Ken Brockway, PNFS Member & Walk Leader
This article is from Signpost 58, Autumn 2018
I have spent some time recently investigating unrecorded rights of way, particularly in Derbyshire. In 2016, I asked Derbyshire County Council (DCC) how they would deal with the huge backlog of anomalies between the DCC definitive map and what was available on the ground. The response “we will deal with them as they are brought to our attention and as time permits” worried me.
I then raised a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, asking how many map anomalies DCC had on record. The response was: “unknown with any degree of accuracy, there is no record maintained.” This suggested that we, the Rights of Way users, must record them, as we have only 8 years to submit DMMO’s based on historical evidence to protect any unrecorded routes (these could be currently unknown, or known ones that are not on the Definitive Map). My FoI request also revealed that DCC had 148 DMMO applications in progress, with only 16 DMMO’s on average being concluded annually over the three previous years. Since these events, Rhoda Barnett, one of our C&I Officers, has managed to obtain the DCC list of map anomalies from DCC. However, it is very incomplete. We as users of our heritage of Rights of Way need to make sure that all Highway Authorities are notified of map anomalies, and that these are logged and managed by them.
Venturing further afield recently, I discovered a footpath at Aintree racecourse. I entered the racecourse through a narrow gate in the fence and followed a well-used path, exiting via a similar gate. Plenty of green diamonds on the map, but not many definitive paths, including the one I discovered. Is it a candidate for an unrecorded ways claim?
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