Cradle Lane - The Map Row contd.
It is the County Council's duty to maintain the map and correct it where evidence shows it to be inaccurate!
Says Maureen Comber to Emma Noyce, Senior Map Review Officer, Countryside Service, Culture, Communities and Business Services, Hampshire County Council
In a previous email you said, "However, it was noted that the County Council did not have sufficient evidence with which to proceed with the prohibition of 2-wheeled Vehicles." In fact I have provided you with that evidence from the 1857 Inclosure Awards for Binsted which quite clearly show the extent of public highway set out under the Act. It was supplied to help HCC make an informed decision with regard to a TRO. As to correcting the Definitive Map and Statement perhaps that would be a cheaper way than making and maintaining a TRO, but that is a decision for Councilors to make.
As you are aware of the County Council's duty to maintain the map, and correct it where evidence shows it to be inaccurate, it is now up to HCC and/or the Objectors to provide the evidence that the path as set out in the Inclosure Awards, from The Hatch at AB to the C102 can in fact be any higher status than a Restricted Byway.
Given the obvious need for a TRO which has been under discussion since at least January 2009, I would have thought it not unreasonable for HCC to address the matter of its mistaken status. If the mistake occurred anywhere it was during the 1980's when HCC decided to reclassify RUPPS to BOATS. Cradle Lane used to be a RUPP. Local residents in no way regard the present approach as positive because it is not just about preserving the newly restored surface but protecting the lane and the people who would otherwise enjoy it, from the hoards of motor cyclists who might use it through the summer months. I am sure your department is well aware of this problem in other parts of Selborne Ward. In any case the last few summers have been as wet as the winter months and it can in no way be guaranteed that no damage from mpv's would not occur then.
With respect to an observation team, they did not prove themselves of much use in getting the lane repaired, although I was several times informed they were keeping an eye on its deteriorating state. In addition my recent report of the misuse of the lane by criminals was denied when reported, so I have no faith in that suggestion as part of the solution.
I have just received an email from Vicky saying that option 3 was chosen at the meeting on 12th January 2012, but the Chairman of Kingsley Parish Council tells me that he took no decision but simply gathered the information to take back to full council. As I have also pointed out in a previous email, as an adjoining landowner with an entrance on to the lane and therefore a personal interest, surely it is reasonable to hope that I should have been informed of that meeting and given an opportunity to attend? The two Councillors from Kingsley who attended the meeting tell me their attendance was to gather information to report back to the PC, which is something they have not yet had time to do. Therefore any decisions taken at the meeting on 12th January 2012, cannot and should not be endorsed.
In addition the email also says: " At the meeting it was agreed that Option 3 (above) would be an acceptable solution to all those present. In light of the above, it is now proposed to seek a permanent TRO against motor vehicles with three or more wheels to prevent further damage to the newly-repaired surface. A robust system of monitoring the condition of the lane will be put in place to accurately assess the impact of the other user groups on this lane to inform future reviews of the TRO." However in the email of 31st October 2011 below, it says: "The formal decision on how to proceed with this matter will be taken by the Executive Member for Culture and Recreation". There seems to be a contradiction in who ultimately shall take that decision, one says the meeting on the 12th January 2012 and the other the Executive Member. If it is the latter I hope she will be fully informed of all the evidence and the fact that the Parish Councilors were not in a position to agree any of the options put to them at the said meeting.
I sometimes wonder if HCC are aware of localism and reacting to the wishes of the community. It certainly does not appear so. Are the objectors to the TRO members of the local community or a special interest group?
Just to make sure that this message is understood I would please like to make an EIR request for the documentary proof that the extent of the vehicular public highway is different from that specified in the Inclosure Award.
Says Emma Noyce to Maureen Comber
An Act of parliament is indeed decisive unless it is repealed. As you will be aware, however, an extract of an Inclosure map is evidence of the effect that Act and must be taken in conjunction with all other available evidence. You will be very familiar with the time and expense spent pouring over enclosure maps and what they purport to show (as well as the surrounding documentation such as certificates which may or may not indicate whether or not what was shown on the map was carried through in practice, in accordance with the rules and regulations that the Act required). As you are well aware, very little in this area of work is as black and white as it may at first seem to be.
You will also be aware that the Definitive map is conclusive in what it shows, unless it is confirmed to be wrong through a formal modification process. The Planning Inspectorate is quite clear that, where an argument is made that the definitive map is not correct, and requires a right to be 'downgraded', it is not sufficient to show that there is evidence which disputes what the definitive map says, but there must be evidence which shows that an actual mistake was made in the preparation of the definitive map.
We are aware of the County Council's duty to maintain the map, and correct it where evidence shows it to be inaccurate. However, there is also a duty to determine applications made to amend the map. The County Council has (at least) a six year waiting list for applications to be determined, and a few hundred other examples where evidence has been discovered which may suggest the map requires amending. In such circumstances our normal policy is to concentrate resources on those cases which arise from formal applications, these being given priority.
For my part, I will certainly add your evidence to our 'potential' claims list so that, when resources are available, we may consider your evidence. However, I still recommend that to secure your place in our waiting list and to protect your position you consider making a formal application to modify the map, as is your statutory right.
I hope this answers your query. We are indeed pleased that though working with the Parish Council, Local Councillors and representatives of vehicular user groups, a positive approach is being taken.