The paths – all in the vicinity of the former Ingol Golf Course – range from being barely passable and even blocked off in some areas to others which are hard-surfaced and give every appearance of already being rights of way.
The applications for the routes to be added to what is known as the “definitive map” were made back in the year 2000 by a member of the Mid Lancashire branch of the Ramblers’ Association, who has since sadly passed away.
A meeting of Lancashire County Council’s regulatory committee – held last month before the coronavirus lockdown began – heard that the delay had been a caused a belief that new developments in the area would have “overtaken” the making of new public footpath orders and allowed for the routes to be incorporated into any changes made in the area.
The orders which have been approved by the committee will now be advertised to allow for any objections to be made before they are formally confirmed.
The unanimous decision by members hinged in part on whether the former Central Lancashire Development Corporation – which co-ordinated plans for housebuilding in the area during the 1970 and 1980s – had meant for the routes to become public footpaths.
“[There is] evidence of constructions in certain parts – ditch crossings, stiles and the way paths were formally surfaced,” said County Hall’s senior solicitor Jane Turner, speaking about one of the paths from Lightfoot Lane to Tanterton Hall Road.
“They…clearly intended a route which matches that which we have got user evidence for.”
Orders for the creation of public footpaths can also be based on the ability to show that they have been used continuously for a period of 20 years – in this case, because of the date that the request for recognition was first made, that meant evidence was required to show use between 1980 and 2000. In some cases, locals attested that they had trodden the paths for several decades longer than that.
The county council’s public rights of way manager, David Goode, told the committee why it was important to set the record straight so long after the initial application.
“As things change in society, some routes will become less used for a bit and then become more popular for all sorts of different reasons. Unless we’ve got them recorded, more resources need to be put into protecting them at a later stage,” Mr. Goode explained.
If any objections are received to the definitive map modification order, a government inspector will be asked to determine the status of the routes.
WHERE ARE THEY?
These are the routes for which orders have been made:
***Open junction with Lightfoot Lane (north east of property 147A) to open junction with Footway F8513 at Tanterton Hall Road (crossing Tom Benson Way in the process)
*** Open junction with Walker Lane (U10628) to trodden path in an area of woodland to the rear boundary of Parr Lodge; then from two-step stile in boundary fence at junction with Walker Lane (U10628) to open junction with Lightfoot Lane (B6241), opposite properties known as Sunnybank and The Oaks
*** Junction with Manor Court immediately south of the boundary fence between property numbers 6 and 7 to junction with footpath Fulwood 43.
*** Junction with Footpath Preston 64 to two metres east of bridge across Sharoe Brook.
*** Open junction with Lower Greenfield between property numbers 40 and 41 to junction of application routes with footpaths Fulwood 43 and 46.
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