Another victory for Humpty over common sense and decency:
A LENGTHY wrangle over a Tadcaster footpath has ended in defeat for county council officials and rights-of-way campaigners.
The path formerly provided access to a former railway viaduct across the River Wharfe, which linked the two sides of the town.
But the 270-yard route, situated on land previously owned by child welfare charity Barnardo’s, was blocked off in 2012 after the land was bought by a subsidiary of Samuel Smith’s Brewery.
Local residents set up an action group to persuade it to re-open the path, claiming it had been publicly used for more than 20 years without challenge, and North Yorkshire County Council backed the reopening.
But the company argued argued that, over 20 years, fences had been broken down or people had climbed over them to use the path, meaning it had not been continually used “without force or permission having to be given.”
After a public inquiry in January 2015, an inspector made an interim decision in favour of the local authority, but that has now been reversed, with the inspector deciding not to confirm a right of way order.
“This means that route will not be recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement as a public right of way,” said a council spokeswoman. “This has been an unusually lengthy case focusing in the end on matters of law. The council is reviewing the detail of the decision but it appears unlikely that any further action will be taken.”
Councillor Chris Metcalfe said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ for residents who had put together a compelling case and council officials were ‘absolutely shattered’ by the decision.