Access to the weirs
Published: 27 July 2020
STATEMENT FROM COUNCIL
IN RESPECT OF THE NEWLY ERECTED FENCING AND GATE TO THE NORTH OF THE FOOTPATH THAT CROSSES THE WEIRS IN SUTTON
The Parish Council have now had the opportunity to consider this matter at two Council meetings and have agreed that the Council does not wish to take action itself regarding this matter. Council has also considered comments from many residents who all have differing views on the matter.
The Council has been in contact with the landowner, who has confirmed the reasons why the fence has been erected. The landowner is unable to meet with representatives from the Council at the present time.
District and County Councillor Webber has ascertained from the relevant authorities that:-
- The Vale of the White Horse are not able to take action in relation to the erection of the fence as a 1 metre high fence is considered permitted development
- Oxfordshire County Council have confirmed that they have no budget to fight the potentially not inconsiderable legal costs of challenging the landowners right to fence off a path which has been used by the public for at least 20 years but which is not recorded as a public Right of Way. There would be a case but no certainty of outcome.
There is no public right of way over the land recorded on the definitive map of the area. In order for one to be established a DMMO (Definitive Map Modification Order) would need to be applied for. It would need to be accompanied by witness statements confirming that they have used the way without interruption for 20 years. Each witness will need to complete a formal statement and mark on the path that they have walked.
A DMMO can be made, free of charge, by any member of the public.
The Parish Council considers that this would be an opportunity for members of the local community who feel strongly about the issue to pursue the matter themselves if they are so minded.