«CREATION OF BRIDLEWAY 209020 BETWEEN HIGH ROGERSCALE AND HIGH BANK, BLINDBOTHEL PARISH 1 Summary 1.1 We consider that there is a need for a bridleway ...»
3.4.3 We have received support, or no expression of opposition, from some of the adjoining landowners and some opposition from other landowners and a local resident (Mr Graham’s agreement, pages 24 &25, document bundle). A map showing the landownership is at page 26 of the document bundle. The responses received are
When consulted about the proposed bridleway, she was not opposed to it and had used it herself but she was selling the property and therefore didn’t want to sign the creation agreement.
Mr Gordon Graham, Lanefoot Farm, Rogerscale (owns some adjoining land)
Mr and Mrs Lawson, High Barn, Rogerscale (own some adjoining land) Mr Lawson sent a letter setting out his concerns about the proposal. His concerns are outlined in section 3.4.3 below (pages 35 & 36, document bundle).
In January 2008 we offered to meet Mr Lawson on site to discuss his concerns.
He phoned to say he was unable to meet us (page 37, email about telephone conversation, document bundle). During the conversation, Mr Lawson referred to the track as a ‘bridlepath’ and it was not clear if his objection was to the recording as a right of way or due to maintenance concerns.
After writing to the adjoining landowners regarding the proposal being discussed at the July 2011 Rights of Way Committee, Mrs Lawson wrote to us detailing the pros and cons of the proposal (pages 36a and b, document bundle). Overall, she was opposed to the proposal.
I spoke to Mrs Bergius when visiting the area in May 2011. She is a horse rider and uses the track herself. She is also purchasing some of the land on the western side of the track. She was happy in principle with the proposal but she did raise concerns that it may become heavily used by cyclists or quad bikes.
3.4.3 In March 2008 we received a letter from Blindbothel Parish Council asking about the legal status of the track (page 39, document bundle). They suggested that there ‘appears to be no knowledge of its status as a public footpath, bridleway or private road’ and that we should contact a member of the Parish Council - Councillor Alan Hudson, who ‘lives nearby and is very knowledgeable about the area’.
3.4.4 Mr Hudson replied to our letter (page 40, document bundle) but although he had agreed with the proposal during our site visit, in his letter he said that he would object to the creation of a public bridleway.
3.4.5 The concerns and reasons for the opposition by some local residents are summarised below (full documents pages 35 & 36, 41 & 42, 46, and map of landownership page 26, document bundle). Our responses to the concerns are detailed in section 3.5.
4 Other considerations required by legislation
4.1 Rights of Way Improvement Plan 4.1.1 Before confirming a public path creation order we are required to have regard to any material provision of a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP).
4.1.2 This is a ROWIP proposal (pages 43-45, document bundle) and is in line with the following
Action 14 – Bridleway links: identify and create links in the bridleway network to increase integration of the network and create greater opportunities. This route gives greater opportunity to enjoy the views of Lorton Vale away from the dangers and distractions of the vehicular highway.
Action 17 - Support to land managers – Offer practical assistance, support and advice to encourage land managers to develop both new and existing access and recreational opportunities.
Action 18 – Working with land managers – Work with land managers and relevant users to manage recreational pursuits, resolve conflict, encourage responsible use and promote appropriate guidance. This project will help us bring about improvements on this path. We will do some drainage works on it which should improve the present condition of the track, reducing erosion and preventing any contamination of private water supplies.
Action 27 – Footpath links – Identify and create new links in the footpath network. This route would also provide benefits to walkers.
4.1.3 Copies of the relevant pages are attached (pages 43-45); the full ROWIP can be seen at www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/public-transport-road-safety/countrysideaccess/ROWIP/Final_Rowip.asp
4.2 Limited Mobility - We have a duty to audit the proposals with regard to limited mobility. The path requires some drainage works to stop water flowing across and along the central section and the removal of some small and fallen trees which are currently partly obstructing the path. The track should then be easier to use for less mobile people.
4.3 Impact on the needs of agriculture and forestry – there shouldn’t be any negative impacts on the needs of agriculture or forestry but there may be some positive impact.
The northern and southern sections of the path are used by farmers to access their land but they are currently unable to use most of the middle section of the track because of the fallen trees and the central section is narrower. There is plenty of width to enable users to avoid any farm traffic.
5 How the proposal fits with our strategic policies
5.1 A key outcome of the Vision for the Lake District National Park 2006 – 2030 is a landscape which provides an irreplaceable source of inspiration, whose benefits to people and wildlife are valued and improved. Our Partnership’s Plan is the Management Plan for the Lake District National Park which contains our policies for achieving the aims and desired outcomes for the Vision.
5.2 The key policy for access and rights of way within the current Plan (2010-2015) is:
9.24 – ensure efficient serviced delivery by the Cumbria Countryside Access Partnership that effectively improves, promotes, and enhances the quality of the rights of way and countryside access land in ways that meet the needs and preferences of users and in ways that sustainably benefit the local economy and delivers wider social benefits.
5.3 Other relevant policies within the Plan are:
VE1 - Promote a welcoming National Park for all, which encourages people to visit again.
VE2 - Enhance the quality and diversity of the visitor's experience through improvements to accommodation, attractions, public realm and visitor facilities.
VE5 - Making the most of the landscape and nature as the backdrop for outdoor leisure experiences for all, particularly the next generation of returning visitors from relaxing and tranquil to adventurous and exhilarating.
SL6 - Ensure that residents and visitors appreciate the importance of environmental protection by improving access, understanding, enjoyment, education and health.
18.51 - Extend, and promote the strategic cycling and horse riding network Develop and deliver bridleway and cycleway network improvements by linking with agreed cycle and transport hubs and existing regional and sub-regional cycle routes.
5.4 Other policies include the Cumbria Countryside Access Strategy (co-authored and endorsed by us) which supports the extension and improvement of rights of way facilities such as bridleway and footpath links to form new linear and circular routes which provide better integration.
5.5 This proposal helps fulfil these aims. In particular, the new bridleway will increase integration of the network, thereby making it more usable and providing a quiet riding experience away from the busier roads.
5.6 Our policy on assessing and converting permitted paths was agreed at Park Strategy & Vision Committee in October 2009.
5.7 Our charging policy was agreed at Authority in August 2006.
5.8 Factors to take into account when determining changes to the network were agreed at Park Management Committee in May 1997 (“Changing the Rights of Way Network: Statement of Policy”), and are listed at Annex 1.
6 Finance Considerations
6.3 If we receive objections and the Secretary of State decides that a public inquiry is the most appropriate way to decide whether or not to confirm the order this would incur additional costs in the region of £3,000.
6.4 There is the possibility that one or more of the landowners of land adjoining the bridleway may claim compensation. I consider that any claim is unlikely. Even if a
claim is made, I consider that compensation would be low for the following reasons:
7.1 The proposal will provide a useful, safe link to the path network in the area, enabling users to avoid some of the traffic on the public roads and will provide benefits to a more diverse user group - both locals and visitors - where there are currently limited opportunities for bridleway users in this area.
7.2 No-one has claimed ownership of the track.
7.3 We have received a high level of support from other consultees, including user groups and most of the adjoining landowners.
7.4 Two residents in the immediate vicinity of the track have expressed concerns and opposition regarding the proposal. However, we do not consider that their concerns are sound. And we don’t consider that giving the path public status as a bridleway will cause new, or increase existing, problems for local residents, particularly in this location where it is unlikely people will travel any great distance just to use it.
8.1 I consider that there would be public benefit to creating a bridleway link along the track and that it should not cause undue problems or impinge on the privacy of local residents. We are aware that the route is used on horse back by the owner of High Bank and at least one local child with a pony.
8.2 The route is currently usable, though it needs some maintenance. The works we would do
8.3 I recommend that we make a creation order to add this bridleway link to the definitive map and statement.