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Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC local correspondent Jay Kynch helped out a cyclist friend Stephen Lindsay with advice on removing an obstruction in Miskin, near Llantrisant. The blocking of the Miskin path had caused a nuisance for months.
Stephen Lindsay, cyclist and blogger, tells his tale. The footpath, Llantrisant 360, that runs past Miskin cricket ground and the access road to the Miskin Manor Hotel is well used for a short circular walk around Miskin, a longer walk encompassing Groesfaen and Mwyndy, or as part of a cycling route that allows users of RCT’s Valleys community routes to follow the Ely valley to the lowland Vale of Glamorgan while avoiding major traffic.
“I first encountered an obstruction during the first week in May when I was prevented from cycling past the hotel by a security guard who informed me that the path was closed due to Covid 19 restrictions.
“On 25th September whilst approaching the path from the cricket ground end I noticed that the cycle access gate had been comprehensively blocked off with padlocked metal fencing. I could see no evidence of any closure notices so I contacted the local authority to enquire if there was a temporary closure, and if not, asked them to clear the obstruction. This is part of the reply I received:
“ ‘The Council has not authorised the path closures at this location and has asked the relevant owners on a number of occasions to remove any obstructions which hinder use of the paths crossing or entering their property. Despite these efforts, the owners have decided to ignore the advice and requests, and the obstructions are continuing. As a result, the Council has served notice on the owners requiring them to remove any on-going obstructions to the paths.’ ”
Obviously the council needed something to force the issue: complaints were not making anything happen, but the HA 1980 Section 130 route is not publicised. It makes the highway authority issue a notice, backed by legal events.
“On October 26th I cycled along the hotel access road and past the security guard who didn’t notice me until I passed the vehicle in which he was sitting. By the time I got to the narrow section on which various large log obstacles had been placed the security guard caught up with me and told me that the path was closed and that I was on private land. I told him it was a public right of way and continued, albeit with some difficulty, along the path. Tackling the blocked cycle gate at the far end of the path was particularly problematic.
“I contacted the local authority again on the 26th and at the same time contacted Jay Kynch. Jay suggested that I issue the local authority a Notice of Request to Secure the Removal of an Alleged Obstruction, she also sent me links to the guidance notes and relevant form (form 1).
“I submitted the notice during the first week in November and received an acknowledgment of receipt on the 6th.
“The next time I visited the location on November 21st I discovered that the locks and chains had been cut and the metal fencing had been removed from the cycle gate and the logs and branches had been cleared from the length of the path.”
On 25 November, Stephen received a copy of Form 2 which stated that the obstruction had been removed on November 13th and the local authority proposed to take no further action. Success.
Here is a link to our fact sheet about Section 130A called: Requiring the highway authority to act on an obstructed path