The Definitive Map Modification Order Notice for Glenacres / Byron Court was published in the Liverpool Echo on 8th December. Liverpool City Council is inviting written 'representations or objections' before the Order can be confirmed. The closing date for such representations is 20th January 2017. Representations should be sent to the City Solicitor, Municipal Buildings, Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2DH, or emailed to email@example.com , and should be headed with the name of the Order, which is 'Liverpool City Council Definitive Map and Statement Modification No.5 Order 2016'. All representations must include the name and postal address of the person or organisation making them.
Note that the Order is for the ADDING of a footpath to Liverpool City Council's Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way. The argument is not that this is a new right of way, but that it has been in use since around 1970, when the flats in Glenacres were built, and that its omission from the Definitive Map when compiled in 1999-2004 was a mistake. If it can be proven that people were able to use the path without hindrance in the 1980s and 1990s (as the City Council has already accepted 'on the balance of probabilities', based on the evidence so far submitted) then it was a Public Right of Way in 2000 by virtue of Common Law. If it can also be shown that people were able to use the path without hindrance between March 1996 and March 2016 (when the wall was built) then the case is strengthened by virtue of the Highways Act 1980.
If you want the footpath to be confirmed as a Public Right of Way, you are asked to certify that you (and others) have been able to walk along the path without seeing any notices warning against such access, and without being told by anyone that you had no right to do so. The User Evidence Forms - 49 of which were submitted in May 2016 - already testify to this, but more detailed information is now needed. Please write down exactly when (i.e. between which years, and approximately how often) you walked along the path, and for what purposes, and please confirm that - prior to the wall being built - you were never challenged (either verbally or by means of a notice) or prevented from doing so. Please also make reference to the alternative routes that are now available for the journeys you used to make, and emphasise how much of a detour and how much inconvenience these alternatives involve.
The Byron Court Management Company have stated on their Landowner Evidence Form that there have been significant problems of crime and anti-social behaviour arising from the path, that "numerous residents have asked pedestrians and car owners/drivers to leave the property [and] on occasion been verbally abused to the point they lost their voice", and that notices have repeatedly been put up but "removed/ destroyed by persons unknown". If you consider these statements to be untrue, then please say so in your representations to the Council.
A basic tenet of Rights of Way law is that objections to a DMMO must be based on evidence. People cannot object simply on the grounds that they don't want a path to be designated as a Public Right of Way. If it can be proven that people were able to use the path prior to 2000 when Byron Court was built, then the residents of Byron Court will not be in a position to challenge this. We already have a copy of a planning document from 1984 indicating it as a pedestrian route between Woolton Park and Acrefield Road. We also have a copy of the planning permission from 2000 which allowed Byron Court to be built. This clearly states (Condition 7) that an access point must be provided for pedestrians and cyclists on the boundary with Glenacres. There is no truth in BCMC's allegation that a boundary wall previously existed across the roadway at this point, and that "the failure on behalf of the original developers to reinstate the boundary wall [was] simply a failure by builders to finish the job".