Agenda item

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
Definitive Map Modification Order Investigation
Addition of footpaths around Glencourse Drive, Fulwood

Minutes:

A report was presented on an application and investigation into the addition of footpaths linking Watling Street Road, Eastway and Glencourse Drive and into the vicinity of Sandy Brook to the east of Eastway, Fulwood, to the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way, as shown on the Committee plan attached to the agenda papers between points A-B-C, D-E and E-I.

 

A site inspection had been carried out in November 2021.

 

A variety of maps, plans and other documents had been examined to discover when the application route came into being, and to try to determine what its status may be.

 

It was reported that, on investigation, the application routes all linked to other routes and therefore additional routes had been included in the report for Committee to consider.

 

Committee were informed that, in this particular case, the land crossed by the application route had not been developed until the 1990s, and that there was no suggestion that the application route or other routes under investigation existed prior to that time.

 

For this reason, much of the historical map and documentary evidence normally considered as part of the Committee report had not been included. However, several historical maps submitted by the applicant in support of their application had been included.

 

Committee noted that for the purpose of the research, the routes shown on the Committee plan were all referred to as 'the application route' rather than part application and part route under investigation.

 

Committee were informed that the area where the routes ran were on areas transferred as public open space by the Commission for New Towns. The Open Space areas had not been transferred to the City Council and so were not held under statutory provisions for open space giving the public a statutory permission but, instead, remained held by successors in title to Fairclough Homes bound by the covenants to keep the area unbuilt upon. Committee noted that no landowner had provided any official response to the consultation.

 

In response to a question, it was reported that Legal Services informed the applicant and other interested parties of decisions taken by Committee. Once an Order had been made, there was a statutory notification period in terms of putting notices on site and in newspapers and recorded delivery letters sent to all interested parties. Once a route had been added to the Definitive Map and Statement, the Ordnance Survey office were notified for it to be included on their maps which were accessible by the public.

 

A further question was asked in relation to signage and why some routes were not signposted. It was reported that there was a legal provision for a footpath or bridleway to be signposted off a vehicular highway and that signage in fields relied on the waymarking system. The county council had a team of officers to erect signs on routes that were already included on the Definitive Map and Statement; this was a rolling programme due to wear and tear or damage to the signs. For routes not yet recorded, an Order would need to be confirmed before any signage was erected although notices would be displayed on the route to inform members of the public that an Order had either been made or confirmed. Waymarking was used when a route left a public highway and continued into a field and was usually done in consultation with the landowners.

 

Taking all of the evidence into account, Committee were advised that they may, on balance, consider that there may be sufficient evidence of footpaths being able to be reasonably alleged to make an Order and, should no objections be received, it would be appropriate to consider the higher test as able to be satisfied and the Order be able to be confirmed. If there were any objections, the need to clarify the user evidence by taking more full statements may be appropriate and it was suggested that Committee may consider the matter should be returned to them for a decision regarding confirmation, once the statutory period for objections and representations to the Order had passed, and more full statements from users taken.

 

Resolved:

 

(i)  That the application for a footpath to be recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way from Watling Street Road to the bridge over Sandy Brook, Fulwood, be accepted. That the evidence following investigation into other routes be accepted.

 

(ii)  That an Order(s) be made pursuant to Section 53 (2)(b) and Section 53 (3)(b) and/or Section 53 (3)(c)(i) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to add a number of footpaths to the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way in the vicinity of Watling Street Road, Glencourse Drive and Eastway, Fulwood as shown on Committee Plan between points A-B-C, D-N-E-F-G, N-I, H-E-I-J and M-L-J-K.

 

(iii)  That not being satisfied that the higher test for confirmation can be met with the information available, the matter be returned to Committee for a decision regarding confirmation, once the statutory period for objections and representations to the Order had passed.

 

 

Supporting documents: