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Proposed part extinguishment of Public Footpath ZF5 at Faversham Reach Estate and creation of a Public Footpath beside Faversham Creek linking Public Footpath ZF5 at Crab Island with Public Footpath ZF32 at Ham Marshes PDF 70 KB
(1) Members of the Committee visited the application site prior to the meeting. This visit was attended by some 20 interested parties.
(2) The Public Rights of Way and Access Manager began his presentation by explaining that this was the latest proposal to resolve the issue of a long- obstructed public footpath which had been blocked by a wall (formerly the boundary of a shipyard) and by five residential properties in the Faversham Reach Estate which had been built in 1987.
(3) In November 2012, a Regulation Committee Member Panel had decided to take forward a proposal by the Faversham Reach Residents Association for the extinguishment of the footpath where it crossed the estate and the creation of a public footpath outside and following the boundary wall to the estate. The consequent extinguishment and creation Orders had been considered at a Public Inquiry in 2014 by an Inspector, whose decision on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment was that neither Order should be confirmed.
(4) The Public Rights of Way and Access Manager then said that the consequence of the Inspector’s decision was that the Public Footpath remained obstructed, which was clearly unsatisfactory for all concerned. Accordingly, the County Council had consulted on a number of options and had also commissioned Amey to provide a feasibility report (including costings) on the construction of ramps and a cantilever walkway.
(5) The Public Rights of Way and Access Manager moved on to give a detailed explanation of the Option that he was recommending to the Panel. He began by saying that there was no suggestion that due process had not been followed in recording Public Footpath ZF5 on the Definitive Map which provided conclusive evidence at law as to its contents. Once established, a public right of way could only be extinguished through a legal event, such as a legal order or in consequence of a Parliamentary Act. Mere disuse did not result in the loss of right of way. Objection had been raised that on the basis of the Ordnance Survey sheet 172-1972 the footpath had been incorrectly recorded in 1970 on the Definitive Map and Statement Draft Revised Map and that this had led to an error in the current Definitive Map. This Ordnance Survey document, however, needed to be viewed in context as it did not purport to show public rights of way. Its purpose was to record physical features. For this reason, it had reflected the widely accepted position that access to the Public Footpath had been very difficult following the construction of the ship yard wall in 1938. Earlier County Series Ordnance Surveymaps 2nd and 3rd editions had shown a route that very closely approximated to the route of ZF5 recorded at Faversham Reach and evidence had been presented to the Public Inquiry that the route of ZF5 had been physically in existence.
(6) Case Law had established that there needed to be sufficient cogent evidence to show that the Definitive ... view the full minutes text for item 1.