Crime on public rights of way and other accesses
Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) is primarily a police responsibility. Although the Council sympathise with the nuisance and aggravation caused to residents by some users, it is currently legally difficult to gate many Public Rights Of Ways. The gating of private accesses however, is primarily the responsibility of those with the legal responsibilities in the land.
Any request for the gating/closure of routes should be submitted in writing to this department and the route marked on a plan. To assist in this process the Council operate two protocols (available on request). Protocol A relates to Council controlled footpaths. Protocol B concerns private accesses and leaves the responsibility for closing such accesses to private interests.
Any assessment on a request to close a PROW will be based on the applicable legal powers. New highway powers to allow gating of Public Rights Of Way for ASB reasons were introduced in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, however details of such powers are subject to regulations.
Alternative measures can be taken and such schemes are underway or proposed on the PROW network at Bustleholme Lane Open Space and Forge Mill Lake.
Any crime and ASB issues raised in inquiries will be forwarded on to the relevant Neighbourhood Manager and the Councils Crime Reduction officers to see if alternative measures can be taken in addition to/instead of considering closure.
From the PROW perspective one of the primarily concerns in making such an assessment is to establish whether the route is a public highway or not. However, any gating scheme on land that has unknown highway status runs the risk that the route may be claimed back as a PROW. This is a risk for the landowner to take, although if a route is well used the likelihood is that this possibility will increase. Further information on this can be found under the Changes to the PROW Register.
Please contact the PROW Team on 0121 569 4151 for an assessment of any proposals to gate of accesses.
Since 1 April 2006 legislation has been in place to allow the gating of public highways under certain circumstances. Initial enquiries about gating should be directed to the Neighbourhood Managers.