Venue: TN2 Community Centre,Lakeside, Greggs Wood Road, Tunbridge Wells TN2 3LZ
Contact: Andrew Tait 03000 416749
(1) The Panel Members viewed the area under question from both entrances prior to the meeting.
(2) The Definition Officer began her presentation by explaining that an application had been received from the landowner, the Town and Country Housing Group (TCHG) to extinguish public footpath WB71. The footpath did not appear on the Definitive Map as the Modification Order had not been made until 15 June 2015 in response to an application by local councillor Frank Williams. The original decision to make the Order had been taken on the basis that public rights on foot were reasonably alleged to subsist due to use by the public over a period in excess of 20 years. A petition had been received after the consultation period against the footpath. By Law, this petition could not be considered as an objection. The Order had not yet been confirmed.
(3) The Definition Officer went on to say that the matter had become further complicated as prior to the making of the Modification Order, a development of 6 dwellings had been built on the land over which the footpath ran. TCHG had not wished to apply for a diversion of the footpath because they considered would neither be in the interests of the occupiers of the new dwellings nor of those local residents who had signed the petition against it. TCHG also considered that the existing footpath between Burslem Road and Greggs Wood Road via Harries Road would serve the same purpose and that footpath WB71 was therefore not needed for public use.
(4) The Definition Officer said that under the changed circumstances, she had concluded that the application to extinguish the footpath was an effective way to resolve this matter. The Extinguishment Order and the Modification Order could be confirmed simultaneously. The result would be that footpath WB71 would never appear on the Definitive Map.
(5) The Definition Officer then set out the legal tests for extinguishment of a public path. The County Council could make an Order to this effect if it considered it expedient to do so on the grounds that it was not needed for public use. This Order could not be confirmed without regard to the extent to which the path was likely to be used by the public, apart from the Order, as well as the effect which extinguishment would have as respects land served by the path or way.
(6) The Definition Officer briefly explained her conclusions in respect of the legal tests. She considered that it was expedient to extinguish the path on the grounds that it was not needed for public use. This was because its use was likely to be limited to a small number of residents from Burslem Road and Allandale Road who wanted to get to the shops and community centre. There were more convenient routes available from other parts of the area, whilst the existing footpath via Harries road generally served the same purpose and was substantially as convenient despite being some 145 ... view the full minutes text for item 3.