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The society is delighted that a new public highway has been recorded at Ramsgate harbour in Kent. The route runs between Madeira Walk and the lower esplanade at the harbour via a flight of steps and a tunnel.
The society’s local correspondent for Thanet, Gordon Sencicle, backed the claim. Because there was an objection, the matter was determined by Helen Slade, inspector with the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The claim for the path to be added to the official map was based on documentary evidence. Kent County Council, the surveying authority, has a legal duty to investigate the existence of public rights of way in the area of Ramsgate which was previously excluded from the statutory requirement to produce an official (definitive) map of public rights of way. When the council investigated the evidence it found that the route was included in the national street gazetteer for the Thanet Highway Management Unit, dated April 1999. This document listed those routes that are publicly maintained and accepted as adopted footways by the Thanet District Council.
The adjoining landowner, Mr Panteli, objected to the inclusion of the path on the official map and had erected two gates across it. His objection was based principally on concerns about anti-social behaviour and much of it was irrelevant, since the only matters the inspector could consider were related to evidence that the route was a highway.
The path was supported by former Ramsgate MP Steve Ladyman, the Ramsgate Society and the Ramblers, as well as the Open Spaces Society.
The inspector confirmed the order and the route is therefore recognised as a public footpath to be added to the map.
Says Gordon Sencicle: ‘This is an excellent outcome and we congratulate Kent County Council for pursuing it. This is particularly valuable as it will provide a link into the Ramsgate to Folkestone coastal access path from the next proposed stage, Ramsgate to Whitstable.’