As reported on the Westcombe Blog a year ago, (see http://bit.ly/9hpy) The Greenwich Area Planning and Environment Committee decided unanimously in April 2009 to refer the illegal blocking of the rights of way between Old Dover and Charlton Roads to the Secretary of State for decision. The paths were obstructed by walls built in 2007 by the Hexagon Housing Association in breach of their planning consent.
Inexplicably, some of the records of that meeting have now been removed from the Council’s records on its website, so some of the earlier links no longer work.
Notwithstanding the unanimous decision, no action to implement it seems to have been taken a year later, and the unlawful obstruction of these rights of way continues unabated.
Under the provisions of Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980, the Council may not approve the diversion of rights of way such as those between Old Dover and Charlton roads until it can certify that the work to complete new (off-road) diversion paths has been carried out. The Council has not yet identified a site for such footpaths or bridleways for use by either pedestrians or cyclists, let alone constructed any.
Although the Council acknowledges that the obstruction of the rights of way was illegal and that no lawful decision to divert them had been approved, it has, for more than three years, failed to instruct the site owners to remove the brick walls and to re-instate the pedestrian and cycle routes in accordance with the approved planning application, or to comply with the requirements of the Highways Act pending a decision of the Secretary of State, and (if he were to decide to divert them) the construction of the necessary off-road diversion routes had been completed.
This issue is likely to be raised at the Hustings being organised by the Westcombe Society at Mycenae House at 19.30 on 17th April, where candidates will respond to questions from local residents. Candidates have taken opposing views on the paths so there should be an interesting debate