This DMMO application concerned a historical public footpath in Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire. The underlying section 53 application was made back on 5 August 1987. Whilst the order-making authority determined to make the order on 2 September 1988, the order was not, in fact, made until almost 30 years later, on 12 June 2017. The order-making authority also chose not to support the order’s confirmation – initially objecting to it and then adopting a neutral stance.
The application was supported by both documentary and user evidence, albeit the user evidence forms provided evidence of use of the claimed route between the 1920s and 1950s and the delay in making the Order had meant that those users were no longer available to give oral evidence at the Inquiry.
The Inspector was satisfied that, taken together, the documentary and user evidence was of sufficient weight to show on the balance of probabilities that the claimed route was a historical public footpath which fell into disuse at some point during the middle of the twentieth century. The Inspector confirmed the order with modifications mainly relating to the width of the route. The Inspector also found that the nearly 30-year delay by the order-making authority was “clearly unreasonable” in the circumstances.
Merrow Golden acted for the supporter of the application, instructed by Sue Rumfitt of Sue Rumfitt Associates