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Duke's legal threat over road.

Byline: Brian Daniel Northumberland reporter brian.daniel@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE Duke of Northumberland's business arm has threatened to seek legal advice over plans to create vehicular access to its land.

Northumberland Estates has issued the warning to Northumberland County Council amid the authority's moves to register a route on the land at Chatton, near Alnwick, as a byway open to all traffic (BOAT).

The Estates - which is also opposing two other bids relating to rights of way on land it owns - has described the attempt as "highly inappropriate".

Yet the authority is pressing ahead with its proposal, claiming there is sufficient evidence that public vehicular rights are believed to exist.

The county council is proposing to have the U1103 between the B6348, east of Chatton, and Amerside Law included in a future Definitive Map Modification Order as a BOAT.

A report to a meeting of the authority's rights of way committee tells how the authority sought to evaluate the status of the route as part of a general review, and concluded there was enough evidence to suggest it should be registered as a BOAT.

The Estates sent two letters to the council, threatening to seek legal advice should the proposal proceed.

In the first, its official states: "Whilst I appreciate what is trying to be achieved here, the estate has already made their statement and had it lodged with regard to any public rights of access across the estate land.

"The estate is of the opinion that no rights of access additional to those that we have already granted do exist...

"I would think it highly inappropriate that any additional rights of access were created and, in light of the statement we have made, we would wish to have the full right of objection and have the opportunity to discuss all issues with every user that the estate have given consent to in order to prevent any additional access being created."

The second states: "The view as previously stipulated of the estate is that private routes should not be byways open to all traffic, they are not maintained by any other party and use in the vast majority of locations is restricted to that of the estate, its tenants, gamekeepers etc for dealing with its maintenance and management of the estate land.

"Some of the areas are completely inaccessible and would not be able to be passable, it would be inappropriate to enable a route to be re-opened or created causing detriment to the environment and sensitive wildlife in some of the locations suggested.

"If this matter was to progress any further obviously the estate would take legal advice with regard to this."

The proposed designation of a BOAT has drawn further objections from local resident Bob Scott and business EF Brown and Sons.

The British Horse Society has supported the move, although it says it should be given a low priority.

And the council is proceeding, with a recommendation to Tuesday's meeting that the route be recorded as a byway.

The report states: "In light of the user and documentary evidence submitted, it appears that public vehicular rights have been reasonably alleged to exist over alleged byway open to all traffic number 49.

"It would be appropriate to recognise the public's rights over the route by recording it on the definitive map as a byway open to all traf-fic."At the same meeting, the estate is opposing two further applications, to register a public footpath at Kirkwhelpington and two bridleways at Hollinghill and Tosson.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 5, 2015
Words:592
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