In May 2016 I submitted a Right of Way Claim to LCC Highways Department on behalf of the Gateacre Society. This claim was supported by 49 User Evidence Forms ('Form E'), which had been completed and signed by residents of Glenacres (12 forms), Woolton Park area (9), Acrefield Road (8), Hollytree Road (4) and various other roads (16). My own Form E was accompanied by 10 Annexes, consisting of maps and Council documents, etc., relating to the path. Copies of these (Annexes 1-10) are enclosed with this letter.
Since the Right of Way Claim was submitted on 23rd May, further documentary evidence has become available. This includes the Report (Agenda item A7) considered by the City Council's Planning Committee on 29th February 2000 (originally considered on 10th February 2000 as Agenda item B23) which is enclosed as Annex 11, and an extract from the Landscaping Layout Plan (drawing no. 11-01A dated October 1999, submitted by Wimpey Homes as part of planning application 99P/1289) which is enclosed as Annex 12. The Report was the basis on which the City Council granted planning permission 99P/1289 for what became Byron Court. Paragraph 5 of the 'Issues / Officer Assessment' section of the Report reads as follows:
"Councillor Kelly and certain local residents have expressed concern over the use of the access road between Woolton Park and Acrefield Road for vehicular traffic. This historic 'link' has enabled pedestrian and cycle access through the site, but restricted vehicular access via demountable bollards (to allow emergency vehicle access). The provision of a pedestrian/cycle link is desirable (on sustainable planning grounds), but local residents, with the support of Councillor Kelly and the Head of Planning, Transportation and Building Surveying, are concerned about any potential vehicular link. The submitted plans indicate that the link will be restricted to pedestrians and cyclists only, and this matter is conditioned accordingly".
The Landscaping Layout Plan - which is one of the 'submitted plans' referred to - contains the words "Maintain Pedestrian Link" alongside the path from Woolton Park towards Glenacres, and the words "Pedestrian Access Only" alongside symbols indicating three bollards across the roadway on the boundary with Glenacres. In combination, these documents (i.e. Annexes 11 and 12) prove that the path had been in use as a through route for some time prior to 2000.
The origin of the use of the full length of the path as a through route can be dated to 1977. The Report (ref. CPO/238/84) that was considered by the City Council's Development & Building Control Sub-Committee on 11th June 1984 (enclosed as Annex 7) states (paragraph 2) as follows:
"When the site [of what became Woolton Park Close] was occupied by the Children's Admission Unit, there was no legal right of way across the site although the public were allowed to cross the grounds between Woolton Park and Acrefield Road without any hindrance. The site was sold for development in 1977 when the developer closed the means of access from the Woolton Park side eliminating the use of the site by pedestrians across it. An alternative link between Woolton Park and Acrefield Road was achieved through the grounds of Glenacres and Acrefield Bank although again this is not a legal public right of way".
The plan attached to Report CPO/238/84 - which was the basis on which the City Council granted planning permission L263425 to omit the originally-proposed footpath from within the Woolton Park Close housing development - contains the words "Alternative Link" alongside the path which is now (32 years later) proposed for designation as a Public Right of Way. The fact that it was described in 1984 as "not a legal public right of way" is not, in our view, significant, because Liverpool did not have any 'legal' public rights of way until 2004 when the Definitive Map was confirmed by the City Council.
Continued . . .