Report of the Director for Corporate Services.
The Panel considered a report of the Director of Corporate Services regarding an application for a modification order under Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for upgrading Public Footpath 52 Swynnerton to a Public Bridleway.
The report was presented verbally to take Members through the various legal documentary and historical evidence relevant to the application. The Director also made reference to case law which dealt with the weight to be given to the evidence and gave guidance on the legal tests which they should apply. In applying these tests, Members were made aware that they should examine the evidence in its totality. During their consideration of the application, Members had regard to the Appendices attached to the report including; (i) Map of the claimed route; (ii) Copy of user evidence forms; (iii) Table of usage; (iv) Copy of 1910 Finance Act plans; (v) Copy tracing of Swynnerton Tithe map; (vi) Copy of OS map dater Early 1876, 2820s and 1800s; (vii) Copy of J&C Walkers map of Staffordshire of the 1850s; (viii) Copy of the Wright and Charrington’s Motoring, Cycling and Touring map of the early 1900s; (ix) Copy of the Deposited Railway Plan and Johnson and Bacons Road Atlas of 1940, reprinted in 1961; (x) Copy of Swynnerton Parish Survey map, Greenwood map 1820 and Teesdale map 1832 and; (xi) Copy of letter from Russell Poole Chartered Surveyor dated 25 October 2000.
The Panel Decided that that the available evidence was not sufficient to conclude that a Public Bridleway subsisted and therefore should not be added to the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way as such.
DECISION – That (a) the evidence submitted by the applicant and that discovered by the County Council was insufficient to show that, on a balance of probabilities, public bridle rights existed along Public Footpath No 52 Swynnerton.
(b) Public Footpath No 52 Swynnerton which was subject to the claim remains as a footpath as currently shown on the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way for the District of Stafford.
(c) no Order be made to upgrade the alleged right of way shown on the plan attached at Appendix B to the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way for the District of Stafford.