Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hexagon Paths – the illegality continues…

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


12 comments:

M81162 said...

Nice piece of biased reporting. I think we all know which camp the Westcombe Society is in.

Eeyore said...

I'm not sure I understand this latter comment. Illegality is surely illegality. It's not a 'camp' issue.

M81162 said...

Where is the illegality? That hasn't been proven, which is why the walls are still in place.

Vanbrugh said...

THE LONDON BOROUGH- OF GREENWICH (BELLFIELD CLOSE) PUBLIC PATH DIVERSION ORDER 2008 officially defined the paths as "the public rights of way over the residential estate land situate at Bellfield Close"

The Council's Assistant Director of Transportation & Highways has confirmed that 'There has been no extinguishment of the pedestrian right of way across the site... it is illegally obstructed at the present time'

Ed said...

M861162 says that "we all know which camp the Westcombe Society is in." Not true. The Westcombe Society's policy is quite neutral on the issues. However this is (still) a free country, so any individual member of the society - or anyone else obviously, is entirely entitled to express his or her views

M81162 said...

Ed, as you already know, a representative of the Westcombe Society spoke at the recent Greenwich planning committee meeting on behalf of the Westcombe Society, opposing the walls.

All those who attended that meeting are now aware that Greenwich Council do not recognise a right of way through the car park in Bellfield close. Therefore there is nothing to divert and the walls are not illegally obstructing anything.

M81162 said...

Tuesday 20th April 2010.
Resolved Not to recognise that definitive rights of way exist across the Bellfield Close site on the grounds that they have not been established by formal means, and to take no further action.

Eeyore said...

Could you provide more details please? At what meeting was this resolved?

M81162 said...

My apologies.
RECORD OF JOINT MEETING OF THE GREENWICH, WOOLWICH AND THAMESMEAD, ELTHAM AND KIDBROOKE AREA PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEES MEETING
DECISIONS - TUESDAY 20 APRIL 2010


Link

wespes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wespes said...

The issue before the recent Planning Committee was whether or not to confirm its earlier statements that Rights of Way exist. Had they done so, a public consultation would then have been required to determine if the Rights of Way should be extinguished or diverted, decisions which might well have needed to go to the Secretary of State.

The view of the Westcombe Society is that Rights of Way exist due to regular use of the paths without hindrance for more than 20 years. This is why the Westcombe Society representative spoke at this particular meeting.

The Westcombe Society acknowledges that local opinion is divided on the future of the Rights of Way: Many residents of the Estate would like them to remain closed; other Westcombe Park residents who used them in the past would like them reinstated. Both sides have valid arguments. The Society respects those arguments and has no wish to take a position on either.

The Society suggests a new path be created, perhaps cantilevered over the motorway as originally proposed by TfL, so as to restore the pedestrian and cycle routes whilst avoiding the estate. Since it would link the pedestrian and cycle routes that connect the various Olympic venues in the Borough, it could be a candidate for financial support from the Olympic Delivery Authority, which is promoting walking and cycling as part of its Sustainable Transport Strategy. The Westcombe Society therefore intends to suggest the provision of such a path in the course of its exchanges with the Olympic authorities over transport and legacy arrangements for 2012.

Teri said...

I google earthed this wall... it is blatantly crossing a right of way. There were garages where the Hexagon Estate was built... how did residents access the garages except via the footpath where the wall exists...? Why is there a wall? If no footpath existed, why build a wall? Why are there road markings for a cycle lane turning left which then go nowhere?