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 – firstname.lastname@example.org or Coralie Wood email@example.com 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.
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