Download Area Map: STURTON AREA
- The status of public rights of way and who can use them
There are four types of public right of way as follows: –
- Public footpaths – These can be used by pedestrians with a usual accompaniment such as a dog or a pushchair.
- Public bridleways – These can be used by pedestrians, cyclists, those on horseback and or leading a horse.
- Restricted byways – These can be used by those on foot, bicycle, horseback or leading a horse, and in or on a horse-drawn vehicle.
- Byways open to all traffic – These are also known as a BOATs or as byways and they can be used by those on foot, bicycle, horseback and leading a horse, horse-drawn vehicles and motorised vehicles.
If you have a look at the attached plan you can use the key to identify the status of the public rights of way in area of Sturton that is shown on it. These public rights of way are recorded on the definitive map and statement (the DMS). They have legally defined routes, which can only be changed or modified by means of a legal event. The highway authority, which in this case is Nottinghamshire County Council, maintains the definitive map for this county and is responsible for ensuring that the surface of these public rights of way are in a reasonable condition for their status.
It is also possible that there exists a lawful private right of access on footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways. Private rights of this kind would be used to access fields, land or property that are adjacent to public rights of way. Motor vehicles could be used to exercise this private right and it would be the responsibility of those with a private right of this kind to maintain their access to a standard that is acceptable for their own usage. It is important to note that the county council is not responsible for this maintenance.
- Sturton Quarry and public rights of way diversions
As you are aware Tarmac received planning permission to install a haulage road for Sturton Quarry, but they did not incorporate Sturton le Steeple Footpath No’s 15 or 39 into their design for the haulage bridge that crosses the Catchwater Drain.
The outcome is that Tarmac are now proposing the diversion of one or both of these public rights of way at the location of the bridge. In order that we can consider this proposal, we are currently in the process of identifying the locations of the legal definitive lines of Footpath No’s 15 & 39 on Tarmacs most recent design plan for the bridge. Once we have done this it will be possible to assess if either of these public rights of way would need to be diverted to enable the construction of the bridge and if so whether there are viable diversion routes available.
If we are able to agree to a diversion route for either of these paths then the next step would be the instigation of the legal process for diverting them. This involves consultation, so it is not guaranteed that there would be a successful outcome, because if there is an objection that cannot be resolved the respective public right of way would have to remain on its existing legal definitive line.
- Temporary closures of public rights of way
As you are aware Tarmac started to build the bridge over the Catchwater Drain and as a result they have obstructed Sturton le Steeple Footpath No’s 15 & 39 with concrete blocks. This means that if you wanted to use the definitive lines of these paths you would have to clamber over the concrete blocks, which is not safe. It is for this reason that a legal temporary closure has been placed on Sturton Footpath No’s 15 & 39 and Bridleway No 13. Anyone who continues to use these paths will do so at their own risk whilst the paths are subject to a temporary closure.
Where possible we suggest an alternative route using legally recorded public rights of way or adopted highways when a temporary closure is placed on a path. In this case we did not do this, because of the excessive length of the alternative route.
- Informal diversions
Tarmac have created routes that enable you to get around the concrete blocks and regain Sturton le Steeple Footpath No’s 15 & 39, but they are not on the lines of legally recorded public rights of way, so we are unable to suggest them as alternative routes.
Also the use of informal routes of this kind relies on the permission of the landowner who would also be responsible for their maintenance and liable for any accidents that occur on them.
- Information that has become available since the parish council’s meeting on Tuesday 4th April 2017
On 6th April I was informed that Tarmac will be removing the concrete block on the south side of the Catchwater Drain. This is on Sturton le Steeple Footpath No 39. I will be checking the surface next week to ensure that it is safe for public use.
Also Tarmac are leaving the concrete block in situ on the other side of the Catchwater Drain, because they are of the opinion that the stoned route that they have provided at this location is also on the definitive line of the path. We are not sure that this is correct and as mentioned in 2 above we are awaiting information that will clarify the locations of the definitive lines of Footpath No’s 15 & 39. This will help to resolve this issue.
I hope that this information has been helpful to you, but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.
Area Rights of Way Officer (north east Nottinghamshire)
Via East Midlands Ltd
Tel: 0115 9774279 | 07753 850743 | Int 74279