Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Maulden Footpath No. 28

Central Bedfordshire Council's Development Management Committee

At its meeting on 12th October, Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee considered an update on Maulden Footpath No. 28.
In 2013 the committee had (1) refused an application to delete the path from the definitive map, (2) approved an application to extinguish the path, and (3) approved an application to have the path stopped up; the case for stopping up the path to be heard at the magistrates’ court if the public path extinguishment order procedure failed, or vice versa because the committee had not said in which order it should be dealt with.
Two procedures to get rid of a public right of way might seem like a belt and bracers approach but the appropriate idiom escapes me in this case because these two procedures were only the latest attempts to close the path. See HERE for Central Bedfordshire Council's account of the sequence of events which include: a 1995 Definitive Map Modification Order unsuccessfully opposed; three failed extinguishment orders (1998, 2000 and 2013); a diversion order (2004); a variation order (2010); numerous public inquiries; three court appearances linked to wilful obstruction of a public right of way; two magistrates' court hearings; appeals to the Secretary of State; and an application to the High Court.
One might be in awe of the incredible tenacity of a landowner who does not believe there is a public right of way over his land and has fought for at least 24 years to have it removed - or not (in awe). One might be appreciative of those prepared to defend public rights of way - or not (appreciative). One might also reflect that we live in country where either side has the right and freedom to fight its cause. However, I do not know what one is to make of Central Bedfordshire Council’s and its predecessor, the former Mid Bedfordshire District Council's, decisions for pursuing the case for so long, against its officers' advice, after so many failed attempts at a huge cost to the public purse measured in tens of thousands of pounds.
After discussing the issue for over an hour on 12th October, Central Bedfordshire Council decided to rescind its 2013 resolution to apply to the magistrates' court for a stopping up order.
All attempts to delete or close the path have failed, the latest plan will not proceed. It seems that the Maulden FP28 saga is over. Long live Maulden Footpath No 28.
Previous posts on Maulden FP 28 can be found HERE (26 Jun 14), HERE (2 Sep 14), HERE (5 Sep 15) and HERE (7 Oct 15).

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