Monday, 18 November 2013

Public Rights of Way through Knowle: appeal accepted: Knowle Residents' Association

Following on from the news
Futures Forum: Public Rights of Way through Knowle: appeal accepted
a press release has just been issued by the Knowle Residents' Association:

         Press Release by the Knowle Residents’ Association

Local campaigners are celebrating the result of their appeal against the refusal by Devon County Council to register footpaths at the Knowle as public footpaths. Members of the Knowle Residents’ Association had applied to the County Council to register a number of footpaths on the basis that they had been used by the public for over 20 years. The applications had been opposed by East Devon District Council.

The Inspector, Sue Arnott, agreed that two footpaths leading firstly along the drive to the Council’s offices from near Balfour Lodge on Station Road and secondly from the upper end of Knowle Drive should be registered as public footpaths. She also concluded that there was sufficient evidence of use by the public to register other claimed footpaths across the Knowle Park and Gardens. However, these other routes were on land which had been formally declared public open space and the public were already using these footpaths by right.

The Inspector dismissed the evidence given by EDDC’s Deputy Chief Executive, Richard Cohen on behalf of the Chief Executive, Mark Williams, who claimed that notices had been in place for a number of years indicating that the Council had no intention to create any public rights of way. She commented that she gave their argument little credence.

A spokesperson on behalf of the Knowle Residents’ Association said “I am delighted that our rights have been recognised. We sincerely hope that EDDC will now remove their signs which suddenly appeared following our application and which are unnecessary, provocative and deter local residents and visitors from enjoying the public park and gardens”.


Knowle footpaths appeal decision | Save Our Sidmouth

See also: 
‘We’re ashamed of EDDC’s actions’ - say Knowle campaigners - News - Sidmouth Herald

Here is further comment:

Knowle right of way ruling overturned by 

planning inspector

In a surprise move that will no doubt wrongfoot EDDC senior officers and ruling councillors, a planning inspector has ruled that the footpaths criss-crossing Knowle gardens, should be deemed legal public rights of way.
Sidmouth residents have battled for some time for these to be recognised as official public rights of way, following EDDC’s announcement that it will depart from its existing base at Knowle and move to purpose-built offices elsewhere in East Devon.
Part of the plan to move is to sell off the lovely Knowle gardens, or at least, part of them, for development in order to fund the move.
The gardens are open to the public and have been for decades so residents were surprised when EDDC suddenly - at around the same time the announcement to sell off the gardens for development - erected signs at the entrance stating that the paths were not legal public rights of way! 
Residents applied to Devon County Council to formalise the paths as public rights of way, but were refused.
But yesterday, a planning inspector overturned DCC’s decision and ruled that the paths should indeed be designated legal public rights of way.
I am interested to see how this piece of news might affect EDDC’s plans to move…
More news here soon -   http://saveoursidmouth.com/


1. At 11:27 am on 18th Nov Conrad Black wrote:
Congratulations to all involved in setting the record straight.  The ‘Pleasure Gardens’ which are acknowledged still on signs where paths enter the Knowle (take photographs before they disappear) make it entirely clear that the grounds are for the public use and enjoyment. 
I wonder if the finding(s) of the Inspector would allow questioning for maladministration if the refusal was obviously wrong?
2. At 03:47 pm on 18th Nov Sandra Semple wrote:
Isn’t it amazing and very, very worrying that the electorate is often proved right and officers and majority councillors proved wrong.  What does that say about the quality of advice that we are being given?
Claire Wright - Your Independent East Devon District Councillor for Ottery Rural

No comments: