Lately there has been a huge increase in claims by access groups all wanting a ‘bite of the cherry’. Trouble is they have difficulty in agreeing with each other!
Ramblers protect the ‘rights’ of walkers, The British Horse Society think that horse riders should take precedence Cyclists demand that they should be catered for, motorbike riders think they are hard done by and 4×4 off-roaders want more Byways Open to All Traffic.
They are all focused on claiming FOOTPATHS!
Ramblers want any FOOTPATHS they can grab, including those that might have existed a hundred plus years ago and now inappropriately go through small and private gardens.
Horseriders suddenly see a huge need for extra bridleways and want FOOTPATHS upgraded to Accommodate them.
Cyclists see a need for more cycle paths and also see no reason why FOOTPATHS shouldn’t cater for them too.
4×4 Off Roaders feel hard done by. No one understands that they have just as much right to peruse their hobby the same as everyone else. Consequently they also want FOOTPATHS upgraded to Byways Open to All Traffic.
Ramblers do not want Cyclists on their FOOTPATHS!
Cyclists are against Motorbikes sharing their FOOTPATHS!
Horseriders are not keen on Cyclists using their FOOTPATHS
Motorbike riders Do not see why they shouldn’t use FOOTPATHS!
And NO ONE seems to agree that 4×4 Off Roaders should be using FOOTPATHS AT ALL!
If FOOTPATHS are allowed to be claimed or upgraded with absolutely NO consideration of the consequences this is sheer stupidity.
Yet another stupidity of our Public Rights of Way system is that it actively encourages ‘claimers’ to not only be dishonest but also break the law. The law states that cyclists cannot use Pubic FOOTPATHS ( unless they have been designated as part of a cycle trail) However Cyclists UK states the following;
“ If enough cyclists and/or other users such as equestrians use a footpath in this way without the landowner challenging them for (usually) 20 years,then a bridleway or a restricted byway may be claimed through ‘presumed rights’ under s31 of the 1980 Highways Act.”
Peddars Way is predominantly a FOOTPATH. A small section, near Thompson, encompasses Cycle Route 13. On this section Motorbikes and Horses are NOT allowed. It is neither a BOAT or a Bridleway (yet!!)
There is, however, frequent evidence of such use!
Very often, at an enquiry to determine the status or otherwise of a route. ( Private or Public) the Inspector will quote “Some of the objections raise concerns over issues such as the effect of recording a public right of way on privacy, dog fouling, litter problems and anti-social behaviour, suggesting that a public footpath is unnecessary and expressing concern over increased liability, maintenance responsibility and expense for landowners.
None of these are matters which are relevant to my consideration of this order.”
Suggestions that the route in the order could be improved by changing its line cannot be considered at an inquiry into a modification order.The condition of the way and its suitability, or otherwise, for motor traffic are not relevant factors.
The implications for such as private households and farmers are immense. With no consideration of Health and Safety, Public Rights of Way can go through working farmyards or even criss cross fields where the farmer is trying to make a living. Dogs also can be off lead in a field of sheep. Access from footpaths accounts for a considerable amount of sheep worrying, death and loss of livelihood.
Privacy for people’s own enjoyment of their own garden is also irrelevant! Very difficult to believe or make any sense of!