GLENACRES / BYRON COURT PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY ORDER PUBLISHED
The Definitive Map Modification Order Notice for Glenacres / Byron Court was published in the Liverpool Echo on 8th December 2016. Liverpool City Council invited written 'representations or objections' before the Order could be confirmed. The closing date for such representations was 20th January 2017.
The Order - 'Liverpool City Council Definitive Map and Statement Modification No.5 Order 2016' - was for the ADDING of a footpath to Liverpool City Council's Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way. The argument was that it has been in use since the 1970s, 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.
The Byron Court Management Company stated on their Landowner Evidence Form (July 2016) 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". However, 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".
The Byron Court Management Company have argued that "the Gateacre Society has been canvassing for support, rather than there being a general public outcry regarding any potential loss of access". We know that, in fact, this Public Right of Way was in regular use by literally hundreds of local residents going about their lawful business, until the wall was built in March 2016. People living in Glenacres, Hollytree Road and elsewhere are currently unable (except by means of a lengthy and uncomfortable detour via Woolton Mount, or an even longer detour via Woolton Hill Road or Mount Street) to reach Reynolds Park, the post box in Woolton Park, St Mary's RC Church, St Peter's Church, Bishop Martin School, etc., while people living in the Woolton Park area - including, no doubt, some of the residents of Byron Court itself - face similar detours if they want to reach the Acrefield Road bus stops or the shops and other amenities of Woolton Village.