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Agenda Item No

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									                                                         Agenda Item No. 6(d)
Rights Of Way Committee

25th February 2008

Highways Act 1980 Section 119

Plaistow: Proposed Diversion of part of Footpath 621

Report by Director for Environment & Development


 Executive Summary
 A request for the diversion of part of public footpath 621 has been received from the
 owners of Sparrwood Farm, Plaistow. The path passes through the derelict farmyard
 and close to the disused farmhouse. The owners are building a new larger house
 and extending the gardens in the vicinity of the path which, in its present position
 they consider, would have an impact on the privacy and security of their new home.
 They would like to divert the path to a more easterly field edge route away from the
 buildings. Beyond the farmyard there is a discrepancy between the definitive line
 and the route that has been used by walkers for some years. The Definitive Map
 records a line within woodland whereas the used route, over a substantial length, is
 on the field edge. The applicants would be willing to extend the diversion to include
 this unofficial route, which would legally secure a very pleasant and well used path
 for future use. Paragraphs 2.1 to 3.2 of this report refer.

 The application is made under the provisions of Section 119 of the Highways Act
 1980. Members are requested to refer to paragraphs 4.2 and 4.4 of the
 County Secretary’s “Guide to the Law for the Rights of Way Committee”.

 Conclusion
 It would be in the landowners’ interests for the definitive line to be removed from its
 present position close to their new house and from within the area that they plan to
 develop as garden. The definitive path has an effect on the security of the site at
 present and, it is reasonable to conclude, will have an effect on both security and
 privacy when the property is occupied. The proposed new route offers a good
 alternative that will link to bridleway 636 at a slightly more easterly point after
 taking a straightforward field edge route across attractive countryside. The proposal
 will also provide an opportunity to resolve a long outstanding anomaly on the
 definitive map and secure a very pleasant well used route for public use. (Paras 5 to
 6 of this report refer.)

 It is concluded that the relevant tests set out in Section 119 of the Highways Act
 1980 have been satisfactorily met.

 Recommendation
 That, following a reasonable period to allow the District Council to respond to the
 consultation and subject to consideration of that response, an order be made under
 Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980, to divert part of Footpath 621 and that the
 County Secretary be authorised to take all steps necessary to implement the
 proposal.
1.    Introduction

      An application for the diversion of part of footpath 621 at Sparrwood Farm,
      Plaistow has been made by Mr and Mrs David Lyons.

2.    Background

2.1   General Location and Description of the Definitive Route

      Footpath 621 runs south from its junction with Bridleway 636 on the access
      track leading to Sparrwood Farm. It runs between fields with banks and
      hedges on both sides. It passes to the east of a farm building before
      reaching the remains of the old farmyard where only one or two of the old
      farm buildings remain. Sparrwood Farmhouse is situated a short distance
      to the east of the path and is in a derelict condition.

      Continuing south and curving to the east, the path passes close to the
      remaining farm buildings and skirts around the garden from where there
      would be some direct views towards the new house. To the south and east
      of the buildings, the path runs along the southern edge of a narrow strip of
      pasture adjoining woodland known as Sparrwood Hangar. At the northeast
      corner of the field the definitive line enters the woodland and continues in a
      direct line north eastwards, through quite dense undergrowth, on a route
      that is not traceable on the ground. There is a steep cross-slope down to a
      gullied stream and no evidence on the ground or in records that the path
      has been walked on this line. Instead, a clearly waymarked and evidently
      well used route exists on the southern headland of pasture skirting along
      the northern edge of Sparrwood Hangar. The route passes through a
      further three fields with open access to accommodate the path where it
      crosses the hedge line. The path then enters the woodland and there is a
      well defined track leading down to a sleeper bridge over a stream, where
      the used route converges with the definitive line. The path continues north
      eastwards through woodland towards the village of Plaistow.

2.2   The Present Situation

      Sparrwood Farm is situated in a fairly remote location, more than a mile
      down an unsurfaced track from the public road. The farmhouse has been
      unoccupied for some time and is in a derelict condition. The applicants have
      recently purchased the farm and have obtained planning permission for
      demolition of the existing house and outbuildings and for the construction of
      a new replacement dwelling. The new house, which is to be their family
      home, is to be a substantial two storey house built in a traditional style and
      materials on a green oak frame. It is currently under construction on a site
      just to the north of the existing house and is programmed for completion
      towards the end of 2008.

      There are some direct views from the path towards the new house and the
      garden, which although not extensive, is to extend out to include the area
      crossed by the path. This means that the path will cross the new garden
      and is likely to have a considerable impact on the applicants’ privacy and
      enjoyment of their property.

3.    Proposal

3.1   In order to reduce the impact of the path on the privacy and security of
      their new home and garden, Mr and Mrs Lyons would like to divert the
      length of path which passes close to the buildings onto a more easterly
      route. It is proposed that the proposed path would leave Bridleway 636
      from a point some 120m east of its present junction. An improved gating
      arrangement will be provided to allow the new route to run south on the
      eastern headland of a grazing field adjoining woodland. A gap will be made
      in the hedge and a small plank bridge provided to allow the path to take a
      direct line south along the eastern field edge. Extensive views will be
      available across farmland especially to the south west, and the new house,
      with it’s traditional style, will be an attractive feature in the landscape.

3.2   On reaching the southeast corner of the field adjacent to Sparrwood
      Hangar, the landowners have undertaken to renew an old field gate to
      provide access for the proposed path to turn north eastwards on the
      southern field headland to follow the currently well used route. The
      opportunity to extend the diversion to include the formalisation of the used
      route is welcomed, ensuring that walkers will be able to continue to enjoy
      this pleasant and very straightforward field edge route.

3.3   The route to be stopped up

      From its junction with Bridleway 636 running generally south for
      approximately 390 metres to Sparrwood Farm, then curving east and then
      northeast along the southern edge of pasture for approximately 264metres.
      The route then enters Sparrwood Hangar and runs on a direct line northeast
      for 270metres to a point where a sleeper bridge crosses a ditch line.

3.4   The Proposed Route

      From a point on Bridleway 636 some 120 metres east of the existing
      footpath, running generally south, then curving slightly south east on an
      eastern field headland for approximately 296 metres. The route then turns
      northeast to run on a southeastern field headland with woodland to the east
      for approximately 542 metres to the northeast corner of the field. The
      proposed route enters woodland and, after approximately 58 metres,
      rejoins the length to be retained at the sleeper bridge.

4.    Consultations

      Chichester District Council and Plaistow Parish Council have been consulted,
      but their views not yet received. Members will be updated on this point at
      the meeting. The Ramblers’ Association advises that it has no objection to
      the proposed diversion at the farm buildings and welcomes the diversion
      onto the field edge route.
5.   The Grounds

     The application to divert part of footpath 621 is made in the interests of the
     landowners’ security and future privacy, which would be significantly
     improved if the path were to be diverted onto the field edge route to the
     east of the farm buildings.

6.   The effect the diversion would have on the public’s enjoyment of
     the path as a whole

     Once the necessary works to improve gates has been carried out, the new
     route will provide a straightforward and pleasant route across pasture with
     attractive views across surrounding countryside. It will allow walkers to
     avoid passing close to a private dwelling and garden. The diversion also
     provides an opportunity for the currently well used route around the fields
     to the east of the farm to be legally secured.

     This is a reasonable diversion, which would not be inconvenient or less
     enjoyable to users and would allow the outstanding discrepancy between
     the definitive map and the route used on the ground to be resolved.

7.   The costs and works necessary to implement the proposal

     The applicants have undertaken to bear the cost of making and advertising
     the diversion order together with any compensation which may become
     payable. They will also carry out all necessary improvements to the gates
     on the proposed route and provide a small ditch crossing at the point where
     the new path crosses a hedge. Waymarking will be adjusted to indicate the
     new route and the cost of the work charged to the applicant.

8.   Crime and Disorder Act 1988 Implications

     The effect of the diversion will be to remove the path from its present
     proximity to the applicants’ house and garden. The Sussex Police Crime
     Prevention Design Advisor has been consulted and any comments received
     will be reported at the meeting.

9.   The Human Rights Act, 1998 Implications

     Article 8 of the European Convention safeguards the respect for family life
     and home whilst Article 1 of the First Protocol concerns the non interference
     with the peaceful enjoyment of private property. Both rights are subject to
     conditions and interference with these rights may be permitted if the need
     to do so is proportionate.

     In this particular matter, the interests of those affected by the proposal
     have been fully considered as have the relevant considerations which may
     justify interference with particular rights. All of these are set out within the
     body of the report and are examined in the context of relevant planning
     considerations.
Kieran Stigant
Director for Environment and Development


Background Papers

a)   Letter dated 26 April 2006 from Smiths Gore to the Environment & Economic
     Policy Services Rights of Way Group.

b)   Letters of Consultation dated 30 January 2008 from the Environment and
     Economic Policy Service Rights of Way Officer to Chichester District Council,
     Plaistow Parish Council, The Ramblers Association and The Sussex Police;
     copied for information to The Open Spaces Society, The local County Council
     Member and the County Local Committee for the area.

c)   E mail message dated 5th February 2008 from the Ramblers’ Association to
     the Environment and Economic Policy Services Rights of Way Officer.

Contact: Judith Grimwood, ext. 77619

								
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