Archive for public officials

Rhineland progress report

South Gloucestershire rights-of-way officers have the blocked paths in hand and have instructed their contractors accordingly.

The stile/footbridge was damaged by another set of contractors, who were employed by Redrow to remove a hedge and make my directions harder to follow! A search of the internet revealed that Redrow have had outline planning permission to build on this land since 1957. The latest scheme was for the Severnside Stadium plus housing, but this ran into difficulties due to objections to increasing traffic on the road from Pilning to Easter Compton.

I doubt whether another scheme will be put forward before the end of the housing recession.

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Progress report

South Gloucestershire Technical Officer (Public Rights of Way) Natalie Meese-Kennedy has come up trumps with the blocked path onto Lawrence Weston Moor (Path OAY 106) and has handed the job onto the contractors who deal with these things. With any luck at all that means that the Wild West Route will soon be open again. (I’d give it at least a fortnight.) However, there are nettles elsewhere on the route, especially as the path from Berwick Lodge Farm emerges into a field from the track alongside the motorway, so shorts are probably risky. The path around Bank Leaze Primary School wil probably take longer to shift, but the route through the nature reserve is preferable in any case.

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Blocked paths crossing the City Boundary

I have recently received the following e-mail from the Bristol City rights of way department about a blocked footpath between Whitchurch and Maes Knoll that I complained about some time ago.

Dear Mr Bloor

The current situation is that Bath & North East Somerset need to obtain committee authorisation to permit Bristol City Council to process an order on their behalf. The diversion for them is at the top end of the path, so that it follows the field boundary and exits at the existing kissing gate. Their next committee is  in the first week of July. At that stage I can get the dedication agreement signed and a diversion order advertised.

The result will be a public footpath connecting Tannorth Rd up to East Dundry Rd and onwards to Maes Knoll.

 Thank you for your interest,

Mary Knight

This looks like good news, because the blocked section is part of a route that I left out of the first Crossing Boundaries book because of the blockage.  You can find the route, which is nicknamed “The Caterpillar”, amongst the CTTC free routes on www.closertothecountryside.co.uk

The e-mail reminded me of other blocked paths, so I sent the following back:

Dear Mary Knight,

Your e-mail about the path at Dundry Hill Farm, Whitchurch, reminded me of a couple of other places where I have had problems in the past, both on paths that cross the boundary of the Bristol unitary authority.

The first of these is the path from North Hill Farm, East Dundry, to Bishport Avenue. This path is useful as part of of a circular route, which links the countryside around Dundry with Wilmotte Park, Crox’s Bottom and the Malago open space to Bishopsworth Library. Unfortunately the path from the city boundary to Bishport Avenue passes through land, which is, I believe, owned by the council, and is usually very nearly unpassable.

I have not visited this path lately for that reason, but I would be delighted to hear that the path is now properly maintained and marked so that it would be worth visiting again.

Similar problems exist on the path from Hallen across Lawrence Weston Moor to Atwood Drive. There are two pinch points. The first is where the path goes alongside the motorway under the railway line from Filton to Avonmouth. I suspect that the section that is usually severely overgrown and impassable is in South Gloucestershire, but it is hard to be certain as the railway forms the boundary at this point. If it is a South Gloucestershire problem, perhaps you could bring it up in an appropriate forum.

The second pinch point is around Bank Leaze School where the path has been confined to an enclosure that is usually choked by brambles etc. This is almost certainly council owned land.

I hope that you can assure me that these problems have already been dealt with. Otherwise, I would be interested to hear what you propose doing about them.

Yours sincerely

Chris Bloor

Watch this space for further developments

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The Wheels of God

The wheels of God grind slow, they say, but they grind exceeding small. The image is that of a mill-stone, but it seems to apply equally well to rights of way officers. I recently received the following letter from the Enforcement and Access Officer of North Somerset Council, dated 28/05/2008:

Public footpath LA7/46

In 2006 you reported being chased along the restricted byway between Hill Farm and Oxlease Lane in Dundry.

I apologise for the length of time it has taken to address your complaint, however, I have only just joined North Somerset Council as their enforcement officer. I have discussed the problem of the doberman pincher with our Dog Warden and have carried out a site visit to assess the problem. The dog does not appear to be able to access the right of way any more, but if you do encounter any problems with the dog again, please do let me know.

With regards to the obstruction of the right of way by vegetation and locked gates, I am currently in the process of having them removed. Once this has been done, I will write again to let you know, however, if you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Graeme Stark

Enforcement and Access Officer

It is nice to know that these things are taken seriosly, but I would not be surprised to learn that the dog has died, or become too old to chase walkers by now!

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