Agenda and minutes
Venue: The Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr, Usk, NP15 1GA with remote attendance
Contact: Democratic Services
Election of Vice Chair
County Councillor John Crook was elected Vice Chair.
Declarations of Interest.
County Councillor Tony Easson declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest pursuant to the Members’ Code of Conduct in respect of all agenda items as he was aware of the anti-social behaviour issues around the application by Monmouthshire County Council.
We received a report and presentation from the Countryside Access Manager and Definitive Map Officer and were informed that, under Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Authority has a duty to keep the Definitive Map and Statement under constant review. To meet this duty the Council is required to consider and determine cases with a view to making an order to change the Definitive Map and Statement (DM&S). The bringing into question of the route on the crest of the sea wall along with the public’s response necessitated research to determine whether, on the balance of probabilities, public rights do already exist through the site. Common Law and relevant legislation were explained. The presentation lasted 1.5 hours and detailed, location, land registry, objections, historical map evidence, definitive map and statements, aerial photos, site photos, and user evidence.
The purpose of the report is to consider all the historical evidence and decide whether to add the alleged footpaths to the DM&S for Monmouthshire. The Routes to be added in the community of Caldicot, are detailed on the order map.
Following the presentation, Members were invited to discuss, and comment and members of the public had the opportunity to speak, as follows:
· The Committee must not consider need, nuisance or suitability; only decide if the public have walked the route for a significant period.
· A Member asked about access routes to the firing range.
· A member of the public who lived in Caldicot had walked the route and said the flag posts made sense.
· A member of the public said he had used the sea wall path since he was 8 and he was now 70 and it was a lovely walk
· A member of the public noted the Wales Coastal Path route which runs inland of the two ranges was ugly and a more dangerous route for walkers and that the sea wall was a good path.
· A member of the public confirmed that there has been a sea wall concrete path underneath the buttress for at least 60/70 years and it is a popular walk used daily.
· The County Councillor for the area (who was representing the Firing Range), disputed several aspects of the evidence such as the path on the Definitive Map is accepted as eroded, is on the bullet catcher not the sea wall and the positioning of the sentry boxes and kissing gates do not confirm the original path as they are located to spot boats that are in range to ensure firing stops. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is unaware that there will be higher footfall on its range (G to N). There is no gain in making the route official as further sections will require review. When Red flags fly, walkers wait to pass over the bullet catcher whilst a ceasefire is requested, and guns checked for no ammunition. There are no bylaws covering public use. Health and Safety officers consider the site well managed.
· A Member of the ... view the full minutes text for item 3.