FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY ACCESS REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS PROJECT REF: DER 28 JUNE 2009 Derry City Council City Engineers Department 98 Strand Road Derry WB 10.06.09 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) CONTENTS 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Statement of Responsibility 1.2 Summary Case Outline 1.3 Location 1.4 Route Description 1.5 Map Evidence 1.6 Consultations 1.7 Land Ownership 2.0 Approach 2.1 Rationale Supporting a Public Right of Way 3.0 Recommendations 4.0 Appendices 2 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Statement of Responsibility Council has a statutory duty under the Access to the Countryside (NI) Order 19831 to identify, record and protect existing access opportunities along public rights of way. Council has also wide discretionary powers to help manage and maintain that access and to establish new access opportunities where they are needed. These powers and duties conferred under the Access Order are not available to any other body or organisation. Council formally adopted a Statement of Intent2 regarding access which allows actions to be identified that provide options and solutions to access problem areas. Council considers each case on its own merit and gathers detailed evidence in order to allow consistency in the decision making process and the application of agreed recommendations. The overall rationale for action comes from a combination of considerations including: a. The provision of a valuable and cost effective recreational resource relevant to the needs of a wide cross section of the local population. b. The enhancement of facilities so as to promote a positive image of the area. c. The full discharge of the Council’s statutory duties and the effective use of its discretionary powers under the Access Order. d. The striking of an equitable balance between the needs of the public and wider community benefits from access provision on the one hand and the concerns of residents and landowners on the other. The Statement of Intent is outlined in Appendix 1. 1.2 Summary Case Outline As part of ongoing investigations into the presence of Public Rights of Way in the Derry City Council area and in response to objectives endorsed by Council in the Derry-Londonderry Access Plan 2009-20143, this report aims to provide evidence for the assertion of a path between Craigavon Bridge (Grid Ref C 438 160) and its exit onto the Ballougry Road (Grid Ref: C 389 122) as a Public Right of Way under the Access to the Countryside (NI) Order 1983. The traffic free, 7 Km path follows the line of the former Great Northern Railway that was constructed in 1863 and resurfaced as a Cycle/Pedestrian path circa 2000. The line of the path diverts northwest from the railway corridor at Grid Ref. C 394 118 where it crosses land currently held by Council on a 25-year lease from a private landowner. 1 http://www.ehsni.gov.uk/access_countryside1983.pdf 2 ES238/07 3 ES44/09 3 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) The path is signed as part of the National Cycle Network Route 92 and the 55 Km long Inis Eoghain Cycleway and is regularly used for pedestrian and cycling access with an estimated 176,0004 users recorded in 2006. The path is bounded to the east by the River Foyle and by a mix of residential properties and agricultural land to the west. There is no evidence that the lane hosts any services (sewerage etc). The path is currently maintained by Derry City Council and regularly monitored by Sustrans Rangers for damage and litter. The purpose of this paper is to: a) Ascertain whether or not the length of pathway between the Craigavon Bridge and the Ballougry Road is a PROW, Private Lane, Permissive Path or other greenway. b) Provide recommendations for Council consideration. . 1.3 Location The path runs approximately 7 Km Northwest - Southeast from the Craigavon Bridge to the Ballougry Road. (Figure 1) Figure 1: Location of Path between from the Craigavon Bridge to the Ballougry Road 4 Survey of Usage on the Foyle Valley Greenway 2006 (Sustrans) 4 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) 1.4 Route Description The path is approximately 7 Km long and 3m in width with a tarred finished surface and a well-established grassed strip on either side. The path starts at Craigavon Bridge (Plates 1 and 2) passing the Foyle Valley Railway Museum (Plate 3) and continues parallel to the Foyle Road, through Foyle Road Park to Coshowen. (Plate 4) From Coshowen, it continues through Daisyfield Park running parallel with the Letterkenny Road. The path remains on the lower ground following the line of the River Foyle until Grid Ref. C 394 118 where it rises northwest for approximately 500m to its exit on the Ballougry Road (Plate 5 – 6). Plates 1 and 2: Entrance to Foyle Valley Greenway from Craigavon Bridge 5 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) Plate 3: Path passing Foyle Valley Railway Museum Plate 4: Section of Path towards Coshowen Plates 5 and 6: Path Exit to Ballougry Road 6 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) 1.5 Map Evidence The path is recorded on: Viceregal Commission on Irish Railways 1906 OSNI Sheet 29 Londonderry 1905 OSNI Sheet 29 Londonderry 1937 OSNI Plan 36-4 1969 1:2500 OSNI Plan 36-7 1969 1:2500 OSNI Plan 36-14 1969 1:2500 OSNI Sheet 7 Londonderry 1982 1:50000 Derry Street Map and Gazetteer 2006 1:10000 1.6 Consultations Northern Ireland Water No services present along the Path DRD Road Service No services present along the Path British Telecom No services present along the Path Northern Ireland Electricity No services present along the Path Northern Ireland Housing Executive No services present along the Path 1.7 Land Ownership Name: Mr William Moore Ballougry Road Derry. Location: From Grid Ref. C 394 118 where it rises northwest for approximately 500m to its exit on the Ballougry Road Status: Land on a 25-year lease to Council 7 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) Land on 25 Yr Lease Figure 2: Land leased from Mr William Moore Name: Derry City Council 98 Strand Road Derry. Location: From Craigavon Bridge to Grid Ref. C 394 118 Status: Council; Ownership 8 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) 2.0 Approach 2.1 Rationale Supporting a Public Right of Way The purpose of this paper was to: a) Ascertain whether or not the length of pathway between the Craigavon Bridge and the Ballougry Road is a PROW, Private Lane, Permissive Path or other greenway b) Provide recommendations for Council consideration. Evidence from map records, Statutory Consultations and User Evidence research illustrate that a Public Right of Way exists over the length of the pathway between the Craigavon Bridge and the Ballougry Road. Based on the evidence gathered, it supports that Council now has a statutory duty to implement the Access to the Countryside (NI) Order 1983, particularly Article 3 regarding assertion of the route as a Public Right of Way. 3.0 Recommendations Under Articles 3 of the Access to the Countryside (NI) Order 1983 Council has a duty to: Assert, protect and keep open and free from obstruction or encroachment any Public Right of Way (Art. 3) With this in mind the following recommendation to Council is made: a) Council assert the pathway between between the Craigavon Bridge and the Ballougry Road as a Public Right of Way under article 3 of the Access to the Countryside (NI) Order 1983. 9 FOYLE VALLEY GREENWAY (DER 28) 4.0 Appendices Appendix 1: Public Rights of Way and Access to the Countryside – Statement of Intent Derry City Council recognises the importance of ensuring that a range of countryside recreation opportunities exists, both to meet the needs of local residents and the wider population and in terms of the economic benefits of attracting visitors to the area. Derry City Council acknowledges the importance of its statutory duties under the Access Order, particularly towards protecting and asserting public rights of way. Derry City Council acknowledges the value of its discretionary powers to enhance, maintain and extend public access opportunities throughout the countryside. Derry City Council confirms that it has on-going responsibilities towards the public rights of way that it asserts and any other access opportunities that are established. These include ensuring that paths are in a good condition, are clearly signposted and waymarked and are adequately maintained so that their use remains sustainable, and a more general responsibility to endeavour to resolve any problems arising from the public’s use of the countryside. Derry City Council wishes to proceed by negotiation whenever it is possible to do so and to secure and draw on the widest possible consensus of support. Derry City Council recognises that, in carrying out its statutory duties to protect and assert rights of way or in developing proposals that are in the interests of the whole community, it may not always be possible to meet the individual wishes of all the landowners concerned. Derry City Council will look for ways in which landowners can directly benefit from public rights of way or other public access that takes place over their land. Derry City Council will follow DoE Environment and Heritage guidelines outlined in “A guide to public rights of way and access to the countryside” whenever it is necessary to take enforcement action to protect public rights of way. The primary allocation of responsibility within the council for rights of way and access issues falls to the Access Officer who will work in consultation with City Solicitors and other as when required. 10 Appendix 2: Public Rights of Way and Public Paths etc. Article 3: Protection and maintenance (1) A district council shall assert, protect and keep open and free from obstruction or encroachment any public right of way; and for this purpose a district council may institute proceedings in its own name. (2) A district council may, after consultation with the owner of the land concerned, maintain any public right of way; but this paragraph shall not relieve any person from any liability to maintain a public right of way. (3) A district council shall compile and preserve maps and other records of public rights of way in its district.
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