Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Bridleway Threat After Secretary Of State Overrules The Local Council

40 posts in this topic

Posted

As some of you may have read in this week's Examiner Pg 7, the Secretary of State has overruled the Buckinghamshire County Council and has overturned their decision NOT to allow motorised vehicles to use several local bridleways.

The three bridleways affected are Bottom Lane, Trapps Lane and Bunn's Lane, these all lead off Latimer Road.

If any of you know these bridleways you will know that they are totally unsuitable for motorised vehicles. They are widely used by walkers, cyclists, joggers, horse ridgers and families out for a walk, because of the acoustics of the valley it is often impossible to hear the motorbikes until they are on top of you and it is an accident waiting to happen. Although the Trail Riders Fellowship is for motorbikes, this 'BOAT' Byways Open to All Traffic, means that any motor vehicle can use them.

Bottom Lane at the southern (Latimer Road) end, is very narrow. It is impossible for 2 people to walk side by side along it and when I've met horse riders when out walking, I've had to turn back and walk for a considerable distance to reach a place wide enough to allow the horse to pass. It also passes through a farmer's field who has beef cows and their calves in it. I have personally seen a herd of almost 50 cows stampeding after a motorbike has gone through the field.

Bunn's Lane although it starts reasonably wide, narrows considerably and has a number of 'hairpin' turns. It also has badger setts/rabbit warrens on either side of the bridleway which makes it impossible for a horse rider to safely go 'off path' to allow vehicles to pass.

Trapps Lane although probably the most used, is a path that I don't know that well, but I have walked it and am aware that it is also very narrow and unsuitable.

We need your help to appeal against this decision. I have been told that in North Buckinghamshire where there are numerous BOAT's they are having problems and in fact one woman was seriously injured when her horse was spooked by a motorbike.

It is not too late to overturn the Secretary of States decision, if enough people object!! Please be aware though, that although these 3 Bridleways may not be of importance to you, once the TRF have got full approval there is nothing to stop them from applying to use Bridleways near you and once within the area it's hard to stop them.

Justine Fulford is urging people to complain. Why should the Secretary of State who does not know the area be able to overturn local people who do know and do live in the area?

If you wish to complain please write to The Rights of Way Access Group, County Hall, Aylesbury, Bucks HP20 1UY. You can also e-mail bucksnews@trinitysouth.co.uk or write to The Examiner, 16-18 Germain Street, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 1LH. There is a meeting with the Environment Group on Thursday evening at 7.30pm at the Town Hall, for anyone who is interested in attending.

If you need further information, you can also contact me and I may have the answers, or know a man who does.

Please we need your help, to maintain this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I was horrified to read the article in the Examiner (November 23rd) regarding the decision by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to overturn the local decision to keep local bridleways safe for the local community. The decision could allow motorised vehicles to use the local bridleways around Chesham unless there are objections from the public.

This is a classic example of Whitehall madness. Equestrians, dog walkers, ramblers and cyclists all heavily use the three bridleways affected. Classifying these bridleways as a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic) will allow traffic to legally travel at 60 MPH along our local bridleways. There is insufficient space for a pedestrian, let alone an equestrian, to safely pass a speeding motorcycle in many places.

These three bridleways (Bottom Lane, Trapps Lane and Bunn’s Lane) pass through the Chilterns, which were designated by the government as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1965. As such they should be protected for the enjoyment of the general public and not set aside for the use of a minority.

If you use this local amenity or care about our local environment, I urge you to register an objection to this misguided decision with The Rights of Way Access Group, County Hall, Aylesbury HP20 1UY, quoting reference MF/16855. You may do this by emailing mfreeman@buckscc.gov.uk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Classifying these bridleways as a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic) will allow traffic to legally travel at 60 MPH along our local bridleways.

I hadn't realised that it would allow them to legally travel at 60mph!!! Yet another reason to oppose it. How is the local wildlife supposed to move away that quickly.

I've seen Slow Worms, Snakes, Little Owls, Hobby's, Stoats, Newts and all manner of other creatures, some of them are classed as 'endangered' while out walking these bridleways.

If the local people who benefit from this beautiful environment aren't able to protect it then I truly despair of this country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Why should the Secretary of State who does not know the area be able to overturn local people who do know and do live in the area?

a) because that's the law

b ) because 'local people' includes those who do want motorised access.

That is not to say, however, that I disagree with the rest of what you say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I sympatise, and fully support your opposition, I've had my own views about supporting rural life, but it appears may seem to think as soon as a few buliding appear it's urban and stepping out into the 'Countryside' doesn't exsist, it's now urban. We do need to look at the issue as a whole, not just footways, but farms, greenbelt foot paths etc, we may all have views about part of these isses, but at the end we all lose if we are working against each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

a) because that's the law

b ) because 'local people' includes those who do want motorised access.

That is not to say, however, that I disagree with the rest of what you say.

Hi David P

a )Then the law is an ass

B) What 'local people'? The farmer doesn't want it and these bridleways all run through/across his land. I and my neighbours don't want it and certainly I have yet to meet anyone out walking/cycling/horse riding that does want it. The only people who do seem to want it are the TRF and they don't appear to be local, judging from the fact that they have maps of the area.

Why should the minority interfere with the vast majority?

Incidentally there were 4 motor bikers racing around these bridleways today and yes you guessed it a rider was thrown from her horse and faced a long muddy walk home. Luckily she wasn't seriously hurt although she was very worried about her horse.

If you disagree with the rest of what I've said are you prepared to write and complain??

I sympatise, and fully support your opposition,

Can we rely on you to write and complain then?

We do need to look at the issue as a whole, not just footways, but farms, greenbelt foot paths etc, we may all have views about part of these isses, but at the end we all lose if we are working against each other.

Precisely, we all need to work together if we have any hope of defending and maintaining the beautiful chiltern countryside that we are lucky enough to be surrounded by.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi David P

a )Then the law is an ass

B) What 'local people'? The farmer doesn't want it and these bridleways all run through/across his land. I and my neighbours don't want it and certainly I have yet to meet anyone out walking/cycling/horse riding that does want it. The only people who do seem to want it are the TRF and they don't appear to be local, judging from the fact that they have maps of the area.

Why should the minority interfere with the vast majority?

Incidentally there were 4 motor bikers racing around these bridleways today and yes you guessed it a rider was thrown from her horse and faced a long muddy walk home. Luckily she wasn't seriously hurt although she was very worried about her horse.

If you disagree with the rest of what I've said are you prepared to write and complain??

I accept that legitimate access may be required, but I assume this is not what the issue is about, tell them to P*** off, sorry go away, this is our home not a bikers holiday resort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I accept that legitimate access may be required, but I assume this is not what the issue is about, tell them to P*** off, sorry go away, this is our home not a bikers holiday resort.

I have stood up to the bikers on numerous occasions when I have seen them and have been intimidated by them, verbally abused and virtually ridden over. Even though they are STILL NOT supposed to be using these Bridleways, until the act has been finalised, they continue to spout the same arguments ie. The TRF says that this is a BOAT. Is this really true? I don't know, I certainly can't find that info on their website.

However, when out walking I'm on my own with my dog and various others that I walk and I am often struggling to control them and ensure that they don't attack the bikers.

To answer any critics who suggest that I shouldn't walk dogs that I can't control, I don't walk aggressive/uncontrollable dogs, however most dogs (even cowardly ones) will protect a woman on her own against men. It must be a testerone thing!

Legitimate access is only to the landowner, ie. the farmer and anyone he designates. He does not want motorised vehicles on his land either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

a )Then the law is an ass

The right to appeal to a higher authority is a fundamental part of British law. If (and I don't know if this is so) this decision goes against you but you have the right to appeal to the European court, would you refuse to use it because you regard the law as an ass?

B) What 'local people'? The farmer doesn't want it and these bridleways all run through/across his land. I and my neighbours don't want it and certainly I have yet to meet anyone out walking/cycling/horse riding that does want it. The only people who do seem to want it are the TRF and they don't appear to be local, judging from the fact that they have maps of the area.

I am local. I have dozens of maps of the area. I would assume they are reasonably local if they want to ride around here.

Why should the minority interfere with the vast majority?

A dangerous sentiment in these politically correct times. I could use exactly the same argument about horse riders who churn up these bridleways and make it unpleasant for walkers.

Legitimate access is only to the landowner, ie. the farmer and anyone he designates.

Not true. These are Public Bridleways. Access is open to anyone on foot or on horseback (and, I think, to pushbikes). They have probably been such for hundreds of years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The right to appeal to a higher authority is a fundamental part of British law. If (and I don't know if this is so) this decsion goes against you but you have the right to appeal to the European court, would you refuse to use it because you regard the law as an ass?

No of course I wouldn't, that comment was from pure annoyance and possibly very childish but also immensely satisfying.

I am local. I have dozens of maps of the area. I would assume they are reasonably local if they want to ride around here.

They are using maps because they are not local and they have erroneously been told that these 3 Bridleways are already BOATS.

A dangerous sentiment in these politically correct times. I could use exactly the same argument about horse riders who churn up these bridleways and make it unpleasant for walkers.

Sorry, I thought that a Bridleway was by definition for horses and therefore walkers were unable to complain about it being unpleasant and churned up!!

Not true. These are Public Bridleways. Access is open to anyone on foot or on horseback (and, I think, to pushbikes). They have probably been such for hundreds of years.

Sorry I should have clarified, that I meant that motorised access was only for the farmer and anyone he designates ie. farmworkers.

You are right they are Public Bridleways and if the Secretary of State gets her way they will be open to all, not just cyclists, walkers, joggers and horse riders.

Part of the TRF's argument is that they make up to 20 journeys per year by motorbike and car. Which is completely untrue as the paths are not wide enough for a car and the gate behind me at the southern end of Bottom Lane (not the farm gate from the road) is only 3 foot wide!!! Are there many cars that are that narrow??

My original post did state that if you had any questions I would try to answer them and I will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I have today had a chat with the Bucks representative of the British Horse Society. She was unaware of this action until she read it in last weeks Examiner.

Unfortunately because the BHS is a charity, they may not be able to find the funds to campaign. However, I do believe that they are not overjoyed at the prospect.

Are there any local horseriders out there, or any parents of children who use the local bridleways?? If there are, then please contact the Rights of Way Access Group and lodge your opposition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I am local. I have dozens of maps of the area. I would assume they are reasonably local if they want to ride around here.

Sorry to quote you but I have just discovered that the Trail Riders who launched the action to reclassify these Bridleways into BOAT's are from Hertfordshire.

This is just one of the views of a Hertfordshire motor bike user:-

I will continue to ride my bike down bridle paths and the local common until an alternative is offered. I don't see how riding a motorbike is much different from a riding horse, infact a horse galloping along would do you more damage than if I hit you on my bike. Not only that you can hear the bike coming from a long way off. Effectively is a motorbike not a modern day horse? If you don't think so why not? Of course horse lovers won't agree but if they can ride public tracks why can't we?

I'm afraid that this is a common view from the motor bike users that I've met.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm not familiar with the specific bridleways you mention, but it certainly sounds like a bad idea from the way you describe it.

I have a few queries though, which maybe someone can help with:

To what extent is this a problem in that specific location or are bridleways across the county and indeed nation being reclassified to allow motorbikes etc?

If, as I understand it, these are public rights of way on privately-owned land, could the landowner install gates that motorbikes etc can't get through? (I realise that would cost, but one approach might be to raise funds to help.)

Does anyone know the insurance issues if there is an accident? To ride a horse or motorbike on the public highway, you need third party insurance and for a motorbike, a driving licence as well. But presumably you don't need a licence or insurance if you only ever go off road, so how would an injured party claim compensation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

If, as I understand it, these are public rights of way on privately-owned land, could the landowner install gates that motorbikes etc can't get through? (I realise that would cost, but one approach might be to raise funds to help.)

Hi Fran

As these are bridleways, the landowner isn't allowed to install gates that motorbikes can't get through as this would also prevent horses from using them.

I will answer the other questions when I've got the answers.

Thanks for your interest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

As these are bridleways, the landowner isn't allowed to install gates that motorbikes can't get through as this would also prevent horses from using them.

A barrier perhaps 1 foot high might do the job though - no obstruction to a horse, but would be pretty tough for a motorbike.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

To what extent is this a problem in that specific location or are bridleways across the county and indeed nation being reclassified to allow motorbikes etc?

Unfortunately this is a problem throughout the country not just locally.

A barrier perhaps 1 foot high might do the job though - no obstruction to a horse, but would be pretty tough for a motorbike.

Most of the local users of this path completely agree with this sentiment, however when there are enough bikers they move any fallen trees etc out of the way.

At the North end of Bunn's Lane a local houseowner, placed 4-5 large tree trunks across the path. They were there for about a month last year and then after a large group of bikers had been through they had been moved to the side. This despite the fact that it was and still is illegal for motorised vehicles to use these bridleways.

I am in the process of writing more (once I have correlated more information) regarding the TRF's plans for BOAT's in this area.

So keep watching this space!!

Does anyone know the insurance issues if there is an accident? To ride a horse or motorbike on the public highway, you need third party insurance and for a motorbike, a driving licence as well. But presumably you don't need a licence or insurance if you only ever go off road, so how would an injured party claim compensation?

If the TRF succeed in their application to have these 3 bridleways reclassified as BOAT's then they will need full insurance, MOT and Tax and a driving licence. At the moment they are breaking the law just using these bridleways, so I'm not sure if they are that bothered about insurance, MOT etc.

Please don't forget the meeting at Chesham Town Hall tomorrow (Thursday 1st Dec) at 7.30pm.

Having checked all my local maps I have discovered a 'pattern'.

Map's checked are the Chiltern Society Footpath Maps 6th Edition No 5 and No 17 available for £1.95 each from Ottakers. Also Ordnance Survey Map for Chiltern Hills North that I also bought in Ottakers (now Waterstones) Amersham.

At present the only BOAT's that I can find are north of Amersham.

CY53 Ramscote Lane from Little Pressmore Farm to Johnsons Farm near Bellingdon.

BK48 Ashley Green to Harriott's End Farm

BK40 near Ashlyn's Hall/Farm Berkhamsted

BV6, 7 & 9 Pocketsdell Lane/Shantock Hall Lane Leyhill to Bovingdon/Flaunden end.

Further routes were refused by the Secretary of State these are:

LT8, 23 & 24 Green Lane in Leyhill towards Bovingdon

1b & 2b Ashley Green

51c Cholesbury cum st Leonards known as Flamstead Farm Road

A quick glance at an ordnance survey map shows that the TRF are trying to get a large circular route. Linking LT8, 23 and 24 (these 3 were refused) with BV6, 7 & 9 and Trapps Lane in Chesham up to Ley Hill (Cherry Tree Farm) through to Shantock Lane near Bovingdon/Flaunden and then onto Bunn's Lane or Bottom Lane back to Trapps Lane. However, even without the approval for LT8,23 and 24 they still have a large route available.

If we are unable to oppose the TRF and the proposed BOAT's for Bottom, Trapps and Bunn's Lane are given the go ahead then there are sections of this route that go onto public highways and they may apply for more BOAT's for more bridleways to complete the off road circuit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm not familiar with the specific bridleways you mention, but it certainly sounds like a bad idea from the way you describe it.

I have a few queries though, which maybe someone can help with:

To what extent is this a problem in that specific location or are bridleways across the county and indeed nation being reclassified to allow motorbikes etc?

If, as I understand it, these are public rights of way on privately-owned land, could the landowner install gates that motorbikes etc can't get through? (I realise that would cost, but one approach might be to raise funds to help.)

Does anyone know the insurance issues if there is an accident? To ride a horse or motorbike on the public highway, you need third party insurance and for a motorbike, a driving licence as well. But presumably you don't need a licence or insurance if you only ever go off road, so how would an injured party claim compensation?

Fran,

There has been a fairly extensive national campaign conducted by the Trail Riders to convert bridleways into BOATs (Byways Open to All Traffic) - So this is not just a local problem.

BCC have been unable to identify who owns some of the land that the bridleways pass over and so this prevents a clear position being developed.

If the bridleways in question are classified as BOATS they will have that same status as any other road - vehicles will have to be licenced, insured and MOT'd. It is illegal to use a motorcycle on a bridleway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

For anyone that might be interested here is an update that I have recieved from The BCC Rights of Way Team -

"The Definitive Map Modification Orders have not been made as yet. When they have notices will be placed in a local newspaper, posted at both ends of the route, sent to the District and Parish Councils and the prescribed organisations (eg the Ramblers' Association) and to people whose property is adjacent to the routes and/or own land crossed by the routes. The notices will specify the address to send objections and a date (which will be at least 6 weeks from the date the notices are published in the newspaper) by which objections may be made. To be valid objections must be made in writing to the address specified and within the 6 week period identified in the notice.

The Council has been directed by the Secretary of State to make Definitive Map Modification Orders, so no BCC meetings will be held to consider the matter, because there is nothing to consider at this stage. The Council has already considered the applications and rejected them.

However, if when the Orders have been made and advertised etc, objections are made as described above then the Council will be required to send the Orders and the objections to the Secretary of State. The outcome will then most likely be determined through the public inquiry procedure. The Council is not able to make that decision - only the Secretary of State, through the Planning Inspectorate can decide whether a public inquiry will be held or not, but given that many people are likely to object I expect that the matters will be determined by public inquiries. If so, then of course, it would be open to anybody who wishes to attend to come and state their views."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

An update from the Chesham Environment Meeting of Thursday 30th November.

About 70 local residents attended a meeting of the Chesham Environment Group at Chesham Town Hall on Thursday 30th November to voice their objections to the Trail Riders Fellowship’s application to turn Trapps Lane, Bunn’s Lane and Bottom Lane, Chesham into BOATs (Byways Open to All Traffic).

The meeting was informed that the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had overruled Buckinghamshire County Council directing that these bridleways should be reclassified as BOATs. The Council had already considered the applications in 2005 and rejected them.

Buckinghamshire County Council are expected to issue Definitive Map Modification Orders in January 2007. Notices will be placed in local newspapers, posted at both ends of the route, sent to the District and Parish Councils and the prescribed organisations (e.g. the Ramblers' Association) and to people whose property is adjacent to the routes and/or own land crossed by the routes. The notices will specify the address to send objections and a date (which will be at least 6 weeks from the date the notices are published in the newspaper) by which objections may be made. To be valid objections must be made in writing to the address specified and within the 6-week period identified in the notice.

When the Orders have been made and advertised etc, and objections are made as described above, the Council will then be required to send the Orders and the Objections to the Secretary of State. The outcome will then most likely be determined through the public inquiry procedure.

Buckinghamshire County Council is not able to decide the final outcome - only the Secretary of State, through the Planning Inspectorate can decide whether a public inquiry will be held or not, but given that many people are likely to object it is expected that the matters will be determined by a public inquiry.

Some particularly helpful remarks we made by Councilor Noel Brown who advised the attendees to do all they could to raise public awareness in readiness to respond to Definitive Map Orders when they are published. Any objections would have to be made based upon challenging the legal evidence presented by the TRF and not around the suitability of these bridleways to support vehicular traffic. There have been previous instances of decisions made by the Secretary of State being overturned.

The meeting was informed that an ASBO has already been issued against a motorcycle rider who has frequently used Bottom Lane.

The Chiltern Society representative stated that as far he was aware that these bridleways had been farm tracks, used for driving cattle and sheep between local pastures and that no historic vehicular access had been established to-date. Bunn’s Lane in particular was too steep to have been used even by a horse and cart.

In the event that the bridleways were designated as BOATS, there is the option of lobbying BCC to place a Traffic Regulation Orders on the bridleways prohibiting their use by vehicular traffic.

A resident of Bottom Lane stated that the only reason that there was evidence of tarmac at the northern end of Bottom Lane was because it had been used as backfill when the sewage and gas pipes were installed along bottom lane some years ago. This undermines the TRF claim that Bottom Lane was ever tarmaced for any substantial portion of its length.

The local residents raised concerns about

1.The risk to personal safety of pedestrians (especially children) using the bridleways alongside motorcycles.

2.The disturbance of active Badger sets along Bottom Lane and straddle Bunn’s lane which are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act of 1992. This essentially protects badgers from persecution and ill-treatment, whether intentional or not.

3.Emergency Service access, particularly ambulances to the site of a vehicular accident along these bridleways.

4.The lack of any ability for two 4 X 4 vehicles to pass one another along any the bridleways. (In reality a motorcycle will have difficulty passing a pedestrian safely in many places).

5. The safeguarding of Toothwort (a rare hedgerow plant which is protected under the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations) that is to be found along Bottom Lane.

6. Central Government making decisions about a local issue without even visiting the area to test the logic of such a decision.

7.The risk of damage to sewage and gas pipes that run along the length of Bottom Lane just below the surface.

Local residents requested that a further dedicated meeting be organised as soon as the Definitive Map orders were published.

Some of the local residents have lived in Chesham for well over 25 years and not one of them could recall these bridleways being use by vehicular traffic other than being illegally used by motorcycles.

Finally, the attendees were urged to keep a record of any illegal use of these bridleways by vehicular traffic that could be used to support objections.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I was also at the Environment Group report last night and it was heartening to see the level of support from all walks of life - fair play to the one person who announced his support for the BOAT's. It was very brave of him and he certainly seemed interested in all the comments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Perhaps I'm being thick, but horses and pedestrians don't generally mix with motor vehicles of any kind, easpecially when there is mud and vegitation, perhaps the government should under write this, because I see little sign of any real risk assesment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Perhaps I'm being thick, but horses and pedestrians don't generally mix with motor vehicles of any kind, easpecially when there is mud and vegitation, perhaps the government should under write this, because I see little sign of any real risk assesment.

A copy of the report from Defra which overturned Bucks CC's ruling is now available on Bucks CC website.

The approvals were made 'on the basis of probability' and the author freely admits that he has not seen fit to visit the sights to assess their suitability, having only taken into account the evidence of the TRF applicant and looked at Bucks CC's report.

I have seen copies of the applications made by the TRF and they contain numerous inconsistencies.

There will be a further meeting at Chesham Town Hall to discuss this ruling at a future date.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

To update you on recent developments, the Action Group has been formed it is called Action for Bridleways of Chesham (ABC). It has 5 committee members currently, although we are presently inviting a 6th committee member to join us.

Our committee members are from the Chiltern Society Rights of Way Group, Environmental Group and the Chesham Society and we are all local residents.

We are currently researching all historical documents to ascertain if there is any evidence to prove or disprove Defra's decision to upgrade these Bridleways to BOAT's.

We have contacted the Badger Trust and they have visited the Badger setts on Bunn's Lane and have confirmed that they will be writing a report in support of our opposition. They will also be checking the setts on Bottom and Trapps Lane. We have also contacted the British Horse Society and are awaiting their response.

Anyone wishing to contact ABC to join the members list can e-mail: cheshamboats@btinternet.com.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Newsletter of the Action for the Bridleways of Chesham

Number 1 December 2006

This is a copy of the newsletter that has been sent to all our member's which will give all who read it a recap of our information.

Since the meeting of the Chesham Environment Group on November 30th when so many of you expressed concern about DEFRA’s overturning of Bucks County Council’s decision not to upgrade (or should we say downgrade) Trapps Lane, Bottom Lane and Bunn's Lane to BOATs (Bypaths Open to All Traffic) things have been moving on.

We are still awaiting the publication of the Order that will trigger the 6 weeks in which we can express our objections. We expect this sometime in the middle of January. Meanwhile the Steering Group has been carrying out investigations as to what grounds we have for objection. Chesham Town Council unanimously agreed to hold a Public Meeting within two weeks of the Orders being published. The meeting will be at the Town Hall and hosted by the Mayor, the date will be advertised in the local press and everyone on this email list will be informed of the details.

For those involved in further historical research, there has been a steep learning curve becoming familiar with the Finance Act of 1910 and many levels of maps (Ordnance Survey and others) issued in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Interpreting these maps has been an intriguing experience, rather like detectives looking for clues as to what they really show.

We have also contacted present and past landowners whose land the lanes run through or by. Contracts, minutes of meetings of the Town Council and other similar sources have been searched.

Contact has been made and help given from a number of local and national organisations including Chesham and District Bridleways Association, CPRE, Bucks Badger Group, Bucks County Museum Biological Records, Bucks County Records Office, Topnotch, Chesham High School Pony Club, Chesham Bois Parish Council, Friends of Cowcroft and the Chesham Society as well as a number of individuals. We would like to express thanks especially to the staff at Chesham Town Council for their help in searching records.

So where are we so far? As the decision will inevitably be on the basis of probabilities (were the lanes ever used for vehicular traffic – who can be really sure?) the evidence we have uncovered can never be definitive but we believe we have made a lot of progress. Without giving away too much of our hand we believe that what we have discovered so far shows the following:

Trapps Lane – this was almost certainly not used for public vehicles

Bottom Lane – it is highly improbable that this was so used

Bunn’s Lane – there seems no evidence that it was ever so used and it was unlikely that it was.

We are still looking for further evidence and if you know of anyone or anything which can help please let us know. Even if you believe that the evidence is for the use of traffic we’d like to know – we are trying to find the truth and don’t want to expend effort on the wrong arguments. It should not be forgotten that there may be objections to the Secretary of State’s decision not to upgrade Bridleways 1B, 2B Ashley Green, Bridleway 51C known as Flamstead Farm Road and Green Lane, so any evidence additional to that already considered by BCC and the Secretary of State may be very helpful.

If you would like to read the original reports and the Secretary of State’s decision letter, they can be found on the following pages:

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/get//assets/...sion_letter.pdf

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/cabinet_papers/c...0916_agenda.htm

The procedure for objecting is outlined at:

http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/content/inde...entid=348688503

Contact Mel Chapinal Tele: 778325 E-mail: cheshamboats@btinternet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

For anyone who is interested, there is a Town Council Meeting at Chesham Town Hall on Wednesday 25th April at 7pm.

This meeting will allow all interested member's of the public to air their views and will also include details of who, where and when to write to if you wish to either support or object to Defra's decision.

The ABC group will also provide template letters for anyone who wishes to object, as any objections have to be based on historical evidence and not sentiment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0