.  As the Committee has not met since September 2012 that should mean there should be 11 new applications but my checks only show 3 recorded in 2012, and 2 so far in 2013.  The paper register has also not been amended – how can the Council work with the whole Definitive map being defective?

 

The following oral questions were accepted by the Chairperson:

 

Mr Adams: Surely it would be beneficial to list the errors in the Definitive Map; can I be told what has been omitted and what steps are being taken to correct this?

 

Mr Rice: The discussion on the application for a Village Green appeared to suggest that there was evidence of a Public Rights of Way across the land in question – is this recorded on the Register?

 

In response to all the supplementary and oral questions, the Chairman thanked the questioners and confirmed that written responses would be provided.  The response would be circulated to all members of the Committee and published on the Council’s website.

12.

Members Questions pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To answer any written questions from members about matters, which are within the powers and duties of the Committee.  The closing date /time for the receipt of questions is 10 am on 19 November 2013.

 

Minutes:

Three written questions had been received.  The questions and answers given were taken as read.  The following supplementary question was asked:

 

Cllr Leppington: What action can the Committee take to rectify the question of resourcing of this area?

 

The Chairman responded by drawing Cllr Leppington’s attention to the answer provided to Question C and stressed that all members would have the opportunity to highlight this area in the forth-coming budget debate.