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Valebrook Close Public Footpath: We Want it Back!

February 15, 2009 8:00 AM
Originally published by Folkestone and Hythe Liberal Democrats
Public Footpath sign

Public Footpath sign over barbed wire fence in Valebrook Close, Cheriton

Cheriton Councillor Tim Prater is working with local residents in Valebrook Close, Cheriton, to get a long standing public footpath from Valebrook Close to Pond Hill Road re-opened after a barbed wire topped fence cut off access.

Lib Dem Cllr Prater has been in discussions with the East Kent Public Rights of Way Office, who say that they cannot currently act, as the footpath has been 'missed off' their 'Definitive Map' - despite having a Kent County Council "Public Footpath" sign on it!

He has written to local residents near to the path requesting their help in submitting a new public right of way application as the path has been a public right of way for over 40 years. In the letter to local residents, Tim Prater said:

"A number of local residents have raised with me the Public Footpath leading from the bottom of Valebrook Close, which has for the last while been cut off by the barbed wire topped fence that has been erected.

"I have raised the issue with the East Kent Public Rights of Way Officer, whose responsibility it is to keep public rights of way accessible, and they have visited the site.

"They have however told me that the "Definitive Map" of public rights of way does not currently show that section of footpath running from Valebrook Close, and, as such, there is nothing they can do. I have visited the Town Council Offices however and seen the map (their reference TR1936/324 dated 1/4/06) and it seems clear to me that there is an access running to the side of 65 Valebrook Close to the "dotted line" path. I've attached a copy for your information.

"I have responded making it clear it is a public footpath - not only do many local residents have maps showing it as such, and have been using it for many years, the "Public Footpath" sign pointing down the path is a bit of a give-away!

"The Public Rights of Way Officer has however advised that the quickest and most effective route to get the path reopened is to submit a full "Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO)" to assert that that route is a public footpath. Hopefully, during that process, it will simply be understood that an error has been made in the maps and a simple correction made, but this is, according to his advice, the fastest way to get the right of way reinstated.

"To complete that form requires a number of pieces of evidence and notices etc, and I will be working on that, but critically, it also requires user evidence forms and maps signed and dated by the witness. For this, I need your help to get the path reopened!"

Tim Prater has already received a number of User Evidence forms back, and wants to say thank you to those local residents who have already responded. If you have long standing use of the Valebrook Close path, Tim would be delighted to hear from you at tim@shepwaylibdems.org.uk and would send a copy of the "User Evidence" form to complete as a part of the application.