Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

richard3814
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Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by richard3814 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:56 am

Hi. I wonder, are there times when it makes good sense not to enforce a public right of way.

A long existing pubiic footpath runs through a farm. In the sixties there was no problem walking it's entire length. But, today access is blocked. I get miffed because I cannot use the path, because it's blocked off where it enters the farm. In a way, the farmer has unfortunately been caught out by developments on the farm. He could quite easily say to the highways agency he must block off access because he cannot comply with the duty of care regarding visitors.

Now, adjacent to the footpath is a park. And unlike in former days, you can get from point A to point B through the park, instead of the old footpath. So, technically the footpath is redundant, because of access through the park now.

So, have we a situation here were good sense is not seeking to enforce a public right of way? From a practical point of view, people can get from A to B through the park. The public footpath need not strictly be used. Some therefore could argue that all one is doing is making trouble for the farmer, if he has to apply for a diversion order, or for extinguishing of the path, in that it will cost him money. Just because someone wants to insist on their right of way down the public footpath.

What do you think wisdom dictates in this case? Insist on the right, or not? Thanks.

P.S. I'm seeking unbiased comments if possible. Or, if you have a sort of bias in that you are a rambler on the one hand, or a property owner on the other, just say so. It's OK to come from an angle on this. There are usually two sides.

richard3814
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by richard3814 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:16 am

Hi. Can anyone find anything of a legal nature to say? Thanks.

Eliza
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by Eliza » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:04 pm

Personal viewpoint - I'd want the safeguard that a ROW would definitely remain (ie the one through the farmers land) - just in case some "bright spark" ever decided to build on the park. One never knows whether there'll be some idiot that might decide on that at some future point.
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....

stufe35
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by stufe35 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:42 pm

Hi. I wonder, are there times when it makes good sense not to enforce a public right of way.

A long existing pubic footpath runs through a farm. In the sixties there was no problem walking it's entire length. But, today access is blocked. I get miffed because I cannot use the path, because it's blocked off where it enters the farm.-
I understand that the legal situation is that unless it has been officially diverted or extinguished it should not be blocked and should be available for use at all times. The fact there is another route has no relevance. A call to the local authority reporting its illegal blockage should see him receive a visit from them with a view to rectifying the situation.
In a way, the farmer has unfortunately been caught out by developments on the farm.


Rubbish ..the right of way was always there the farmer knew about it when he bought his farm, any development should take into account its presence.
He could quite easily say to the highways agency he must block off access because he cannot comply with the duty of care regarding visitors.
As above.. I understand the right of way takes precedence, the farmers operations must take into account its presence.
Now, adjacent to the footpath is a park. And unlike in former days, you can get from point A to point B through the park, instead of the old footpath. So, technically the footpath is redundant, because of access through the park now.
Irrelevant…just useful for the farmer if he decides to apply to have the path diverted…clearly there is somewhere to physically divert it…not always the case.
So, have we a situation here were good sense is not seeking to enforce a public right of way? From a practical point of view, people can get from A to B through the park. The public footpath need not strictly be used. Some therefore could argue that all one is doing is making trouble for the farmer, if he has to apply for a diversion order, or for extinguishing of the path, in that it will cost him money. Just because someone wants to insist on their right of way down the public footpath.
It is the farmer that is making trouble by blocking it…not anyone trying to use it. If his business sees a benefit a spending the money to divert it then he can get on with it. Dont feel sorry for him because he has right of way through his farm, he bought it knowing that.
What do you think wisdom dictates in this case? Insist on the right, or not? Thanks.

P.S. I'm seeking unbiased comments if possible. Or, if you have a sort of bias in that you are a rambler on the one hand, or a property owner on the other, just say so. It's OK to come from an angle on this. There are usually two sides.
Personally I hate people who buy properties with rights of way through them then try to prevent there use by underhand and / or aggressive means. It was there when they bought the property and the price reflected its presence; if they didn’t like it they shouldn’t have bought it . If practically they want to remove it, sometimes there is a way; go through the process and spend the money if they are lucky enough to have an alternative route to divert it to and the authorities will allow it.

To give you a view of my perspective; I have over the years been a keen user of public rights of way for walking and cycling and green laning; I am a landowner and I have rights of way on my land and rights of way over others land ie I am both servient and dominant.

PS you will get more comments on this thread just give it time, there are many regular contributors but they often only visit once every few days.

stufe35
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by stufe35 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:38 pm

Thinking about how I would handle the situation.

I think I would approach the farmer and let him know that today I have tried to walk along the path through his land but have found it blocked, please could he ensure it is cleared asap. Id let him know that I am planning the same walk next week / month/ whatever and if the path is still blocked at that time I will have no choice but to report the situation to the local authority--but of course I am trying to avoid this with this conversation.

That way if he fixes the situation there is no trouble...if he choses to ignore his legal responsibility to keep the path clear he has only himself to blame for any trouble that follows.

How is it blocked out of interest ?

richard3814
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by richard3814 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:35 am

About two years ago I tried to walk the length of a footpath in the village. The one next to the park. I contacted the footpath people in the Council reporting the blockage and a broken stile. But, although I think the farmer was contacted, and for a short while an electric fence was removed which was also a problem, today things have reverted to the same. Obstructing electric fence and blockage when you get to the farm itself.

Let me tell you what recently happenned. I was until a few days ago on a Facebook group that is for people belonging to a certain village. I published on the group an open letter to the farmer. It was a respectful letter. It sort of sypathised with the farmer inasmuch as I did offer advice to the farmer that he should claim he cannot comply with the obligation to ensure safety for visitors because of natural developments on the farm. And that he should either seek a path diversion or apply for path extinction. But, whatever he does, do something. It was a open mild letter.

I got several likes on my posting of the open letter. But, one person got on my case. An old friend acttually (and now possibly an ex-friend). And he basically was saying why am I so bothered now about the path after all these years of not using it. He is claiming really that I'm causing trouble and I should not persue any action, that I should not insist on my right of way. That somehow I'm doing something wrong in insisting on the right of way. After all, I don't have to use the path to get from A to B, I can go through the park. He insulted me actually on some issue, that has nothing to do with this issue of rights of way. I was upset a great deal, so I removed myself from the group and I deleted my post.

Then, I have gone on to this forum to seek wisdom about the issue.

span
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by span » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:54 am

You won't listen to advice from a friend who may have sensitivities for your feelings, and ask a bunch of internet strangers instead?

This may not end well for you. Or it might. Who knows?

But any advice you get will be pretty blunt.

richard3814
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by richard3814 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:13 am

span wrote:You won't listen to advice from a friend who may have sensitivities for your feelings, and ask a bunch of internet strangers instead?

This may not end well for you. Or it might. Who knows?

But any advice you get will be pretty blunt.
Eh? I'm doing wrong in not listening to advice that I'm causing the farmer trouble? That's silly. The exact opposite is the case, is it not?

By the way, I am a member of the communty in the village, I'm not a disinterested party. I'm not an outsider, I've lived there for 60 years.

If I get any advice that is blunt, it's not down to my being in the wrong is it?

span
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by span » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:49 am

richard3814 wrote:
span wrote:You won't listen to advice from a friend who may have sensitivities for your feelings, and ask a bunch of internet strangers instead?

This may not end well for you. Or it might. Who knows?

But any advice you get will be pretty blunt.
Eh? I'm doing wrong in not listening to advice that I'm causing the farmer trouble? That's silly. The exact opposite is the case, is it not?

By the way, I am a member of the communty in the village, I'm not a disinterested party. I'm not an outsider, I've lived there for 60 years.
It's not the listening to advice I commented on, it's your reaction to the advice you heard.

You got all flouncy with your friend - what're you going to do if you hear similar advice from us, a bunch of strangers? Are you open minded enough to reconsider your reactions, or will you flounce again if you hear something you don't like?

richard3814
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by richard3814 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:07 pm

span wrote:
richard3814 wrote:
span wrote:You won't listen to advice from a friend who may have sensitivities for your feelings, and ask a bunch of internet strangers instead?

This may not end well for you. Or it might. Who knows?

But any advice you get will be pretty blunt.
Eh? I'm doing wrong in not listening to advice that I'm causing the farmer trouble? That's silly. The exact opposite is the case, is it not?

By the way, I am a member of the communty in the village, I'm not a disinterested party. I'm not an outsider, I've lived there for 60 years.
It's not the listening to advice I commented on, it's your reaction to the advice you heard.

You got all flouncy with your friend - what're you going to do if you hear similar advice from us, a bunch of strangers? Are you open minded enough to reconsider your reactions, or will you flounce again if you hear something you don't like?
I left that group because of personal insult, not because of anything said by my friend about the rights of way issue. Not because of any advice on the issue.

span
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by span » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:58 pm

Well, ok then.

So, if there's a right of way then there's a right of way. There always will be unless it gets diverted or extinguished. And if you can get to where you want to go by a divergence, what's in it for you to force the issue? It only becomes a problem when the divergence is gone, and then you can force the issue.

On other words, pick your battles.

mr sheen
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by mr sheen » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:24 pm

A right of way enables people to pass and repass from A to B and you can achieve that so there isn't really a problem.
Whilst it is true that once a ROW always a ROW unless diverted or stopped up, there are situations where natural events create a scenario where maintaining a ROW become unrealistic and this often occurs in countryside where a river changes direction naturally or washes away a bridge and the LA decide not to replace it, flood plains during floods etc so people are expected to be reasonable.

If the ROW was blocked preventing access from A to B then it may be worth pursuing but since you can in fact get from A to B albeit via a slightly different route.....time to be reasonable and realistic....unless you are looking for a fight for reasons other than needing to get from A to B :?

stufe35
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by stufe35 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:23 pm

This is an age old farmers trick, block a path with barbed wire/ electric fence, for as long as possible hoping no one complains. Then in a few years time remove the blockage and apply for a footpath closure claiming it hasn't been used for years of course now able to present photos of a path totally overgrown and unused.

When I first moved to where I live now exactly the same happened. New to the area I got my maps out and strung a group of bridle ways together to make a nice mountain bike ride route. Half way around I came across a section with barbed wire across the entrance to the lane....behind the lane had become overgrown with self seeding ash trees brambles etc. Even if I had got over the barbed wire progress would have been difficult. I rode by the road around to the other end of the lane. The same thing barbed wire closing off access.

I was annoyed but didn't do anything about it realising that even if I complained and got the barbed wire cut/ removed which would take minutes, there was a lot of work involved in clearing the lane. I thought no more about it, though was mildly annoyed everytime i passed the end of the lane on bike rides and had to take the busy public road instead. Wind the clock forward 6 years or so and i was driving past the end of this lane and saw a notice. Stopping to read it i found the right of way had successfully closed by the local farmer...something that's very very difficult to achieve....but it helps if you are also a local councillor, member of the old boys club/network, and you can evidence the lane hasn't been used for years.

It makes me very cinical about such issues.

I reiterate..you are not making trouble . The person blocking a right of way is the one acting outside the law, making trouble and with an agenda. There can be 100 ways to get from A to B. You have the right to use that one that has been dedicated for public use if you so choose.

Personally i would report again and keep reporting every time you find it blocked and encourage as many others people as possible to report the blockage too.

richard3814
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by richard3814 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:05 am

Hi. Thanks for people's differing points of view on this. Since I posted, the farmer posted on the thread in Facebook (which for some reason still exists, because I closed the thread, or thought I did).

What I am witnessing I think is an interesting dynamic. Let me explain. What has happened is that someone has floated the wicked untruth that in bringing up the issue of the blocked footpath that I'm stirring. That's a totally wrong and unjustified attack on my character. And there is always some that believe a lie. Now, if I had been an outsider to the village, no one would have charged me with being a stirrer. As I say, intersting dynamic.

Anyway, the farmer, from his Facebook post, seems to be a good egg. Claims there is access. (but I'm sure there was not last summer). So, me and the farmer have not fallen out over this. But my old friend seems to be hot and bothered. And I don't quite know why. Unless he feels it his duty to come to the aid of the farmer. It's all a bit weird.

As to whether I'll play vigilante and keep an eye on the path and complain if it's blocked, I've decided against it. I''ve decided I'll be moving out of the village anyway hopefully. For reasons other than this issue I hasten to add.

richard3814
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Re: Insisting on a right of way? Or not?

Post by richard3814 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:20 am

What also is interesting is that the farmer previously applied for path extinguishing (he says in his Facebook posting) but the council refused, saying it's an old pathway. And they know that people can get to A and B through the adjacent park. So, they were not swayed by the argument that you can get from A to B via another adjacent route. In bringing the issue up about the blockage. But, maybe they would consider extinguishing, if the farmer ever says no-one uses the path.

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