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Author Topic: Bridge over strande water  (Read 3027 times)
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2019, 02:57:05 PM »

I would have thought the Ramblers Association would have been on to it too. I wonder what happened to the Cookham Society?
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Paris
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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2019, 05:20:40 PM »

Apologies for the defeatist attitude, but if the farmer is the usual suspect, then it will all just turn into another bridleway 19 fiasco, which was bad enough on a track that did have a recognised right of way.

 I really do see this as a huge step in the wrong direction for the Cookhams.  There has always been a strong, healthy equestrian community, but over the past few years the 'lemon has been squeezed until the pips squeak' with so many much loved and viable facilities closing down.  It is increasingly apparent that the days of such a vibrant active part of our village are numbered.  Apart from a few die hards and the excellent livery in Strande Lane the equestrian lifestyle is pretty much gone, and reducing further the available off road hacking opportunities is quite likely to hit home as a nail in the coffin.  

I fully understand that landowners and farmers work hard for their livings, and it is quite correct that they wish to protect their investments and livelihood.  However, as far as I am aware, there hasn't been a problem with anyone riding around the edges of the fields and certainly those who do so are the type of people who respect and contribute to the countryside way of life.  So, in this instance a stable door is being shut before the horse has bolted.  Would it really have hurt to connect with riders and walkers before taking the drastic action of blocking the bridge?  Surely some sort of compromise could have been worked out, even if that meant perhaps purchasing a 'permit to ride' such as that used locally to great success a Windsor Great Park?   As things stand now, due to a petty and some would say selfish action, more riders, some of whom may not be as experienced at road riding, will be forced onto the roads, in turn leading to a higher risk of accidents, especially when you factor in the few aggressive and abusive drivers that got themselves a mention in a discussion on the previous message board.  Thankfully, however those people are in the minority and I think those who do ride on the roads would agree that the majority of drivers are extremely considerate, and for that us riders are very thankful and will do our best not to be too much more of a nuisance now our route to and from the village has been curtailed, leaving the roads as pretty much the only available option.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 06:04:40 PM by Paris » Logged
Kate
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« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2019, 08:34:01 PM »

I appreciate the disappointment, I felt exactly the same when our local open space was under threat and we had to dedicate a huge amount of time and effort to address the situation. Unfortunately emotion and narrative are not going to fix the problem, there is a defined legal framework for challenging your issue and only facts and due process will work; the landowner recognises this and has quite reasonably put the wheels in motion to protect his asset for his business/employees/family. It is going to take willingness, teamwork, community spirit and hard slog to get there. It's really up to all of the Cookham community whether they feel this is a cause worth pursuing.

I've done pretty much all I can to give you the information you need to make a legal challenge, the rest is up to all of you responding to this post on this forum. If you really feel strongly that this is an issue which should be addressed in the interests of the wider Cookham community then garner support from all the local bodies that you can and spread the workload. Good luck, and hopefully your combined efforts will give you the outcome you seek.
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Paris
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2019, 10:13:59 AM »

Well, that was a thread killing post if ever I saw one.

Basically, you are saying, 'I've told you what to do, so shut up and go away, there's no point in a discussion'.

So that is what I will do. I returned to the board with this subject because walking and riding in the beautiful open spaces of Cookham is something that a lot of people feel emotional about, if the discussion is killed because there's one way or no way, then what's the point of the board?
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CLIPPER
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2019, 11:51:50 AM »



Sadly - we are again having to fight for 'our' Corners of Cookham.  If this ''person'' gets away with this, they will be coming back for those previous 'applications' with the intent to change the face of Cookham forever !


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Cookham Society
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« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2019, 11:56:49 AM »

Lots of our members have reported that access has recently been blocked on a very popular footpath between Cookham Moor and Strand Water. The Cookham Society is very concerned about this and intend to identify who is responsible, why it was done and how it can be resolved legally.

At this point we can advise that it is a 'track' and not a 'right of way'. It joins footpaths 49 and 50 and forms a beautiful circular walk allowing easy access to Strand Water from the Moor Car Park for residents and visitors. As far as we know it has been in constant use for over 50 years without hindrance which makes its sudden closure without any apparent reason seem rather spiteful and unnecessary.

Unfortunately resolving a dispute like this is likely to take a long time - and a big tractor! We will keep you updated on any developments.

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Kate
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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2019, 05:21:14 PM »

Paris I simply answered the question you posed in your original post: "and how can we get it cleared?". Of course you can continue discussing it on here for as long as you wish, but if you are at all interested in the answer to your original question and/or actually doing something about it, then my posts should be of some value. You can of course ignore them completely - entirely up to you. No offence intended, just trying to help by sharing what I know.
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lizzyk
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« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2019, 05:54:00 PM »

I contacted Gerry Clark one of our Borough Councillors and he sent this back.

He says it not currently designated as a public right of way, it may be possible to claim it as such.

How to claim an unrecorded right of way

Introduction: Recording rights of way on the definitive map

Surveying authorities (county councils or unitary authorities, with the exception of inner London boroughs) are legally obliged to prepare and maintain a document called the definitive map.

The definitive map is the official record of the publicís rights of way in an area. Just like the deeds to a house prove who the owner is, the definitive map proves that the public has a right to use the paths which are shown on it.

By claiming a right of way we mean getting it recorded on the definitive map. Once a right of way is on the definitive map itís easier to protect it and ensure it can be enjoyed by walkers.

How do rights of way get recorded on the definitive map?

Surveying authorities are responsible for keeping their definitive map up to date, but they canít just change it as and when they please Ė they have to follow a legal procedure.

A right of way can be put on the definitive map as a matter of course if it was created by a legal agreement or order, but not all rights of way come into existence like this.

The public using a route over a period of time can establish a right of way. Also, there are hundreds of historic rights of way which are yet to be formally recorded, having been wrongly left off the first definitive maps in error when they were drawn up in the 1950s and 1960s.

To get a right of way recorded on a definitive map itís necessary to apply for a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO).

The grounds on which a right of way claim can be made

A right of way can be claimed on the basis of user evidence (i.e. that the public has established a right of way by using a defined route over a period of time), or documentary evidence (i.e. based on historical documents such as Enclosure Awards or other old maps), or a combination of the two.

Claiming a right of way using user evidence

In order to make a claim for a right of way based on public use, the law (section 31 of the Highways Act 1980) requires that youíre able to show all of the following:

A period of at least 20 yearsí uninterrupted use by the public. This is counted backwards either from the date when the publicís right to use the way was called into question (for example, when somebody locked a gate across the path) or, if the public's right to use the path hasnít been called into question, from the date of your DMMO application.
Use must be 'as of right', which means without secrecy, force, or the express permission of the landowner. But there's no need for the public to have believed it was a right of way they were using, or for the landowner to be aware that public use was taking place, provided he could be aware of it if he chose to look, i.e. not by stealth.
Use must be by the public at large, not just certain tenants or employees of an estate.
Use must follow a linear route.
In some circumstances it may be possible to establish a right of way on the basis of use by the public over a period less than 20 years under common law.

Claiming a right of way using documentary evidence

Sometimes a combination of old documents will show that a right of way exists. The law says a right of way can only be extinguished (permanently closed) through a legal process. This means that a right of way which came into existence a long time ago and is no longer visible on the ground still legally exists Ė and may be claimed Ė provided it's never been formally extinguished.

Before you start doing lots of research and hard work investigating archives, it's worth checking with the surveying authority whether the right of way you're claiming has been extinguished by a legal order. Any evidence of right of way status before an extinguishment order will have been invalidated by that extinguishment.

To prove that a right of way came into existence at some time in the past you'll need to rely on documentary evidence like old maps and Enclosure Awards. The Rights of Way Review Committee (of which weíre a member) has produced guidance which explains the different types of documentary evidence, and the weight such evidence carries, and explains how to go about finding it.

Sometimes documentary evidence will be sufficient in its own right to prove that a right of way exists, but itís worth bearing in mind that documents may be open to more than one interpretation. If thereís been recent public use of the right of way you're claiming, it's worth submitting this evidence of use as well.

How to claim an unrecorded right of way
How to apply for a Definitive Map Modification Order
« Last Edit: July 23, 2019, 05:55:47 PM by lizzyk » Logged
aj
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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2019, 01:15:08 PM »

This is helpful information. However there seems to be an odd coyness about identifying the landowner. It is neither libellous nor slanderous to name the landowner, (as this is a material fact),  provided aspersions on their character or motives are not made, so would someone kindly identify the person or persons who own this land. I should be clear we need to take the position that a third party may have blocked the path; we cannot accuse the landowner until and unless they publicly confirm their actions. It is also clear that - if the council are correct - technically at this stage they are within their rights to block the path and we must accept that as a starting point.

It might then be possible to make direct representations on behalf of the community to this person, not to mention discuss the issue more widely e.g in the press - newspapers like the Guardian may be interested in the story as a general interest piece highlighting the clash between landowners and the community.

I do not know how we might move forward with the process discussed by Gerry Clark and unfortunately I don't come from a legal background, but we may be able to collectively gather the required support material here in this forum and then request that the council give it due consideration. Of course I am aware that the council are also understandably wary of sharp pointy-toothed and expensive lawyers on the other side, which is why resolving this issue amicably would be infinitely preferable to an adversarial approach - there's clearly strong feelings on both sides here, I imagine. But I think we need to start by identifying who owns this land, to be clear as to the person or persons with whom we will have to negotiate, either directly or with the aid of the council.

Incidentally, for the record, I duly certify as a statement of fact that I have, personally, crossed this bridge as a walker on at least two dozen occasions during the time I have lived in Cookham, which is from October 2004 onwards.

Furthermore I state for the record that at no time did I observe any signs indicating in any way that the right of way was anything other than a permitted path accessible to the public, nor did I at any time observe any structure, or any other encumbrance, to the bridge crossing that would indicate otherwise.

It may be worthwhile collecting a series of declarations here regarding this, as I note from the council summary under the section 'Claiming a right of way using user evidence' that at least 20 years uninterrupted use is required to be proven. I can certainly prove uninterrupted use for the last 15 years, so we would need some further testimony from other contributors in order to confirm this.

Obviously should this be required to be presented formally to the council then I will put this in writing, but at this stage it might be useful to see what evidence we might gather - James - we need you today I think to help us out, this could be your moment of glory for Cookham  Smiley
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 01:22:41 PM by aj » Logged
aj
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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2019, 01:36:47 PM »

Guardian article on the automatic extinguishment of pre-1949 paths

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/25/countdown-begins-to-prevent-loss-of-thousands-of-footpaths-and-alleyways

this is deeply concerning as obviously around Cookham a lot of land is privately owned e.g by the Copas family and while they have been excellent in permitting access, nonetheless, we cannot count on their successors taking such a benign attitude. This means that we probably should take this opportunity to determine which paths are not officially recorded, because otherwise in a few years time we may find ourselves confronting barbed wire and gates everywhere. We've already seen this sort of thing with the owners of the pink house on Quarry Wood Rd erecting rolls of barbed wire around their property and constructing a huge fence at the bottom of the hill - this seems now to have been torn down by someone but the barbed wire remains higher up - and while in this case we're not talking about public access, anything that encourages landowners to erect barriers will soon lead to more of this sort of hideous desecration of one of the most beautiful corners of England.
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aj
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2019, 01:41:39 PM »

It looks like we should liaise with these folks

http://www.restoringtherecord.org.uk/index.htm

and they have a book available on how to do the necessary research. I will purchase a copy and have a read.

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lizzyk
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2019, 02:26:46 PM »

Gerry Clarkís article did mention proof of the path being used over a period of time in general. I wonder if anyone has any photos to back it up?
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Kate
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« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2019, 02:59:45 PM »

You shouldn't need to spend vast sums on legal expertise, much of the leg work can be done yourselves. You'll probably need a magistrate or similar to sign off your evidence. Most authorities have specific forms for applying to have a route added to the definitive map, those for RBWM are here:
https://www3.rbwm.gov.uk/info/200215/rights_of_way/469/public_rights_of_way_forms/2

I would join with the Cookham Society and/or Parish Council and any other recognised bodies to share the workload and make the application as effective as possible. The weight of the evidence is crucial.

Please feel free to tell me to stop if you already have all of this under control!
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« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2019, 12:51:20 AM »

Anthony Hurst, Rights of Way Officer has sent this:

The path is not recorded as either a public right of way or a permitted path.
 
I have arranged to meet with Mark Christie of Taylor Made Stables on Friday to discuss this matter further.
 
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TaylorMadeLiveries
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« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2019, 09:18:06 AM »

Hi guys. Lou and I own part of the path land and summerleaze own part. No idea who the new tenant is but I don't think it matters. Tenants dont have any actual power or authority on this sort of thing so I wouldn't bother dealing with them. As for taking your access on trust, I think that would be a mistake. If you think you have a right of access, fight for it or you will loose it. The world moves on, new generations take over and you can't depend on trust. And yes I'm meeting Anthony on friday for an update. If you want more info give me a shout I'm happy to have a chat
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 09:19:44 AM by TaylorMadeLiveries » Logged
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