An application was received for a Map Modification Order (MMO) to add a public footpath between Woodhatch Road and Atherfield Road in Reigate.
It is considered that the evidence shows that a public footpath can reasonably be alleged to subsist over the route. As such a legal order to modify the definitive map and statement should be made.
Declarations of Interest: Ms Barbara
Thomson declared an interest. As divisional member she had
publically supported the applicant’s request and therefore
would abstain from the vote.
Officers Attending: Daniel Williams, Countryside Access Officer, SCC
Petitions, Public Questions and Statements: None
There were no speakers in support of the application.
Mr John English, Broadhaven Estates attended to speak in objection to the application and had three minutes to do so.
He made the following points:
Broadhaven Estates owned part of the land that the
path in question crossed.
It was believed that people had presumed because
Broadhaven Estates hadn’t physically stopped people using the
path it was a suggestion they were supportive of its use as a
public right of way.
· When Broadhaven Estates bought the land in 2013 they made their intention known to the planning authority that they planned to move the footpath from across their land to the edge.
After Mr English had spoken the Chairman noted that he had been made aware by the Countryside Access Officer that some of the points made by Mr English were new ones that had no previously been submitted during the consultation and could therefore not be considered by the committee when making their decision.
Mrs Pauline Young, the applicant attended the meeting and had three minutes to respond to the comments made by Mr English.
She made the following
Much of what had just been said by Mr English was
new information she had not previously heard before.
She had been using the footpath since the mid
1950’s and argued this was sufficient to establish it as a
right of way.
She noted that there was no objection to the new
footpath proposed by Broadhaven Estates but it was her
understanding that the right of way needed to exist in the first
place before it could be considered to be moved.
· The main reason for submitting the application was to ensure access to and from the estate remained as it was used daily by many people including school children attending Reigate School.
The Countryside Access Officer then introduced the report stating there had been no challenge to the usage until 2017 and the 20 year period of undisputed usage ran backwards from then to 1997.
Key points from the discussion:
The divisional member spoke on behalf of the borough
councillors who were unable to attend to indicate their support as
the path was well used by many people.
Some members expressed sympathy towards Broadhaven
Estates as at the time of making the planning application in early
2017 there was no right of way established or application until
· Members were advised that the introduction of a new path, the surface of the route in question and signage were irrelevant to the determination of the route being a right of way. As even without the path being surfaced and signed it could still exist as a right of way.
The local committee voted by a show of hands on the officer recommendations as below:
12 votes for
0 votes against, and
(The Chairman did not cast a vote)
therefore agreed that:
Public footpath rights are recognised over A-B-C on
Drg. No. 3/1/37/H83 (annex A) and that this application for a Map
Modification Order (MMO) under sections 53 and 57 of the Wildlife
and Countryside Act 1981 to modify the Definitive Map and Statement
by the addition of a footpath is approved. The route will be added
as Public Footpath No. 637 (Reigate).
ii. A MMO should be made and advertised to implement these changes. If objections are maintained to such an order, it will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for confirmation.
Reason for decisions:
The County Council has a duty under Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981) to modify the Definitive Map and Statement (DMS) if it discovers evidence which on balance supports a modification. In this instance the evidence of long and unhindered use supports the making of an MMO.