Buckingham Town Council (BTC) are asking residents to provide evidence of 'constant, continuous use' of a footpath they fear is threatened by a planning development by the town's University.
Back in July this paper reported that the University of Buckingham is planning on building a new accommodation block for their students on the corner of Station Road and Chandos Road, which incorporates a footpath that has been used for around three quarters of a century.
BTC, who would like to establish the footpath as a formal public right of way, have been unable to gain satisfactory clarity surrounding the footpath's future.
Councillor Robin Stuchbury said: “The development is getting closer and we have been unable to clarify their intentions regarding the right of way.”
In order to apply for the path to be protected as a legal right of way, BTC will need to prove that it has been in constant, continuous use for at least 20 years. This evidence can then be provided to the rights of way committee at Bucks County Council for consideration.
Known as the Railway Walk, the path in question runs along the old railway track from Tingewick Road to the A421 Southern Bypass.
At BTC's planning committee meeting on 2 July, 2018, Colin Stocker, estate bursar for the University, said: “We are trying as ever to assist the town into giving them what they want, we just don't feel we should be forced into a position where we have to have a condition of planning for that as a right of way across our site.”
The University has instead offered a permissive right of way, but this can be revoked at any time.
Councillor Margaret Gateley, Chair of the Environment Committee, said: “This path is very important to the local community. It provides a safe and pleasant off-road route across the town and is well used by commuters, school children and dog walkers. The Town Council believe it is essential that its future is protected.”
Evidence forms are available at the Tourist Information Centre at The Old Gaol or can be downloaded from the Buckingham Town Council website: Evidence Form
The completed form can be submitted by email to deputytownclerk@Buckingham-tc.gov.uk or printed out and posted to: Buckingham Town Council, The Buckingham Centre, Verney Close, Buckingham, MK18 1JP. It can also be handed in at the Tourist Information Centre at the Old Gaol.
Reiterating the institution’s stance, a spokesperson for the university added: “We have agreed a clause in the application which enables a right of way for any resident, or anybody to have access or walk across this land.”