The End of The Line?
Michael B. Buck.
The writer is a retired lawyer who is currently writing a thesis on federal government. His views can be described as fairly traditional and liberal (with a small l).
This local controversy over a proposed byeway through a local beauty spot gives a useful insight into how a fairly simple matter has become deeply entangled because of legislation creating the device of the definitive map, which, frankly, is anything but that. Some ramblers have sought to resurrect a long moribund route, which currently runs through the middle of a sewage works, relying on some old records, dating back to the early C19. A faithful trawl through that material shows a fair amount of evidence dealing with the Wareside (Southern) end of the track, but virtually nothing about the the Northern end.Strictly speaking, the evidence for the existence of the route throughout its alleged length does not exist. Understandably the County Council, faced with that absurdity and the impossibility of disrupting the sewage farm, have taken the line, that there was just enough evidence to show that there must have been some sort of route, as the ramblers had suggested, and that in strict logic it would cross the sewage farm. The next stage would follow instantly, the diversion of the route to the East of that site, so as to join Peg's Lane, the route leading from the Northern part of the village of Widford. Finally, because of the undesirability of having a B.O.A.T, (bye-way open to all traffic), the newly resurrected route should be restricted to pedestrian traffic plus use by vehicles for agricultural purposes and the maintenance of the site.
It therefore seemed desirable to send to the County Council the following letter, in order to clarify matters and point out that their proposed actions represented the commonsense and practical solution to a confused situation.
29 / 07 / 2011.
My ref.: VM-290711.
Ian England, Esq.,
Definitive Map Officer,
Rights of Way Service, CHN103,
County Hall, Peg’s Lane,
Hertford, SG13 8EN.
Dear Mr. English,
Re: Hertfordshire County Council, (Widford 13, 18, 26 and Wareside 84) Modification
Order, 28 / 07 / 2011.
Widford Parish Council, (of which I am not a member, although my wife is) considered the proposed changes to the existing route, and decided to accept the idea, that there was, at some time, probably before 1950, when the land for the Sewage Farm site was sold to the Water Authority, a rough track from Widford’s former railway station, leading to what is now Peg’s Lane at a point North-West of the bridge over the River Ash. Hard evidence of its existence and use is scarce and fragmentary. The supposed route appears to have gone through what for the last 60 years has been the Sewage Works. The practical solution to this confusing situation appears to be a two-stage process, namely:-
[A] to make a finding, as mentioned in the first sentence above; and
[B] to decide to divert the supposed track from the site occupied by the Sewage Farm to a route to the South-East, which would then join the extended part of Peg’s Lane, lying West of the bridge. is proposed diversionary route would be designated as a restricted rural bye-way, so as to permit use of the same for wheeled traffic for agricultural and site maintenance purposes only, apart from pedestrians and horse riders.
In fact that appears to be what your Council are proposing and I support it; to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is also what Widford Parish Council think.
Michael B. Buck.
Labels: Local Affairs.
The news that Libyan rebel forces have captured a town only 42 miles from Gaddafi’s stronghold, Tripoli, is welcome, as it suggests that his cause is weakening. However, beyond the prospect of his defeat, three matters need advance planning now:-
[A] ensuring that there is a viable provisional government , ready to take over;
[B] securing that the oil wells, refineries and equipment are in good working order, with adequate skilled staff to operate the same and sufficient steady supplies of crude to process; and
[C] providing adequate funds and credit to enable the new administration to govern effectively.
At all costs the disastrous aftermath of military victory in Iraq in 2003 must be avoided.
Michael B. Buck.