Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Open Spaces Society Needs You

Wymington FP5 - Unlawfully obstructed by Network Rail with Bedford Borough Council permission.
When a local authority makes a public path order to create, divert or extinguish a public right of way, anyone can object (oppose the order). Making a public path order is essentially a two-part process – making the order and then confirming it. If the order is opposed then the local authority cannot confirm it. The authority can abandon the order or forward it to the Secretary of State (DEFRA) who has the power to confirm an opposed order as it stands, confirm the order with amendments or to reject it.

The Secretary of State appoints an Inspector who takes into account the arguments for and against before making a decision. The objector has a right to be heard so a local public inquiry (a formal setting where evidence is heard and where witnesses are open to cross-examination) or a hearing (a discussion held by an Inspector - less formal, usually without formal cross-examination) may be convened. Alternatively, a decision may be made following an exchange of written representations.

I objected to the:

  • Stagsden Footpath No. 20 Diversion Order last year and Bedford Borough Council decided last month to abandon the order.

  • Maulden Footpath No. 28 Extinguishment Order last year. The case was heard last month at a public inquiry. The Inspector rejected the order.

  • Wyboston, Chawston & Colesden Footpath No. A11E Extinguishment Order last year. A public hearing is to be convened at Wyboston Parish Village Hall in October.

  • Kempston Urban Footpath No. 9 Diversion Order last year. The consideration of the Order is taking the form of an exchange of written statements and I have drafted my statement of case and comments for submission this month.

  • Sharnbrook Footpath No. 2 Rail Crossing Extinguishment Order last year. Bedford Borough Council and Network Rail agreed to my suggestion for works to improve the alternative route. I will withdraw my objection on completion of the works and the Council will confirm the order.

  • Wymington Footpaths Nos. 3, 4 & 5 and Podington Footpaths Nos. 6 & 27 Rail Crossing Diversion Order (me v “Counsel” for Bedford Borough Council and Network Rail!) and await news of how that case will be dealt with.

Bedford Borough Council is now consulting on a proposal to create and extinguish various paths in Willington and Cople. It seems to me that the proposals could be improved for the benefit of the public. I may have to object.

Anyone fancy joining the Open Spaces Society?

1 comment:

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