Footpath victory nears

October 06 2019

Footpath victory nears

The driveway from Goldney Avenue

WALKERS and residents are set to win the right to claim a narrow driveway as a public footpath after developers allegedly cut down trees and blocked it with branches.

The route, between garages at the rear of Goldney Avenue in Warmley, has been used unofficially as a cut-through for at least 68 years, councillors were told.

Residents asked for the track to be designated a footpath after the adjoining site was sold by Merlin Housing Society in March 2018 and the new owners submitted a planning application to turn the garages into homes with no public access through it to reach the nearby Dramway path.

South Gloucestershire Council’s public rights of way and commons registration (PRoW) sub-committee has approved the request, which will now go out to a six-week notice period.

Any objections will be reported back to members, while the order will be automatically confirmed if there are none.

Councillors were told the garage area on the route was currently fenced off.

Over the past 12 months, the owners have twice unsuccessfully applied for planning permission to demolish the garages and turn the site into housing.

Both applications — first for eight houses in September last year and then for seven properties in February 2019 — were withdrawn after planning officers said they could not support them.

A report to the PRoW sub-committee on Thursday, September 12, said: “A substantial amount of user evidence has been submitted in support of the application and whilst half the users are concentrated around Goldney Avenue, the other half are from various other roads in the area.”

The report said: “According to local residents, the new owner cut down several trees in April 2018 and blocked the claimed route with branches.

“These were removed by local residents to regain access.

“In September 2018, an outline planning application was submitted to develop the garage area for housing.

“The planning application made no provision for public access through the site to reach The Dramway footpath and this prompted local residents to question the status of the claimed route.”

It said the applicant of the public footpath had served notice on the garage site’s landowner but that no response had been received.

The owners of five adjoining properties did respond and provided evidence from their title deeds that they had a private right to use the access way to reach the back of their houses.

But the report said no statement had been lodged with the council to “refute any presumption of dedication”.

Story by Local Democracy Reporting Service