Newport’s Battle for public rights of way for Station Road Green fields

The Battle of Newport continues attempts to retainStation Road Fields for local people’s enjoyment and recreation

Submission made for Public Rights of Way across Station Road Fields, Newport, Shropshire 

At the Station Rd Planning Inquiry held in February 2013 into the proposed joint venture between Telford & Wrekin Council and St Modwen’s to build a large out of town superstore for Sainsbury’s on greenfield land at Station Rd, local resident Janet Clarke told the Inspector of her intent to have the informal footpaths on the site adopted as formal public rights of way.

A formal application has now been submitted to Telford & Wrekin Council under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, supported by evidence statements from thirty-five local residents who have been using these paths over the past 20 years.  The application is to designate these paths as public rights of way and add them to the Council’s definitive rights of way map.  Mrs Clarke’s action follows directly from the Village Green Inquiry held in October 2012,  after which the Inspector suggested that although the evidence presented by local witnesses was insufficient for her to designate the land as a Village Green, she accepted that the footpaths had been well used over the past 20 years and so potentially fulfilled the criteria to be designated public rights of way.

Telford & Wrekin Council will now examine the evidence of past and present use of these paths and decide shortly whether these paths should be formally recognised as public rights of way.  If these paths are designated by the Council as formal public rights of way, there are likely to be implications for the proposed Sainsbury’s superstore:  should the Inspector of the Station Rd Public Inquiry recommend approval of the scheme to the Secretary of State  there will then need to be a further public inquiry into any proposed diversion of  any such designated footpaths.

April 2 2013

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