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Bristol/Bath TROs


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Over the last few years Bath and North East Somerset Council have received numerous complaints concerning problems linked to the use of the routes below by motor vehicles.

The Council's Public Rights of Way Team are considering closing these routes by a Traffic Regulation Order under one or more of the following subsections:

(a ) for avoiding danger to persons or other traffic using the road or any other road or for

preventing the likelihood of any such danger arising, or

(b ) for preventing damage to the road or any building on or near the road, or

(c ) for preventing the use of the road by vehicular traffic of a kind which, is unsuitable

having regard to the existing character of the road or adjoining property, or

(d) for preserving the character of the road in a case where it is specially suitable for use

by persons on horseback or on foot, or

(f) for preserving or improving the amenities of the area through which the road runs.

The routes are:

BA20/18 & BA11/22 - Mill Lane, Priston

Location map

This route runs from Priston Mill through the Conygre Brook by means of a ford across an arable field and into a wooded area. Just within the wooded area the byway crosses an historic mill leat and down a stoned track to a ford across the Newton Brook before rising the other side by means of a narrow stoned track to a farm track leading to Inglesbatch.

The Council's Archeological Officer states "the visible masonry below the byway appears to be of 18th or early 19th century date, but is in a poor state of repair having suffered recent damage from motor vehicles. Nevertheless, the structure is a significant archeological feature in the landscape, and given its association with the mill is worthy of preservation and protection."

The approach to this section across an arable field is also problematic. Whilst the route is left uncultivated, it has no engineered surfacing and is susceptible to being easily churned up by heavy vehicles and rendered difficult for other users. The approaches to Newton Brook ford on either side are sloped and experience has shown the difficulty in maintaining the surface of the route in such circumstances with the passage of heavy vehicles.

CL17/41 - Ringspit Lane, Pensford (off A37 lay-by)

Location map

The affected section runs from the A37 lay-by on Hursley Hill in a north-easterly direction for about 470metres to Blackrock Lane. The continuation of the byway from Blackrock Lane to Woollard Lane is not included in this proposal. For much of its length the route is narrow and sunken, dropping from the lay-by down to a ford across a small brook before rising to pass Roundlands Farm near Blackrock Lane.

There has been extensive misuse by motor vehicles of the area near the ford although the occupier has recently erected substantial amounts of fencing and wire to try and limit the damage. Nonetheless the route itself is rutted and muddy making passage for walkers and equestrians difficult. Although there is no equestrian link to the west from the lay-by, the lay-by itself would provide a suitable location to park horse-boxes and use Ringspit Lane to access further byways and quiet lanes.

This route also suffers from large amounts of fly-tipping / rubbish dumping and burnt out or abandoned vehicles. Recently a caravan was driven down the byway and "wedged" in the sunken lane blocking it for all users. Due to its accessibility off the A37 lay-by, without barriers preventing access for larger vehicles it is always likely to be vulnerable to such misuse. If a TRO is made for this route then barriers at the eastern end would be positioned to allow access to Roundlands Farm and adjacent property.

BA8/87 Compton Dando & CL17/34 Pensford - Birchwood Lane

Location map

This route begins at the eastern end of Woollard in Compton Dando parish and travels for about 180m along the course of Candlestick Brook. On leaving the brook at the parish boundary with Pensford, it climbs for almost 1km up a slope to meet the adopted class 4 highway Birchwood Lane which continues on to meet the A37 north of Chelwood Roundabout.

The water-course section of this byway, with water depths commonly of 300-600mm, is a considerable attractor to recreational 4WD vehicles which creates a number of problems. The width is limited to approximately 2m in places with banks rising steeply on either side. Should a vehicle meet another user in this section then there is no room to pass. The wash from the passage of vehicles is causing significant undercutting of the banks and potential collapses and undermining of adjacent land and there is considerable erosion at the entry points to the brook. The councils Ecologist has stated "the vehicle use is extremely likely to be causing detrimental ecological impacts". The volume of traffic that occasionally uses the route can create considerable disruption, disturbance and noise which may be considered inappropriate and out-of-keeping for an otherwise rural and peaceful location. Photographs have been provided showing large numbers of 4WD vehicles queuing on the road in Woollard near the start of the route and causing congestion for other road users.

CL17/34 from the brook exit up to the junction with the class 4 highway had become deeply rutted with wheel tracks and was difficult for pedestrian and equestrian use. The council carried out major resurfacing and drainage works which have provided a much improved route for these groups. However the unsealed surface is not considered sustainable for use by heavy vehicles as it is situated on a long slope with significant drainage issues.

Consultation and Decision

The PROW Team are seeking views on this proposal to enable a final decision to be taken on whether to proceed. Once the above information has been considered, comments would be gratefully received by 25 March 2009. If any objections to the proposal are submitted then the issue will be referred to the Cabinet Member for Customer Services for a decision.

Please submit your comments to:

Trevor Johnson

Engineer, Highway Design

Design and Projects Group

Planning and Transport Development

Floor 2, Riverside, Temple Street

Keynsham, Bristol BS31 1LA

Emails may be sent to: trevor_johnson@bathnes.gov.uk

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If you wish to object to these proposals it is suggested that objections on behalf of individuals are more effective than those on behalf of groups or clubs.

There is no need for the letter to be long if you are not sure what to write, something along the lines of:

Dear Sir,

I understand you propose placing a TRO on Byways Open to All Traffic BA20/18 & BA11/22 - Mill Lane, Priston, CL17/41 - Ringspit Lane, Pensford (off A37 lay-by) and BA8/87 Compton Dando & CL17/34 Pensford - Birchwood Lane.

These are routes I use from time to time and I believe that use is sustainable. I object to the proposed TRO as drafted because it includes mechanically propelled vehicles i.e. 4WD motors.

Other options are to expand on the objection giving reasons such as it appears that the authority are using a TRO to get out of their DUTY to repair and maintain. This is not a lawful use of a TRO.

What evidence or data are the proposals being made on?

Section 130, Highways Act 1980 places a duty on all highway authorities to assert and protect the rights of the public and their enjoyment of the highway.

Unlawful use of adjacent land and tipping of refuse is a criminal act - what consultation has been carried out with the local police force?

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I for one would be willing to participate in voluntary clearance of Ringspit, for example. I'd suggest the council could be "assisted" in their duty by volunteers moving scrap vehicles to the layby for onward clearance. In any case, barriers or dragons' teeth will just exclude the legal users and leave the vandals to dump cars etc down there in solitude.

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Mill Lane at Priston has been in dispute for some time now , The land owner is always blocking it with something , Wouldnt be supprised if He/she has something to do with the TRO `s ,

Ringspit has always been a classic lane combined with a bit of an off road play area (ORPA) for many years , But the landowner there has turned what was a beautiful valley into an illeagal landfill site , But I heard recently he has had his waste transfer licence approved , So more Tipping there then .

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Here's my e-mail I fired off today:

Reference: BA20/18 & BA11/22 - Mill Lane, Priston, CL17/41 - Ringspit Lane, Pensford (off A37 lay-by), BA8/87 Compton Dando & CL17/34 Pensford - Birchwood Lane

Dear Mr Johnson.

I am writing to formally state my objection to the making of a permanent Traffic Regulation Order to restrict use by motor vehicles on the above mentioned Byways Open to All Traffic.

The Mill lane damage which is referred to in the reason for the TRO is undoubtedly the problem, however the removal of access to all motor vehicles as a result would be unfair. Again I am sure that were it properly publicised people would be prepared to help out in maintaining this lane, and put down some sort of appropriate surfacing. It would be a shame to restrict access to such a picturesque lane simply for those reasons.

Regarding the BOAT at Ringspit Lane, to my knowledge a lot of the tipping and acess removal is done by the landowner himself, which is hardly conducive to sensible and sympathetic use by others. There are many local drivers of 4x4 who use these lanes for recreation as well as access and who I know who would be more than happy to voluntarily help to clear them up.

The damage to the Pensford/Birchwood lane was becoming a problem, however, since the repairs carried out by the council the lane is in much better state. It seems to me that simply acting on these irresponsible users of the lane or making the lane one way would solve many of the problems without resorting to a TRO and depriving those responsible users of their enjoyment.

Please record this e-mail therefore as my official objection to the closure of these lanes

Yours sincerely

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