Agenda and minutes

Commons and Rights of Way Committee - Tuesday 28 March 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 4 October 2022.

Minutes:

Resolved

That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 4 October 2022 be approved as a correct record.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Please see note (b) at the end of the agenda.

Minutes:

2.1      Cllr Susan Williams declared an interest in respect of agenda item 6 (Application for a Definitive Map Modification Order) and left the meeting room whilst the item was considered. 

 

2.2      At this juncture, Cllr Dr David Willingham reported that he had undertaken an independent informal site visit on Sunday 19 March 2023.

3.

Public Questions on Application(s)

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

is 10:00 am on Tuesday 21st March 2023.  Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Joanne Bolton (email: joanne.bolton@gloucestershire.gov.uk).

Minutes:

No public questions had been received on the application before the Committee.

4.

Member Questions on Application(s)

To answer any written member questions on the application(s) before Committee at the meeting. The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10:00am on Tuesday 21st March 2023.  Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Joanne Bolton (email: joanne.bolton@gloucestershire.gov.uk).

 

Minutes:

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

5.

573/11/246(6) Application for a Definitive Map Modification Order to re-classify a length of public footpath route; MWH27 & part of MWH3 to public bridleway, Whiteshill Parish pdf icon PDF 345 KB

To consider the following application: 573/11/246(6) 

 

Nature of Application: Re-classification of route comprising Public Footpath MWH27 & part of MWH3 to public bridleway

Parish: Whiteshill

Name of Applicant: Mr C Townley

Date of Applications: 4 April 2022

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1      Jaci Harris, Asset Data Officer (PROW Definitive Map), gave a detailed presentation to the Committee aided by a PowerPoint presentation, which included photographs of the claimed route under consideration.  (For information: A copy of the presentation slides has been uploaded to the Council’s website.)

           

5.2      The Committee considered the application for a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO) to re-classify a length of public footpath route MWH27 & part of MWH3 to public bridleway, Whiteshill Parish, Gloucestershire.  On the Plan attached at Appendix JH2 to the report, the claimed bridleway was shown as a continuous black line between points A-B-C. 

 

5.3      The Committee was informed that the statutory authority for this application was Section 53(3)(c)(ii) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which related to the discovery by the Authority of evidence that showed that a highway of a particular description ought to be there shown as a highway of a different description.

 

5.4      The Asset Data Officer explained that the claimed route under consideration comprised two designated public footpaths recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement.  This constituted conclusive evidence of their status, but it was without prejudice to any unrecorded higher rights.  By applying the principal “once a highway always a highway”, if there was sufficient evidence to show that the claimed route had enjoyed highway rights at any time in the past then the public’s rights would still exist today, unless there was evidence of a formal stopping up or closure order.  As a result, those higher rights must be recorded.  Simple disuse of a right of way did not mean that the right no longer existed, just that the right was not being exercised.

 

5.5      The Committee was advised that the test to be applied to the evidence subject to the application, was higher than that it was reasonably alleged to subsist.  The Committee had to consider whether the evidence as a whole, was sufficient to suggest, on the balance of probabilities, or

it was more probable than not, that the status of the claimed route shown on the Definitive Map and Statement had a higher status than that of a footpath.

 

5.6      The Committee was informed that there was no user evidence submitted with the application; consequently, the Committee’s determination would be based solely on the documentary evidence.

 

5.7      The Asset Data Officer explained that the claimed route appeared to have been part of an old road connecting the parishes of Pitchcombe and Whiteshill.  The origins and status of the old road were unknown.

 

5.8      The Asset Data Officer presented a series of photographs which showed the whole of the old road from Pitchcombe down to Whiteshill of which the claimed route formed part.  She reported that the old road commenced at its junction with public highway 42455.  For the first approx. 210 metres it was a private road know as Lurks Lane.  It was co-existent with Public Bridleway MPC17.  Lurks Lane and the adjacent properties were constructed in around 1952.  Prior to that, the surrounding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Public Questions - About the matters which are within the powers and duties of the Committee pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To answer any written or public questions about the matters, which are within the powers and duties of the Committee.  The closing date /time for the receipt of questions is 10:00am on Tuesday 21st March 2023.  Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Joanne Bolton (email: joanne.bolton@gloucestershire.gov.uk).

Minutes:

6.1       One public question had been received on the matters which were within the powers and duties of the Committee.  A copy of the question and answer had been circulated and uploaded to the Council’s website. 

 

6.2       The Committee noted the question and answer.

 

6.3       Dr Gilbert asked the following supplementary question:

 

“Given that this application has the written support of more than fifty witnesses and would make a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust beauty spot easily accessible to people of all ability, would it not be in line with Gloucestershire County Council’s “Building Better Lives Policy 2014-2024” which aims to support people with disabilities, for this application to be given the highest possible priority?”

 

6.4       In response, Philip Cameron, Traffic Manager, explained that a priority assessment system was in operation for all applications that were submitted, and the application would be reviewed in-line with that policy. 

 

6.5       Dr Gilbert emphasised that the path was a metalled road which made it accessible for wheelchair users. 

 

6.6       Cllr Dr David Willingham suggested that the Council should consider its legal duties under the Human Rights Act, as people were entitled to justice within a reasonable period of time.  He also suggested that Dr Gilbert be supplied with information on the Council’s complaints process and how to escalate it to the Local Government Ombudsman, if he felt that this was necessary.  In response, the Traffic Manger confirmed that those points would be taken into consideration.

7.

Member Questions - About the matters which are within the powers and duties of the Committee

To answer any written member questions about the matters which are within the powers and duties of the Committee. The closing date/time for the receipt of questions is 10:00am on Tuesday 21st March 2023.  Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Joanne Bolton (email: joanne.bolton@gloucestershire.gov.uk).

 

 

Minutes:

No questions from members about the matters which were within the powers and duties of the Committee had been received.