Ken Brockway, Footpath Inspector
This article is from Signpost 66, Winter 2020
I was very tempted to offer myself for the position of Chairman. I don't have all, if any of the attributes required but I do like to see the big picture. So what is the big picture for Definitive Map Modification applications?
I can only report on the limited view from my own office window which like a horse may be blinkered. Forty applications have now been submitted to Derbyshire with a total distance of around 13 kilometres. All have been inspected by our Courts and Inquiries Officer for Derbyshire and passed as worthwhile applications.
Some claimed routes are incredibly short, one is just 18 metres, but each application regardless of length takes much the same amount of time to prepare and submit. Most of the applications relate to routes that are already well used but are unrecorded. So why, I hear you ask, make all this work for us and Derbyshire County Council when there are more important things to do.
A bigger picture is now emerging that offers me the justification to carry on. DCC has now prepared reports on seven of our application and in all but one case their consultation has raised objection from the landowner. This suggests to me that given the opportunity after 2026 these landowners may well prevent our use of unrecorded paths, while we will have a weakened arsenal to make a valid claim.
One application that has yet to be investigated by DCC has had a locked gate installed with a 'Private Keep Out' notice erected. There is however some good news. Of the objections received to paths already investigated DCC has rejected them as invalid and DCC has agreed to make orders on all seven applications.
So the big picture from my window is this: landowners are sitting waiting for 2026 after which they may well take action to prevent our use of any unrecorded path.
You have been warned!!!
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