The result of the Ramblers so called ‘Lost Paths’ campaign is now revealed, in typical vitriolic manner, but even I was sickened and shocked by the staggering number of 49,000 miles they have announced Adding insult to injury the Ramblers are asking for the help of people who have scant knowledge of PROW and the complex process involved.
The law is so ludicrous that it allows paths to be claimed through someones living room, and I suspect that that some of those 49, 000 miles will be through private gardens, schools, farm yards and through houses, as the Ramblers Organisation are relentless in their pursuit.
There is already a huge backlog of applications to add or divert rights of way in every county, which at the current rate of processing will already take 30 years. Somerset is number 2 in the league table with 343 applications stuck in the system, with an average processing time of 10 per year.
I just cannot comprehend that the government is truly so short sighted and hope that the Ramblers extreme campaign will work against them. Potentially 10s of 1000s of home owners now face ludicrous claims for paths (which if they ever were public paths) have long since been abandoned. These paths, not only cross motorways, go through school yards, housing estates and commercial property, but will cause untold misery for the land owners and thousands of pounds of public funds.
Most of these vexatious claims will eventually fail. Many of them will certainly cause objections to be lodged and the inquiries generated will cause saturation workload for council employees possibly leading to the complete collapse of the already corrupt and creaking system. All this for little or no benefit to the general public.
The Ramblers, Open Spaces Society and other user groups have already had over 70 years to put the record straight, to correct errors made by Parish Councils, yet they demand access based upon an Ordnance Survey mapping system that was never intended to show public rights of way.
I do hope the Government will not bend to this blatant PR attempt to stop closure of historic claims in 2026.
I would suggest that the bringing in of the Deregulation Act AND making it retrospective would go a long way to avoiding expensive heart ache for those impacted by the scattergun applications already in or about to emerge.
I know that my opinions and thoughts are shared by many of those affected and indeed by prominent people both in the government and House of Lords. Many of the members made their views known concerning access issues in the recent Agricultural debate.
I note that on the Ramblers map of intended claims for Norfolk there is a big blue splodge right over this area! I would lay bets that many of the claims will be on Estate and farm land around Thompson and Merton.
This is an impending disaster on all levels.
Sent from my iPad