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Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.
No declarations of interest were made.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2021.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2021 be confirmed as a correct record.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
In accordance with Public Speaking Appendix, members of the public may speak on a particular application after the Chair has introduced the report, provided that notice has been given in writing to Democratic Services by 12 noon three clear working day before the meeting. A total of 6 minutes is allocated for each application, with 3 minutes for objectors and 3 minutes for supporters. If more than one person wishes to speak as an objector or supporter, the time will be allocated accordingly or those wishing to speak may agree that one of their number shall speak for all.
Also in accordance with paragraph 2.24 of the Committee Procedural Rules and Public Speaking Appendix a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the Committee on any matter relevant to the work of the body in question. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 2 minutes but the Chair will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned where there are a number of speakers.
Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days’ in advance of the meeting and should include the question with that notice.
There were no public speakers.
To consider the application for an Order to be made under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 – Part III, Section 53. Application No. CN/7/27: for the Upgrading of Public Footpath no.15 Peckforton to a Restricted Byway.
The Committee considered a report which detailed the investigation to amend the Definitive Map and Statement to upgrade public footpath Peckforton no.15 to a Restricted Byway.
Under Section 53(2)(b) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Council had a duty to keep the Definitive Map and Statement under continuous review and make such modifications to the Map and Statement as appear requisite in consequence of the occurrence of certain events:-
One such event under section 53(3)(c)(ii) was where
“(c) the discovery by the authority of evidence which (when considered with all other relevant evidence available to them) shows:-
(ii) that a highway shown in the map and statement as a highway of a particular description ought to be there shown as a highway of a different description;
The evidence can consist of documentary/historical evidence or user evidence or a mixture of both. All the evidence must be evaluated and weighed, and a conclusion reached whether, on the ‘balance of probabilities’ the rights subsist . Any other issues, such as safety, security, suitability, desirability or the effects on property or the environment, are not relevant to the decision.
Where the evidence in support of the application is user evidence, section 31(1) of the Highways Act 1980 applies. This states; -
“Where a way……has been actually enjoyed by the public as of right and without interruption for a full period of twenty years, the way is deemed to have been dedicated as a highway unless there is sufficient evidence that there was no intention during that period to dedicate it.”
This requires that the public must have used the way without interruption and as of right; that is without force, secrecy or permission. Section 31(2) states that “the 20 years is to be calculated retrospectively from the date when the right of the public to use the way is brought into question”.
Documentary evidence included County Maps 18th/19th Century, Tollemache Estate Map c.1831, Title Records, Quarter Sessions, Ordnance Survey Records, Bartholomew’s Half Inch to a Mile, Pre Definitive Map Records, Definitive Map Process – National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, Land Registry Information and photographs submitted by witnesses.
It was noted that from the application submitted in January 2012 the user evidence forms demonstrated that the dominant users were considered to be cyclists, there had been no equestrian evidence put forward. There had been no direct challenge to cyclists who had used the route until notices advertising a permissive bridleway agreement in 2021 stated ‘no cyclists’.
The affected landowners, Ward Councillor, Parish Council, users groups, statutory undertakers, landowners and agent had been consulted and no objections to the application had been received.
Mr Matthews attended the meeting and spoke and answered questions in respect of access and vehicular use along the proposed route.
The Committee considered the user evidence submitted and the Definitive Map Officer’s conclusion. It was considered that the requirements of Section 53(3)(c)(ii) had been met in relation to restricted byway rights and ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
To note that an Order made to divert part of Mobberley Public Footpath No. 46 under section 119 of the Highways Act 1980 is to be re-made with a minor alignment amendment.
The Committee received an information report which detailed the minor changes to the alignment of a proposed footpath diversion previously approved by the Committee on 12 March 2018. The resultant Order made was to divert part of Mobberley Public Footpath No.46 under section 119 of the Highways Act 1980.
Following an inspection which found that the path installed did not exactly match the route shown on the Order plan a revised diversion route was proposed. The revised diversion would follow a similar trajectory a little over 30 metres away from the route on the previous Order plan and with a width of 2.5 metres. It was noted that the diversion route had been installed and in use on the ground for a number of years and no issues had been raised.
That the report be noted.
To note the proposed fees and charges for 2022-23 for charged-for services provided by the Public Rights of Way team.
The Committee received a report which detailed the proposed fees and charges for 2022-23 for charged-for services provided by the Public Rights of Way team.
The annual review of fees and charges had been conducted as part of the budget setting process of the Council. The charges for 2022-23 had been increased by inflation and rounded up.
It was noted that the following amendments had been made:
(1) The previous fee for a referral of a case to the Planning Inspectorate in relation to objections to Public Path Orders had been withdrawn following updated legal advice.
(2) The discretionary zero cost for charitable organisations who sought temporary closures of Public Rights of Way would be withdrawn, in order to achieve full cost recovery.
The Sub-Committee advised that it would be helpful to signpost charitable organisations to the Communities Team following the withdrawal of the discretionary zero cost, to check whether they would be eligible for any grants.
That the report be noted.