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Alice

Passionate about keeping the countryside open to all.

How Safe is Barclays Safe? Keeping our Footpaths and Bridleways free of Cars

How Safe is Barclays Safe?

Have you entrusted your documents to Barclays Safe? It might be a good idea to request them to check all is OK!
14 November 2020


Way back in January before COVID-19 was making headlines, I made a request to Barclays to have my documents contained within a wallet stored in Barclays Safe to be returned to me. Once requested such documents should be available at your local branch within 4 days.

After many emails to Barclays requesting these documents and the subsequent replies completely ignoring my request, in utter frustration on 8 June 2020 I lodged a case with the Information Commissioner's Office. I couldn't see any reason why Barclays would deliberately withhold my documents, save of course that Barclays had lost them! With that worrying thought it is quite reasonable to conclude that Barclays may have lost your documents too!

If you have documents stored in Barclays Safe, or indeed any other safe storage service, don't make the mistake I made and just leave documents in these facilities for years, on the assumption that they are adequately protected and retrievable. Request your documents periodically and check for yourself!

Keeping our Footpaths and Bridleways free of Cars
The demise of our precious Public Rights of Way

What is at stake?

Planning Permission has been sought to construct three Glamping Pods on an untouched, wetland meadow where the proposed access by cars would be over 1 kilometre of the picturesque Dilham Restricted Byway 11 (part of the Public Right of Way network).

Should Planning Permission be granted the @BroadsAuth would be giving their consent for the change of use of Restricted Byway 11, permitting its use by cars, vans and lorries for the purpose of accessing tourism sites.

Due to the nature of this type of use, preventing illegal use of the restricted byway by motor vehicles would be impossible. Thus, Restricted Byway 11 would have become a road.

'When determining development proposals, the Authority will safeguard public rights of way and ensure that future routes are not compromised.'

Policy DM23, Local Plan for the Broads, Broads Authority, Adopted May 2019

What is a Restricted Byway?

Restricted Byways along with Footpaths and Bridleways make up the Public Right of Way (PROW) network that span our great country. These rights of way entitle anyone, and everyone FREE access to enjoy our beautiful countryside for walking, cycling or on horseback.

When walking on our public rights of way you can expect to experience not only breathtaking scenery, but a tranquil atmosphere as it is illegal to drive motorised vehicles on Restricted Byways, Footpaths and Bridleways.

So if it is illegal to drive cars on a Restricted Byway, how can this means of access be proposed for a new tourism development?

Our public rights over the PROW network were confirmed in the Countryside Act 2000, and other subsequent amendments. The Act grants the Landowner of the PROW and surrounding land, and other persons to whom he/she grants lawful authority, the right to drive on the right of way to access the land.

Whilst this might be seen as a significant loophole in the law, such provision is certainly necessary. For example, it is common for an arable farmer in this area to grant access to their land for grazing to a sheep farmer for Winter months. Such a practise is not only financially beneficial to both farmers, it also brings benefits to the land.

Unfortunately, Acts of Parliament can date quickly. I am sure that those who drafted the Countryside Act did not consider the possibility that a Landowner would attempt to use the Countryside Act to convey lawful authority to a tenant who would run a Glamping business; the tenant to convey the lawful authority of access to guests and staff; for the guests to convey the lawful authority to the deliveroo driver delivering their Pizza.

Whilst Countryside Act 2000 is not as restrictive as we would like, this does not mean the inevitable loss of public access to our peaceful, unspoilt countryside. It is the responsibility of the local authority, in this case the Broads Authority, to regulate the change of use of land; in this case from grazing to a Glamping site. Should planning permission not be granted, no tourism site situated on Restricted Byway 11 would exist, ergo any access over the Restricted Byway 11 by motorised vehicles for such a purpose would be unlawful.

Build it and cars will come in their hundreds. Don't build it and our public right of access will be protected by law.

But in light of COVID-19 and Brexit farmers need help?

In light of COVID-19 and Brexit you could argue that millions of people across the country need help and support, both financially and in terms of mental health. No local authority has the right to degrade the provision of public access spaces and public rights of way in favour of a single individual.

Is there another way to avoid use of the Restricted Byway by motor vehicles?
In a word, yes!

Throughout the documents I have sent to the Broads Authority, I have demonstrated that there is no logical reason why the sole means of vehicular access to three additional Glamping Pods has to be over Restricted Byway 11.

Firstly, three additional glamping pods could be added to the Applicant's vast, existing Tonnage Bridge Glamping site (located at the other end of Restricted Byway 11). This would offer huge savings as the necessary infrastructure (parking, electricity, water) is already in place.

Secondly, if we ignore all the issues with the proposed location, the proposed field intended for the new pods (named Redbeck) is already accessed by cars from the public highway network (there is a field gate onto Broad Fen Lane). As the Applicant has already agreed to upgrade the highway network on Oak Road, should this money be spent to upgrade Broad Fen Lane instead making this road suitable, all cars could access the Redbeck site by this route instead of over Restricted Byway 11.

How can I get involved?

Make some noise on social media

TWEET - POST - SHARE.

Copy in the @BroadsAuth

Where can I find further information?

The Planning Application reference BA/2020/0335/FUL is currently Awaiting Decision by the Broads Authority. You can access the associated documents regarding this application from the Broads Authority Planning Portal. See also the Applicants's previous application which was withdrawn, reference BA/2020/0002/FUL. Documents also available on the Planning Portal.

Documentation

Date Description Link
3 Nov. 2020 Supplementary Comments regarding Objection to BA/2020/0335/FUL  Download
22 Oct. 2020 Objection to BA/2020/0335/FUL  Download
25 May 2020 Request to Speak at Planning Meeting to be held on 29 May 2020  Download
7 May 2020 Objection to BA/2020/0002/FUL, Ref: La Ronde Wright statement  Download
3 Mar. 2020 Additional points of objection to BA/2020/0002/FUL  Download
17 Feb. 2020 Objection to BA/2020/0002/FUL  Download