Boats Rupps and RBS
Concern has been expressed locally about information arriving in various forms which seems to imply that two of our peaceful country paths could be opened up to traffic and become available as dirt tracks for trail bikes and other off-roaders. This article is an attempt at an explanation of what is known so far and how we might resist detrimental change.
The County Council is having to re-examine some decisions taken in 2006 when all tracks previously designated “RUPPS” (Roads used as public path) became “Restricted Byways” (RBS) under “NERC” (the National Environment and Rural Communities Act). Restricted Byways are routes only available to walkers, horse riders, cyclists and other non-motorised users, i.e. No Motor Vehicles Allowed.
In late 2005 & early 2006, as this change was imminent, County Councils were inundated with objections from groups representing off-road motor enthusiasts. All were seeking to legitimise the use of motor vehicles and were trying to register these RUPPS as Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATS).
The government ruled that claims of this sort registered after January 2005 would also lose any historic rights of vehicular use with five rare exceptional circumstances. To see all five exceptions please click this link
At the time Gloucestershire County Council decided jointly that no exceptional circumstances applied to any claims of this type in Gloucestershire, so all the RUPPS in the County became Restricted Byways.
Last year, the government agency, DEFRA, modified some guidelines. This means that the council must now revisit each of those 2005/6 claims to see if any of those five exceptions apply.
Two such claims in this category were local to here. Both were made by the Trail Riders Fellowship based in Nailsworth.
- Campden Lane, the track which runs from the top of Brockhampton by ‘Wychwood’ past Elsdon Barn to Syreford occasionally erroneously called the Salt Way by some walks guides, (the Salt Way actually runs further to the East). (footpaths KSE9 and KWH12)
- Puckham Scrubs Lane The track running west from Whitehall Farm over Puckham Scrubs to Puckham where the route continues on the road until it comes out at the top of Aggs Hill. It starts near that little shed you may have seen along road from Whittington/Syreford to the car park at our end of Cleeve Common and Warden’s Wood. (Footpath KSE2)
County Archives should prove that exceptions 2 to 5 do not apply but we might need to put some input into consideration of Exception 1 which applies if the route was used more by motors than other users e.g walkers, cyclists, riders etc between 2001 and 2006.,
What we need to demonstrate is that there was no regular use of these two tracks by motor vehicles between 2000 and 2006. Anyone who used these routes and was around at the time can submit their own personal memory of how these tracks were used particularly between those years. Villagers who have lived here for many years certainly can confirm that they have only been used for walkers, riders etc and only the occasional farm vehicle.
Strangely the Council have said that they cannot take into account other factors such as peace, tranquillity, beauty or track surface in their review but shouldn’t they at least be made aware of exactly how we value the tranquillity enjoyed while using these lanes for walking, riding etc?
If you wish to contact Gloucestershire County Council:
You can write (before 28th June) to the Highway Records & DMMO, Gloucestershire County Council, Block 5, 6th Floor West, Shire Hall, Gloucester GL1 2TH.
Quote: DMMO Application Reclassification of Restricted Byways (formerly RUPPS)
KSE9 and KWH12 for the Campden Lane application
KSE2 for Puckham Scrubs Lane
Parish Council Meeting
The Parish Council is holding a meeting to discuss this on Monday 5th June at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. There will be an open session for members of the public to speak and our County Councillor Paul Hodgkinson is attending the meeting.