(vi) "We can evidence discussions we have had with both Merseyside Police and Local Authority Planning Department to try and resolve these issues. … It is based on their findings and the advice they've given, that we have had the original boundary wall reinstated, to the original specification and based on the plans relating to the construction of Byron Court".
(vii) "We feel that the Application for Modification … is unwarranted and that The Gateacre Society has been canvassing for support, rather than there being a general public outcry regarding any potential loss of access".
(viii) "The failure on the part of the original developers to reinstate the boundary wall, cannot be construed as an indication to determine a public right of way. It is simply a failure by builders to finish the job".
In view of the fact that the Gateacre Society is mentioned by name twice within these statements, we cannot allow the Management Company's allegations to go unchallenged. Statement (i) is disproven by the Planning Report from 1984 (i.e. Annex 7), and statement (ii) is disproven by the Report from 1999 (i.e. Annex 11). Statement (iv) is disproven by the large number of User Evidence Forms that have been completed, all of which state that there were - prior to the wall being built - no signs or other warnings against using the path as a through route. Statement (viii) is based on the assumption that there was once a boundary wall between Acrefield Bank and Glenacres, which clearly there wasn't.
Regarding statement (iii) - about the role of the Gateacre Society when the Definitive Map was originally compiled - there most certainly is evidence that we sought to have the path included. Copies are enclosed, numbered as follows:
(Annex 18). Letter and enclosures sent by me (on behalf of the Gateacre Society) to Brian Mason of LCC Highways Department on 11 April 2002. One of the enclosures is a list of 'additional paths' in the Gateacre/Woolton area, originally suggested by me for formal designation as Public Rights of Way as long ago as 1994. This list includes - as path MC19 - the pedestrian route in question.
(Annex 19). Letter sent to me (in reply to the 11 April letter) by Brian Mason on 10 August 2002. This refers to a series of emails and telephone conversations, and offers a meeting to discuss each of the 21 identified paths. Unfortunately I have no written record of any subsequent meetings, but my recollection is that, in his view, use of the path was so well-established and the path itself so clearly defined that its formal inclusion on the Rights of Way Map was not necessary.
Regarding statement (vii) - about the role of the Gateacre Society more recently - it is untrue to say that we have had to go "canvassing for support". Within days of the wall being built in March 2016, numerous local residents had contacted the Council - by telephone or email - asking for the wall to be removed. I was one of them. The initial response from both LCC Planning and LCC Highways officers was that "nothing can be done because it's not on our map of Rights of Way". However, I persisted and eventually, on 25 April, I was sent a copy of the Council's Rights of Way Claims Pack, which I was told I could copy and distribute to others. It was the City Council's Highways Department who - faced with the prospect of having to process 40 or more individual claims from local residents - then asked me to submit a single claim on behalf of all. The Gateacre Society has a longstanding interest in rights of way matters, and I - as the Society's Environment Secretary - have been conducting correspondence of this type for over 30 years.
Continued . . .