THE PUBLIC INQUIRY,
INTO THE GLENACRES / BYRON COURT PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY ORDER
The Public Inquiry opened on 27th March 2018 at Woolton Golf Club. All seats were taken, leaving the Inspector, Mr Martin Elliott, in no doubt that this was a matter of great local interest. The first day was taken up with submissions from Liverpool City Council and the Gateacre Society's witnesses, arguing the case for the Order that will add the Glenacres/Byron Court path to the city's Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way. The case was based on the use that has been made of the path over the past 40 years, the references to it that were made by Planning Officers in 1984 and 2000, and the absence of signage which the landowners should have posted if they did not want it to become a Right of Way.
The case for the Byron Court Management Company - the people who had built the wall in March 2016 - was presented by Colin Rutherford, a retired police officer who subjected each witness to cross-examination, hoping to expose errors and inconsistencies in what they had written. He seemed to be hoping to prove that their support for the Right of Way was some kind of Woolton/Gateacre Society conspiracy, rather than a reflection of their genuinely-held personal views.
On the second day of the Inquiry, 28th March, it was Colin Rutherford, his brother Neil (who lives in Byron Court), two former Byron Court residents and a Sutton Kersh employee who had to answer questions. They told of acts of antisocial behaviour - which the Inspector had already made clear were not relevant to his decision on the Right of Way - and of repeated challenges to passers-by, most of whom, they claimed, had meekly apologised and said they wouldn't use the path again. The witnesses also, however, confirmed that the notices displayed had only referred to 'private property', and to the fact that the Byron Court bins and parking spaces were for the use of residents only. At no time had there been any written indication that the path was not a Pubic Right of Way.
There was much discussion of the chain that is alleged to have been hung between the bollards, to prevent the passage of non-emergency vehicles between Acrefield Bank/Byron Court and Glenacres. However, even the Management Company's witnesses admitted that it was possible for pedestrians and cyclists to step over, squeeze under or walk around this chain.
Continued . . .