This article from the September 1995 issue of Kent Area News
describes a successful defence of a right of way that went to a
public hearing. Monitoring proposed changes to rights of way
and challenging them where appropriate is a key aspect of the work
of the Ramblers in Kent. Please join us to support this
Footpath Workers Celebrate a Victory
In record time, the Inspector appointed to decide upon 7 diversion proposals in the Parish of Ash in Dover, has issued his
On one major path, where an alternative permissive route had been waymarked by the KCC as part of the Stour Valley path, the Inspector refused to confirm the order which would have diverted the almost straight definitive line, on to a tortuous route involving no less than 6 changes of direction, all in order to get around illegally planted crops (an orchard).
He was unequivocal when he wrote, "the fact that fruit trees (of whatever vintage) as opposed to other crops form part of the obstruction is not a valid consideration for me".
He continued, "in comparing the definitive path with the diversion therefore, and
discounting the obstructions, I conclude on the evidence that the diversion would be substantially less convenient to the public."
The Inspector indicated that, although the public was using the permissive waymarked route (they had no option because the true line was blocked by trees), the extra walking distance and the "severe disruption of the natural line of this long established cross country route" were, in this case, paramount to the interests of the landowner.
The landowner stated that tree spraying might affect walkers on the definitive line, but the Inspector concluded that the landowner "must continue to take in account the existence of a public right of way across his land irrespective of its route."
Other welcome news in the report, was the modification of some orders to include the specification that the new rights of way were to be limited by stiles.
There has been a campaign to make the KCC include these limitations in their orders. Hopefully this report will bring about a change.