Update 30th April 2020
The Public Rights of Way Officer at North Yorkshire County Council has contacted the landowner regarding these illegal signs on the unsurfaced section of the unclassified road. Unfortunately, the Officer is unable to follow up the contact until the lockdown has been lifted. At the time of writing, the landowner has not yet responded.
Staveley residents, and dog-walkers in particular, may have seen the new signs that have appeared on and off Bedlam Lane. We have received a number of enquires about the new signs and would like to provide the following update on their status.
There are two sets of new signs:
- in the field that links footpath 15.124/8/1 to Bedlam Lane and
- on Bedlam Lane at the eastern end.
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The first set of signs on this informal path across the field are correct. Although the path has been used for many years by local residents, it is not a public right of way (PROW) and crosses private land.
The second set of signs on Bedlam Lane are less clear. Bedlam Lane itself is an unclassified road in two sections; section No. U8086/9/30 which is surfaced and section No. U8086/9/50 which is unsurfaced. It is private land and is not a PROW but is a public highway with public access, that could be subject to restrictions.
We have contacted North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) Countryside Access Service and have been advised by the Public Rights of Way Officer that there are currently no legal restrictions on public access on any part of this route.
We have also contacted the landowner, the Spellow Estate, to request that at least during the current restrictions on public mobility that residents be able to use footpath 15.124/8/1 and Bedlam Lane as a circular walk. The landowner has cited the following case for the new signs:
“We have observed a significant increase in the number of walkers locally. As I’m sure you will appreciate, when the general public stray onto private property the landowner becomes liable for any accidents that could occur on their land.
The increased number of walkers straying from public footpaths onto private land, often with their dogs off the lead, has given us serious cause for concern. Not only are we liable for the walkers but also their dogs.
Following discussions with our insurer the signs have been put in place to safeguard the estate from legal action should an accident occur on our private land.“
We have asked the NYCC Public Rights of Way Officer to clarify the situation with the landowner.
The landowner is very aware that a clearly defined circuit for the village would be sensible and would welcome a discussion with the Parish Council on this once Covid-19 has passed. An item to this effect will be placed on the agenda of the next Parish Council meeting.
All the PROWs in the parish and more information about the PROW network can be seen on our Public Rights of Way page.