Says Naomi Smith
It is all too possible to round a corner on horseback and come upon a group of cattle with no prior warning -this WILL result in a horse being badly spooked at best, bolting at worst -it is only a matter of time ........... read more
Maureen Comber writes to Mark Weston, BHS Director of Access
"- It is now clear that Lynn Peterson is to remove me as Hampshire County Bridleways Officer either by the spurious statement that my ability to communicate with HCC is compromised by the misuse of HCC's 's HH 'unreasonable complainant behaviour policy', or by deliberate misinterpretation of two articles on the website www.horseytalk.net.
- It also appears that you are misinformed with regard to a third article which I am supposed to have removed. As I have previously explained I have not requested any articles to be removed and have no control over what is published, so please either identify the offending article or do not mention it again because as far as I am concerned your information is false.
- Why then are the BHS so keen to 'work with' the lawless local government and quangos rather than support it's volunteers who have been seriously disenfranchised and obstructed for far too long by Hampshire County Council's false information, failure to disclose the correct documents and abuse of office?
- I have just received the minutes of the last County meeting and note that I have already been removed from my post as CABO by the officers at HQ. I find it lamentable that this has been done before my reply has been received. I would like to know please how the BHS intend to support me as an Access Officer for the North East if they cannot support me as CABO? "
Writes Maureen Comber
Director of Access
The British Horse Society
7th July 2014
Thank you for your letter dated 27th June 2014 and your most recent email of 4th July.
It is now clear that the proposed resolution by Lynn Peterson is to remove me as Hampshire County Bridleways Officer either by the spurious statement that my ability to communicate with HCC is compromised by the misuse of HCC's 'sHH 'unreasonable complainant behaviour policy', or by deliberate misinterpretation of two articles on the website www.horseytalk.net.
It also appears that you are misinformed with regard to a third article which I am supposed to have removed. As I have previously explained I have not requested any articles to be removed and have no control over what is published, so please either identify the offending article or do not mention it again because as far as I am concerned your information is false.
I thank Claire for her clarification of the role of the trustee board and would say that removing a volunteer from post for whatever reason is a matter of governance rather than management. You will no doubt recall that I was myself a member of the Board for three years until Management considered I could not stand again because I was too old. A clear case of age discrimination! I noticed though that not long afterwards the CEO 'retired', I wonder why? He certainly was'nt too old.
The two web references you have provided refer to the proposals for Yateley Common and the Committee meetings which Bob, I and others attended in Winchester on behalf of our members and the wider equestrian community. In one email which had been addressed to you, I asked nine questions of the BHS. None of these were answered or addressed either directly or through the web site.
This of course was after I contacted you by email on 2nd September 2013 in respect of the position stated by the LGO, which you had encouraged both Bob and myself to pursue even though it was a case of revisiting the problem. Again I had no reply from you.
It is indeed lamentable that despite questions being asked, no reply from the Board or anyone is forthcoming, and nothing is said until at some future date we are accused of criticism in an open forum. Firstly, I would say that this was a direct challenge to the BHS to reconsider its position and support its members; secondly I would ask, since when has the BHS been a secret Society which apparently is closed to questions, challenge even criticism? How can it be open, transparent and accountable if this is the case?
The BHS must understand that these matters are not personal to me and that they directly affect horse riders in Hampshire and elsewhere. Some are members of the BHS and I am sure many others would be, if they could see that the BHS will indeed support its members and volunteers rather than try and defend the indefensible.
Since I cannot be sure how much information has been communicated to the Board of Trustees for consideration, perhaps it would help if I set out as briefly as possible what the main problems are, apart that is, from a perennial apathetic attitude to maintenance and obstructions of bridlepaths in Hampshire County.
1. You are aware, having come well prepared to the Public Inquiry to fight off the fencing of Padworth Common, that it is but one of hundreds that are being fenced on application by Wildlife Trusts, through Local Councils and funded by Natural England.
These applications fly in the face of centuries of commons legislation which emphasises Parliament's intention that these should be open, unfenced and uncontrolled spaces. As stated by Lord Nicholls in 2001 "What happens on the commons is also of wider importance. Commons have considerable amenity value. Increasingly, what happens on the commons is a matter of general public concern. They are the last reserve of uncommitted land in England and Wales. They are an important national resource."
2. Only those actively engaged in farming may make application under the HLS schemes, so the law is yet again being broken by these government bodies and quangos, as none can claim to be farmers per se. The simple fact is that Parliament and the Courts are being circumnavigated in this fashion.
3. Since fencing and gates present at best a nuisance or at worst an obstruction to horse riders, disenfranchising them from access from any point, as stated in the second of the horseytalk articles which you referred me to, quote from Sarah Manchester. "www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/access/openaccess/faqs). Section 193 access is area-wide access, and the legislation does not provide for the definition/registration of specific access points."
Why then are the BHS so keen to 'work with' the lawless local government and quangos rather than support it's volunteers who have been seriously disenfranchised and obstructed for far too long by Hampshire County Council's false information, failure to disclose the correct documents and abuse of office?
Hampshire County Council say:
The BHS know that this is false information. The Land became registered common land when the Hampshire County Council withdrew the case from the Court of Appeal on 24th May 1978. The Commons Commissioners 1974 decision was sealed on 18th December 1978.
There is more than one commoner stated in the decision of the Chief Commons Commissioner.
"As previously stated the 80 acres has ceased to be registrable common land, and therefore the authorisation would be outside the Secretary of States jurisdiction."
The BHS know that this is false. As stated above the land became registered immediately the case was withdrawn, under s.7 CRA 1965. Hampshire County Council as the registration authority have simply removed it from the register without any authorisation from the Secretary of State.
"As the fencing is not on common land there is no requirement for an application to erect fencing."
The BHS knows that all the land was to be registered according to the decision of the Chief Commons Commissioner. The Consent Order for the dismissal of the case from the Appeal Court, states in the Schedule to the agreement made between the parties, that Hampshire County Council will support any application made for the fencing. An application that has never been made. The simple reason being that the local neighbourhood objected to the fencing apart from the commoners of course.
The BHS knows this to be the case and has a lever arch file of the evidence.
It also knows of the nine Public Inquiries which have taken place over the years as we tried to improve access on the common for horse riders. The first three applied for by Hampshire County Council to try and regularise the line of the bridleways which had been obstructed by the unauthorised fencing. The next four by me claiming the main tracks as bridleways to make circular routes on the common. The last two by Hampshire County Council who had objected to their own Order for a bridleway thus causing another Public Inquiry. This was followed by a Judicial Review application by myself after which the Inspectors decision was quashed and withdrawn. Hampshire County Council insisted on yet another PI. After that decision went against us my barrister advised we did not JR again but look more closely at the strange circumstances surrounding the registration of Broxhead Common.
So why is the BHS not helping to get this matter heard in the High Court where it belongs as a relator action? It is a matter which has caused me hours of work and research, while local horse riders have over the years despaired and moved to France amongst other places.
I have just received the minutes of the last County meeting and note that I have already been removed from my post as CABO by the officers at HQ. I find it lamentable that this has been done before my reply has been received. I would like to know please how the BHS intend to support me as an Access Officer for the North East if they cannot support me as CABO?
If you support Maureen Comber
If you disagree with the shocking way she has been treated
If you are having second thoughts about the BHS and the way they treat their members
Says Linda Wright
We moved to a Shropshire location a year ago having surveyed the local OS map and noted the significant number of bridleways around the property. Sadly the map appears a total fiction. Scarce any of the bridleways are usable ........... read more