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Chichele field footpaths pass first hurdle

We are delighted to say that three new rights of way across Chichele field in Oxted were unanimously approved last Friday (22 June 2018) by Surrey County Council's Tandridge Local Committee which consists of Tandridge District Councillors and Surrey County Councillors.

The routes are shown on the attached map.

However, the Committee's decision is open to appeal. There is a six week period when an objection may be lodged, in which case the evidence then has to go before a Planning Inspector who may call a Public Inquiry.

A Surrey County Council countryside officer recommended the paths for approval after studying evidence from residents about their usage of the field.

Her report concluded: ".... it is the Officer's view that public footpath rights have been acquired over the routes under section 31 of the Highways Act 1980. Notwithstanding this it is also argued that rights have also been acquired at common law. This being the case the Officer would submit that it can be reasonably alleged that rights have been acquired and that the routes should be recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement for Surrey as public footpaths."

OLRG made the application for the rights of way in 2013 after entrances to the field were blocked off with hoardings and barbed wire by development company Oxted Residential Limited so that residents could no longer access the land.

At the same, the developers ring-barked ten old trees on the field, including a number of mature oaks, to deliberately destroy them.

OLRG collected 74 statements from residents about their long standing usage of the field and, in November 2013, we submitted the rights of way application to the County Council.

Very many thanks to all the residents who gave evidence and assisted with the application and who have helped to make this happen.