A bridleway diversion is confirmed for a leading Equestrian Stud and a longstanding dispute about the path is finally resolved.

We are pleased to have resolved one of the longest dramas in rights of way history with the confirmation of a diversion of the bridleway at Quainton Stud at Lower Denham Farm, a highly successful equestrian enterprise, breeding and training horses for the Olympics, World and European Championships.

Initially called in to try to resolve the problem of implementing the details of a diversion order made by Buckinghamshire County Council, we discovered a problem with the Order.   It had failed to join the diverted route to the highway, leaving a gap in the network.  We explored the options but finally it was agreed that a new Order would be required which has now been confirmed without objection.

Just quite how well the bridleway has or will be used by equestrians is debatable, though, as this is the busy road that the route joins with no immediate onward bridleway for use.

Part of the solution involved removing this recent flower bed and the granite sett edging which the Council regarded as a trip hazard for horses…  The gate in the picture was also removed.

In the course of investigating the path, we discovered that it had a significant history.  There are a few key cases you need to know about in the arena of public rights of way.  One of these is definitely Regina v Secretary of State for the Environment ex parte Burrows and Simms.

The Simms family had owned Lower Denham Farm and were convinced that the Definitive Map showing the bridleway on the driveway was wrong.   As far as they were concerned, a mistake had been made and there was no right of way.  They thought that when Parliament introduced the Wildlife and Countryside Act in 1981 they would at last be able to seek to have the bridleway removed.

From their files at that time was this cutting from Farmers’ Weekly:

Unfortunately it was not quite that simple.  First they had to challenge and overturn the decision of the courts in a case called Rubenstein v Secretary of State for the Environment which had held that you could not challenge the Definitive Map, despite the new law.  They won their challenge but failed to achieve the Order to have the path removed.

An unofficial diversion had got around the practical problem for a number of years, but the threat of enforcement and the opening up of the driveway was real and had to be formally addressed.

The bridleway now has its own dedicated route, separate from the driveway, allowing the Stud to gate and control access to its property.

We have considerable experience dealing with public rights of way affecting equestrian properties so if you have a problem, get in touch and we will be pleased to help find a solution.

Contact Michael Wood – mw@etlandnet.co.uk or Coralie Wood cw@etlandnet.co.uk  if you have a problem or you can call us without obligation on 07796 958572 for an initial chat to see what we can do.

Or fill in the form and we will get back to you.


Revisiting some past cases – a claim for a public footpath in West Sussex defeated.

As part of our 10 year anniversary, we are looking back at some of our significant cases.

We are starting in West Sussex – a County where we have had great success and where we continue to pursue some important cases.

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When new gate posts and electric gates were erected on the drive to 5 private houses in Denne Park, Horsham, a campaign was started to record the driveway as a public footpath.  135 local residents completed user evidence forms claiming to have walked the route, with some saying they had done so since 1920.  Whilst accepting that some would have used the route, the landowners’ case was that there had been a sign at the entrance to the route, from at least 1959, stating that it was private with no public right of way.

Many of the users denied that there had been such a sign or that they had ever been challenged when using the route.  It was therefore important in preparing the case to find the evidence to prove the existence of the sign, and to tackle the issue carefully in cross examining the 24 witnesses called to support the case.

A number of sources for photographic evidence were sought from archive pictures through to the personal photographs of the previous landowner.  Although many did not show the wording on the sign, it was possible to see the fence to which it was attached in the background with the sign board visible from the rear.  Great care was taken in ensuring that the landowners’ case was presented comprehensively to cover this.

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After a three day public inquiry, the Inspector concluded that the landowners clearly demonstrated their intention not to dedicate the way to the public and that the claim should be dismissed.

The result allowed the landowners to secure the privacy and security of their properties.  There was always a risk that with so many people claiming to have used the route that the claim might succeed, so the careful preparation and presentation of the evidence was crucial in leading to this outcome.

We are now working nearby on a Special Diversion Order for the benefit of a School – you will read more about that on our blog as the matter concludes.

If you are facing a claim for a public right of way on your land and need help in fighting it please get in touch – email Michael Wood – mw@etlandnet.co.uk or call Michael on 07796 958572.  You can also complete the form below and check out what we do on www.etlandnet.co.uk

 

 

 

 


We are 10!

ET Landnet Limited was incorporated 10 years ago today.  Happy Birthday to Us!

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We’ve seen a few changes in that time.  The company has relocated its administration centre from the South East of England to Wales, whilst most of our work continues to be for existing and new clients in England.  The focus of our work has shifted from fighting claims to add rights of way to managing public path diversions for our clients.

We’ve enjoyed some notable triumphs, far more than we can cover in this one post, but we will be looking back over our projects in the coming weeks so keep checking our blog.

We go into our next 10 years with enthusiasm and anticipation that the long discussed changes to rights of way procedures will soon be in place.  It is worrying to note that we still have current projects which have been running for at least 10 years where councils have still to determine outstanding path claims.

So here are a few photos of some of the projects we have had the privilege to work on!

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Pitshill House, West Sussex – Our flagship diversion case.

This is part of the new route that takes the public away from the driveway.

Baydon House Farm, Wiltshire – The Diversion of two Bridleways for an Equestrian Business.

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Quainton Stud, Buckinghamshire – a long running bridleway problem finally resolved by a diversion.

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Little Rollright, Oxfordshire – still going after many years but moving towards a finalisation of diversion proposals.

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Ibstone, Buckinghamshire.  This is an ongoing diversion awaiting the introduction of the Right to Apply.

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Fawley Court, Buckinghamshire – we arrange an annual temporary diversion of a footpath for our client’s hospitality event

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We have worked on access improvements to secure diversions, and:

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…visited some lovely parts of the Country.

Whether it has been fighting claims in North Yorkshire or Kent, or diverting paths in the South East or North West, we have enjoyed working with clients and their professional advisers.

Always remember that you can call or email us for initial advice without obligation.

Call 0203 086 7657 or email mw@etlandnet.co.uk  See more at www.etlandnet.co.uk

Or use the contact form below:

 

<a href=”http://downloadclipart.org/f/birthday-cake-clip-art-for-10-year-286″>Clip art image by http://downloadclipart.org/</a&gt;


Inspector’s Decision concludes landowner’s changes to public access at Baydon House Farm, Wiltshire

A recent decision from the Planning Inspectorate confirming a bridleway diversion brought to an end a series of successful applications and interventions for the landowner at Baydon House Farm, Wiltshire.  These included resolving steps taken by the landowner to restrict vehicle access to prevent crime, the authorisation of a gate across a bridleway, the diversion of a bridleway out of a farm yard under planning law processes, and the diversion of a bridleway out of a garden.  Michael Wood of ET Landnet Ltd headed the team which successfully delivered the client’s required outcomes.

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(Above – the yard at Baydon House Farm that was part of the public bridleway until we successfully diverted it.)

In the process we presented at two committee hearings, acted as advocates at a public inquiry and dealt with the expert evidence, and settled the statements of case for a written representation procedure.

The end result is that the Farm now has no public rights of way on the Farm drive or through the yard, and the privacy of the house and the Farm cottages is immeasurably improved.  The operation of the equestrian enterprise can now be undertaken without the risks that come from unannounced public access so horses can be moved and trained in peace.

Here are some of the pictures…

A bridleway ran across the lawn of this cottage

A bridleway ran across the lawn of this cottage

This gate had to be legally authorised whilst the process of diverting the bridleway off the driveway was completed

This gate had to be legally authorised whilst the process of diverting the bridleway off the driveway was completed.

A section of bridleway ran between the wall and the outdoor school.

A section of bridleway ran between the wall and the outdoor school.

This is part of the new route that takes the public away from the driveway.

This is part of the new route that takes the public away from the driveway.

This is a section of the new bridleway that is enjoyed by local walkers.

This is a section of the new bridleway that is enjoyed by local walkers.

We naturally look back at the end of such a case with a high degree of satisfaction in the knowledge that the owner’s objectives for the Farm have been met.  We look forward to the next large project and solving our clients’ access issues.

You can call Michael Wood on 07796 958572 to discuss your access questions or email Michael at mw@etlandnet.co.uk


Autumn is a great time to start sorting out those public rights of way issues!

The so-so summer of 2016 is passing into history.  Team GB has inspired us all at the Olympics with the Paralympics set to give us even further impetus.

If you have a house or own or manage land which is affected by a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway, and have an alternative route that the path could take to improve your privacy, security or the management of that land, now is a great time to start planning.  The new right to apply rules are finally coming into play and will provide a fairer system for diversions to be considered and progressed, and the process should be quicker, too.

A diversion that removes the need for the public to use stiles improves the network

A diversion that removes the need for the public to use stiles improves the network and when a stile like this needs to be repaired, reduces the liability of the landowner too!

There are plenty of examples where path diversions succeed without objection, too.  They do not always attract objections and even where there may be initial reluctance, it is often possible to find a compromise.

As the new rules start to apply, we will be updating you through our blog – but in the meantime we have many cases sitting ready to go when we can overcome the reluctance of councils to make orders because of the costs they may incur if there are objections.

We are always happy to discuss diversion proposals – please feel free to call our Director Michael Wood on 07796 958572 or email Michael mw@etlandnet.co.uk  or fill in the form and we will contact you.


Path Diversions don’t have to take so long.

Towards the end of September 2015 I was driving back from visiting a new Estate in East Sussex when I took a call from a developer in the North West.

The problem sounded complex .  A bridleway and a footpath had a significant impact on a house being developed for a high profile individual.  The developer had believed the diversion would be problematic and time consuming and so a plan had been prepared to lower the level of the bridleway to lose it from view.  The longer term plan was then to divert the paths after the house was built.

Emails, plans, drawings and opinions were exchanged over the next month.  I visited the site towards the end of October.  Our team were ready to go.  But we couldn’t help thinking that changing the level was unnecessary and that the best bet was simply to press ahead with a diversion.

By Mid November we had agreed that was the right step and that the original wish to hide the bridleway should be abandoned, so with the agreement of the Council, we were able to undertake the pre-order consultation and in March this year the Council agreed to make a complex order for the diversion of the bridleway and the footpath.  We then drafted the Order.  With a few frustrating delays for Christmas, Easter and annual holidays, the Order was eventually confirmed in July.  Even with those delays, from start to finish the process was completed within 8 months.

 

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Rather than being excavated, this track is no longer a public right of way and will have no impact on the development of the site.

The result is:

Greater privacy and security for the new house being built on the site; and

A much nicer environment for riding and walking:

 

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A section of the new bridleway in open countryside.

There is no particular reason why diversions should take long to be dealt with.  Invariably it is because officers in councils have too many cases to process or councils have processes which cannot accommodate speedy decisions (such as infrequent committee meetings).  Allowing the applicant’s advisers to do the consultation and the drafting of orders saves time for the council.

We are pleased to be pursuing this model in Wiltshire now and look forward to the time when it is the normal way of dealing with matters.

As always we are happy to  help you achieve a diversion – call Michael Wood on 07796 958572 or email Michael on mw@etlandnet.co.uk


Footpath in your garden? – A diversion is the answer.

We have another confirmed diversion to report!  Our second confirmed diversion in Kent so far this year, reflecting that Kent is one of the counties where the Rights of Way Officers are realistic and get on with things (something some other authorities could learn from).  In both cases there were objections.  In one, the objection was withdrawn, and in the other, the matter was dealt with by written representations to an Inspector.

In the written representation case, the path ran through the garden of The Old Rectory at Alkham.  If you stood on the path this is what you would see:

 

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You would be standing on the parking area for the house.  It would be easy to wave to the owner if he was standing in the kitchen – this is the view of the parking area from the kitchen window.

Photo 6 - looking out from the kitchen window onto the drive and Footpath ER183

Of course the path then ran off across the lawn by the seat:

Photo 12(b) - Footpath ER183 running along the front lawn and close to the seat and table under the tree

 

And walkers could be easily viewed from the bedroom as they crossed the lawn.

Photo 7(c) - looking out of a bedroom window over the front lawn, garden and Footpath ER183

Some suggested that it did not impact on the property (which had been in the family for many years) and it was true that the diversion was not straight forward but we are pleased that the Inspector weighed our arguments and accepted that the diversion met the statutory tests and should be confirmed.

Another satisfied client for ET Landnet.

We are working on many such applications at the moment, all proceeding at various speeds, and we have several stacked waiting to be pursued when the new “Right to Apply” provisions take effect in July.  We will continue to carry out an initial assessment of any diversion proposal anywhere in England or Wales for our fixed fee of £500 plus VAT to give a realistic appraisal to the owner of occupier of land.

Call Michael Wood on 07795 958572 or email Michael at mw@etlandet.co.uk to find out more.

www.etlandnet.co.uk