Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
This item was taken first by the committee to allow the Senior Countryside Access Officer to leave the meeting early.
Declarations of interest:
Debbie Prismall, Senior Countryside Access Officer
Nancy el Shatoury, Principal Lawyer
Key Points raised during the discussion:
1. The Senior Countryside Access Officer briefly introduced the report explaining that the code of best practice in rights of way had been drawn up and based on the current planning code of best practice. The code clarifies what Members can expect from officers and the public from Members.
2. A Member of the Committee raised concerns around the delay with claims applications being processed. The Senior Countryside Access Officer explained that extra effort had been made to ensure that applications were dealt with in an efficient and timely manner. If a decision had not been made within 12 months the applicant had the choice of raising the matter with the Secretary of State. Officers did everything to ensure that contentious issues were properly investigated and so did not end up in the High Court.
3. There was concern around the wording used in paragraph 5.3 of the report regarding indicating the likely decision on an application. The Senior Countryside Access Officer explained that a thorough research process was undertaken at the beginning of any application to make a realistic decision as to whether or not a rights of way application should be approved. It was explained that the issue around avoiding indicating the likely decision on a procedure related to Members indicating decisions before they came to a Committee.
4. The Senior Countryside Access Officer explained that certain rights of ways were regularly cleared as part of an annual vegetation cut. The rights of way team would investigate all reports of obstructions or maintenance issues.
5. The Chairman asked for a refresher session on Rights of Way to be set up for Members of the Committee.
6. Members enquired on whether there was a short summary on best practice in rights of way for residents. It was explained that the local Committee web pages had details around rights of ways and information for residents on speaking on rights of way matters at Committee meetings.
Actions/Further information to be provided:
For a refresher session on Rights of Way to be set up for Members of the Committee.
The Planning and Regulatory Committee APPROVED the Surrey Code of Practice in Rights of Way Proceduresand commended it to Council for inclusion in the Constitution.
Publication date: 10/09/2014
Date of decision: 21/05/2014
Decided at meeting: 21/05/2014 - Planning and Regulatory Committee