Author Topic: Leach Fields footpaths  (Read 129236 times)

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Offline James Bentall

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2009, 02:31:02 pm »
There's probably some hoarding going cheap at the other end of the village if they want to do the job properly. . .

However i presume the only reason they have said that access will be restricted is to stop a right of way being created which would be a problem if they did ever try for development?
James Bentall, Brookmans Park, Herts.
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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2009, 02:52:20 pm »

However i presume the only reason they have said that access will be restricted is to stop a right of way being created which would be a problem if they did ever try for development?


I don't think previous use will count, and it wasn't open, common land, as far as I know, so it will never be in the same league as Kinder Scout.  It was nice while it lasted. I'll miss those paths.

David
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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2009, 11:32:09 pm »
David, The gate in your first photo was boarded up yesterday morning, but most of it had been pulled away by the time I saw it. It appears to have all been removed now.

 

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2009, 08:13:08 am »
Hi Mike,

It must have been early afternoon, because I took those picture at noon yesterday (3 January). I'll take some new pictures today. Looks a nice day for a walk.

David
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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2009, 09:39:52 am »
David, The gate in your first photo was boarded up yesterday morning, but most of it had been pulled away by the time I saw it. It appears to have all been removed now.



Hi Mike,

Mystery partially solved.

According to some very nice women I met walking their enthusiastic dogs this morning, the gate you mentioned did have some boards across it, but they were removed.

So none of the entrances are sealed and there are no warning signs to let people know that they are trespassing on private land if they walk on Leach Fields.

Some more pictures.



The gate in question, leading from Gobions/Moffats Open Space looking south towards Leach Fields
(09:10, Jan 4, 2009)



The entrance from Bluebridge Road. The gate is padlocked, but the foot acess is still open. No signs
(08:58,  Jan 4, 2009)



The legal, alternative way into Gobion's Woodland via the footpath at the south east side of Bluebridge
(09:00, Jan 4,2009)



The view from Gobions Woodland Trust land looking to the west and out over Leach Fields
(09:02, Jan 4, 2009)



The view from Gobions Woodland Trust land at an entrance to Leach Fields part way up the path from the Woodland to Gobions Open Space
(09:04, Jan 4, 2009)



Another entrance to Leach Fields from the same path from the Woodland to Gobions Open Space
(09:05, Jan 4, 2009)

David



« Last Edit: January 04, 2009, 10:14:02 am by David Brewer »
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Offline James Bentall

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #35 on: January 04, 2009, 01:06:07 pm »


According to some very nice women I met walking their enthusiastic dogs this morning, the gate you mentioned did have some boards across it, but they were removed.

Ah yes, but who were they removed by? Militant dog walkers or ramblers who still want access (or dog walkers/ramblers who are unaware of the lease expiry and just want a walk!) , or Leach Homes?
James Bentall, Brookmans Park, Herts.
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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2009, 02:35:17 pm »
Ah yes, but who were they removed by? Militant dog walkers or ramblers who still want access (or dog walkers/ramblers who are unaware of the lease expiry and just want a walk!) , or Leach Homes?

There is no evidence of there being any boarding, nor are there any planks of wood on the ground. So whatever was there has been taken away.
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Offline Ann

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2009, 11:21:24 am »
It is sad all this news. I kept my pony in the leach fields during the early 60's as did other children who enjoyed having a pony.
One year the horses escaped and trampled someone's garden in Moffats Lane. My father was not best pleased.
Still it is a time gone by and I think as you get older ( I will be 60 next month) you find it more difficult to except change.
I think a time will come when we will see the fields built on. Telling a young family who (a) need somewhere to live (b) have no memory of what is once looked like. Will no doubt say to themselves something like 'At her age she is looking back on her youth... Older people don't like change' ... They would be right.
 

Offline Mary_Morgan

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2009, 07:11:55 pm »
Yes, Ann it is sad for us "old dears".  I  remember the night the horses got out.    Never mind your father not been too pleased, the man who owned the house (first one on the left as you come up Moffats onto the old metalled road at the top) was not too pleased either with hoof prints all over his immaculate lawn and with a lot of demolished prize daffodils.  ;)

I lived in a house in Bluebridge Road that backed onto the "Leach Fields" from the age of 1 to 21, so it was all my childhood playground (and a great place to ride the horses around).  I am not sure we ever thought about who owned them before (the Canhams of Moffats Farm) or after they became Leach Fields - we just climbed over the fence at the end of the garden and went off wherever we chose

I do not know/recall whether Leach Homes have applied for planning permission on the fields since they built the "new" houses on the south side of Moffats.    I cannot help admire their staying power - Hubert Leach must have bought those fields,  with a "hope value"  from the Canhams the best part of 50 years ago.   No doubt, in today's terms they were cheap, but they probably were not at the time.

If the chance of the Leach Fields of ever getting planning permission is still as remote as it has been for the last 50 odd years, is there any merit in the Gobions Woodland Trust trying to buy them from Leach Homes if they have the funds?

Ann, great memories - but being 60 is quite good fun - I got there in Oct 2008.

Mary

 

Offline Mermaid

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2009, 06:19:41 pm »
The entrance to Leach Fields from Bluebridge Road is now sporting a tall piece of wire fencing, which has effectively blocked off that entrance. What a shame!!

I have been walking through that gap and across those fields for 30 odd years and this is a sad day indeed        :(




 

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2009, 07:57:27 pm »
Hi Mermaid,

It's sad for us, and we have only been here 12 years. Must be really tough if you grew up here.  A forum user submitted this picture soon after the fencing went up.

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Offline stevea

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #41 on: March 24, 2009, 07:59:44 am »
Has anyone thought of taking the fence down??? - and see what happens.
 

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #42 on: March 24, 2009, 08:02:43 am »
Hi Steve,

Apparently, yes. This was the scene at 7am this morning at the northern entrance to Leach Fields. It must have taken a lot of strength to do that much damage. I wouldn't like to meet that dog before it's had its dinner.



David
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Offline stevea

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #43 on: March 24, 2009, 08:08:25 am »
Hi David. Well, that was good timing! I thought that might happen - it's the first thing that went through my head - but I can prove it's not me! Whoever did it, well done!  :)
 

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #44 on: March 24, 2009, 09:13:27 am »
I've been talking to a few of my neighbours, some of whom have been walking the same paths across those fields for even longer that I have.

Surely there must be a right of way if we've been walking the paths for 30 years or more?

Here's a link I've just been looking at which shows what might be required:

http://www.hertsdirect.org/infobase/docs/pdfstore/MODPackSample08.pdf

It would need everyone to pull together, anyone else up for it?


 

Offline AnneK

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2009, 09:25:44 am »
Yes, absolutely. Good for whoever pulled down that fence. It needed to come down, if only for aesthetic reasons. Ugly, ugly ugly.
 

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2009, 10:05:51 am »
A local resident has written to the council this morning requesting that a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is placed on the mature oaks and elms in the Leach Fields, part of Wildlife Site 150. The letter claims that the elms are probably unique in Hertfordshire. According to the author:

Quote
"the reason for the urgency is that Leach Homes has just begun sealing off entrances to the fields and begun excavation work."

The images below show the trees that the author feels need protecting. If you share these concerns, click here for more details about who to contact.



Elms in Leach Fields



Oak in Leach Fields



Oak in Leach Fields
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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2009, 10:14:39 am »
A reminder to all who post in this thread. Although the strength of feeling is understandable, this site does not condon criminal damage or trespass and we urge all posters to express their feelings fully with the law.

David
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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2009, 12:08:01 pm »
I've been talking to a few of my neighbours, some of whom have been walking the same paths across those fields for even longer that I have.

Surely there must be a right of way if we've been walking the paths for 30 years or more?

Here's a link I've just been looking at which shows what might be required:

http://www.hertsdirect.org/infobase/docs/pdfstore/MODPackSample08.pdf

It would need everyone to pull together, anyone else up for it?


Absolutely not! As I understand it the owners of Leach Fields allowed public access to their fields.  There was no requirement for them to do so, but this gesture provided the community with a valuble and much appreciated resource for 30 years. If that creates rights of way across their land then it will be a strong disincentive for them or others to make a similar gesture in the future. Leach Fields is a great loss, but I don't see why the owners should be punished.
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2009, 12:33:36 pm »
I was just about to post something when John made his post.  Here are a few thoughts:

Leach Homes have, apparently, owned these fields for 70 years, which was before Green Belts were created.  Obviously they intended to put houses on the land at some stage.  Then along came Green Belts in the 1950s and then in the 1970s there were a number of proposals to put houses on various areas around Brookmans Park, Welham Green and Little Heath.  The NM District Green Belt Soc was created in 1976 and successfully opposed these proposals.  The only major developments since then were Shrublands and Woodlands at the end of Calder Avenue.

The current Government is determined to build lots of homes in the South East and East of England, and has decided that 10,000 homes have to be built in Welwyn Hatfield in 2001-2021 and land designated for another 5,000.   The current consultation by the council about where to put these homes includes figures showing that about 8,000 of the 15,000 will have to go on Green Belt land.  Leach Homes obviously think there is now a chance that Leach Fields might be taken out of the Green Belt to put homes on the land.  Very logical, and must be why they did not renew the lease to GWT.

If Rights of Way route(s) can be established over Leach Fields, I would have thought that if the worst happened and housing did get built on the fields, those routes would have to be incorporated into the road system to allow people to continue walking across the estate to and from Bluebridge Road and Avenue and Gobions Wood /Open Space.  If that is correct then all efforts to create Rights of Way would be worthwhile.  Obviously the Green Belt Soc is doing all it can, with your help, to ensure they remain as fields with Green Belt and Nature Conservation Area protection.

To answer one of John's points, Leach Homes must have been aware of the likelihood of Rights of Way being created when they allowed public access across the fields.

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2009, 01:08:52 pm »
All entrances are now being blocked with earth and brambles.

This image sent in from a local resident who used to walk their dog in the area.





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Offline joebrownlie

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2009, 01:22:54 pm »
As a new contributor to the webpage (but not new to Brookmans Park), I am also very disappointed to see the Fence being erected and our way across those wonderful fields blocked. I walk them regularly, usually 3 times daily, and feel a real pleasure in their seasonal beauty; even to extent that I always pick litter (on Sunday morning, I cleared 5 large bags of beer/vodka bottles and beer cans from the main field following some 'unauthorised' party!

My main contribution would be that illegal action is unhelpful but concerted informed legal action can be powerful I would be happy to add my name to this. Is someone masterminding a village voice?

Joe 

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #52 on: March 24, 2009, 01:28:52 pm »
Hi Joe,

Welcome to the forum. And thanks for your contribution. I am sure others will chip in to answer the question you have asked.

David
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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2009, 01:53:42 pm »
Someone has just reported that they understand the pond in the north corner of Leach Fields has been cut into. Not sure what wildlife was in the pond. The water drains towards the houses on Bluebridge.
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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2009, 02:50:16 pm »
The footpath running north/south down the east side of Gobions Open Space and the southerly-most tip of Gobions Woodland will need to be diverted.

Two footbridges that border Leach Fields have been removed and the ground broken up. I met a woman walking her dog just now and she was forced to turn back admitting she wasn't agile enough to hop across.

Either the North Mymms Parish Council or a Gobions Woodland Trust work party will have to divert the path.  Some pictues below, one showing a map of the area, two showing where footbridges have been removed and a fourth warning there are some sharp rusty screws and nails jutting out of the ground.









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Offline Mermaid

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2009, 02:53:08 pm »
Leach Fields is a great loss, but I don't see why the owners should be punished.

This is not about punishing Leach Homes. A lot changes in 70 years and an entire generation has grown up with full and free access into and across the fields, so our right to 'Rights of Way' may very well exist already and needs testing.

If anyone would like to help, but is shy about posting their support in the forum, please IM me.

 

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #56 on: March 24, 2009, 05:12:43 pm »
Hi,

Does anyone know what the company name is?

Leach Homes LTD - is registered with companies house but is a dormant company (having not filed any accounts since 2007 and being a 'Non-trading company'). If it's dormant there seems to be a lot of activity which might be worth a look into.

Isn't draining a natural pond illegal in someway?  I think I've seen newts round there - I'm no expert so wouldn't know if they were rare or protected.



 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #57 on: March 24, 2009, 05:32:29 pm »
This map gives the boundary between Moffats OpenSpace which is owned by North Mymms Parish Council and the Leach Fields.  Moffats Open Space, and the western end of Gobions Open Space (also owned by the parish council) are outlined in orange.  The land south of MOS is the Leach Fields.  I do not know who owns the land to the north of MOS.

The green path is owned by Gobions Woodland Trust (now Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust) but I do not know how far south it extends.  It is the driveway from Moffats Lane to the car park on the Open Space and then southwards.

Offline AnneK

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #58 on: March 24, 2009, 05:40:54 pm »
I'm surprised to hear that Leach Homes has begun excavation work on the land. Can the company do that before planning permission has been granted, or even sought?

The damage done to the footpaths in Gobions is also worrying. David, are these footpaths on parish council land? If so, surely Leach Homes should send their workmen out to reconstitute them straight away. I understand why the company is fencing off its property - I don't like it, but I understand it - but damaging the adjoining land isn't right.

I wonder why Leach Homes is behaving like this. In the space of 24 hours, we've seen appalling metal gates go up, earth and brambles dumped and nearby footpaths churned up and made inaccessible. Is the company aggrieved because its fence was pulled back this morning? Leach Homes should get a representative on the forum to explain what's going on, rather than escalating in such a childish manner. (That would probably break the first rule of developing, though, which seems to be that you keep quiet about your intentions so people have as little time as possible to react and object.)

One way or another, despite earlier lauding the person who rolled back the fence, I have to agree with Joe Brownlie that it probably wasn't helpful in the grand scheme of things. This whole situation is getting unpleasant. I'm also fast losing any sympathy I had for Leach Homes (just renamed B*@$h Homes by my husband). I'll gladly help out with any concerted legal action or effort to protect rights of way, trees, etc on the land.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2009, 10:19:40 am by AnneK »
 

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Re: Leach Fields footpaths
« Reply #59 on: March 25, 2009, 02:48:10 pm »
I have just been told that the digger in Leach Fields was vandalised last night. However strongly people may feel about the closure of the paths and the work going on there such behaviour is inexcusable. It will not help our cause and is to be deplored.
 

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