Brookmans Park Newsletter Community Discussion Forum

General Discussion Boards => Environment => Topic started by: MikeL on December 05, 2008, 05:49:46 pm

Title: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on December 05, 2008, 05:49:46 pm
I understand that the owners of the Leach Fields (the fields to the west of the woods, just behind Bluebridge Rd and Bluebridge Avenue) have declined to renew the leasing of them to The Gobions Woodland Trust. As they are owned by a property development company I expect we can look forwards to many more planning applications in the near future.

I also notice that there isn't actually a right of way across them. I wonder if we will still be able to walk through them?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Ann on December 06, 2008, 12:11:54 pm
 :(  Yes thats what we can expect....but not during the recession!

Once the building starts the fields are gone forever...sad but  a fact
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on December 06, 2008, 12:26:34 pm
If one developer struggles to build one house on a 20 acre field, why do you think anyone will have any more luck the other side of the stream? Surely it's still green belt land?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on December 08, 2008, 10:43:42 am
The Welwyn Hatfield District Plan 2005 shows the Leach Fieldss in the Green Belt and is a Nature Conservation Area.

The District Plan is currently being updated and will be known by the 'Prescottism' as a Local Development Framework.  The East of England Plan is also being updated to extend the cover period from 2001-2021 to 2031.

In the meantime the real world is in recession and house builders are struggling to sell the dwellings that have already been built.  They are not starting new approved developments such as 2 Georges Wood Road, 68 Bluebridge Road and Claregate, Little Heath. 

It seems a bit short sighted to stop getting any lease income from the Leach Fields for the next few years, unless it was a peppercorn.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on December 16, 2008, 04:20:23 pm
A representative of Leach Homes has confirmed that they are taking control of their land the 'Leach Fields' on the 1st January 2009 and that there will no longer be any access to the public. The current entrance into the fields from Bluebridge Road will be closed and locked and other entry points into the Leach Fields will be secured. Residents with gardens backing the Leach Fields will no longer be able to enter the fields from their gardens.

Visitors to Gobions can still gain access through the main entrance in Moffatts Lane.

A spokesperson for Gobions' Woodland Trust says "Gobions Wood is still open to the public at all times and can be reached from Bluebridge Road by taking Foot Path 11 (next to the bridge) or from Bluebridge Avenue through the Parish Council's Moffats Open Space".


Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Ferdie on December 17, 2008, 08:19:51 am
There is a closed public access from Moffatts Lane which was subject to a lot of heated debate many years ago when it was proposed that this was re-opened. This I believe belongs to NM Parish Council. Will this now be reconsidered as many people from the village end of BP access via Leach Fields? Alternative is a public footpath at 'Blue Bridge' at the end of the houses in Bluebridge Road on way to Little Heath but that takes you in to the woods area rather than the open space.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on December 17, 2008, 10:40:06 am
At a recent Parish Council meeting I raised the question of the locked access path off Moffats Lane and was told that it had a long history which resulted in it being locked. 

The recommended main access and car park to Gobions Open Space is the rough track next to 68 (?) Moffats Lane.  The sign indicating this entrance keeps on being removed so the Parish Council has given up on replacing it due to cost, although there is still a sign disclaiming damage (I think)

There is an access path at the end of Bluebridge Avenue which gives access through Moffats Open Space fields.  Please note that residents of Bluebridge Avenue get upset - naturally - if lots of cars park in that cul de sac particularly if they are badly parked.

In addition to the access path next to the Blue Bridge over the stream mentioned by Ferdie, there is also an entrance path to Gobions Wood next to 60 (?) Mymms Drive and another one off Mymms Drive near the A1000.

 
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on December 17, 2008, 12:03:13 pm
Quite right Bob, thanks for all the additional info.

There are only 15 days remaining for public access to the Leach Fields, after that, access will be barred and anybody venturing onto the land will be trespassing on private property, as the representative of Leach Homes made quite clear. Many people go there every day, and I think it's going to be quite a shock when they realise that legal access has gone, possibly for good.

Personally speaking, I will really miss walking across the fields, they have been part of my life for so long - since childhood in fact   :)

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Alfred the Great on December 17, 2008, 02:02:49 pm
Well I honestly cannot see Leach Homes either:

a) prosecuting someone for trespassing on the fields after 1st Jan

or

b) fencing the southern and eastern boundaries to secure the site and prevent trespassing (major expense particularly with no planning permission in sight or likely to be granted anytime soon)

So I will continue to use the fields and paths until physically constrained. How's that for non-PC?

ATG   8)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Alfred the Great on December 17, 2008, 02:05:38 pm
In the event that planning permission is granted I hope one of the conditions is that the existing hedgerows and elm trees are preserved.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mr Green on December 17, 2008, 02:46:19 pm
Well I honestly cannot see Leach Homes either:
a) prosecuting someone for trespassing on the fields after 1st Jan

Trespassing alone is not a criminal offence (so as long as you're not carrying a firearm) you're safe from prosecution.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: stevea on December 18, 2008, 03:39:38 am
The magic mushroom pickers will be most upset - get my drift man!  ;D
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Ferdie on December 18, 2008, 10:11:07 am
When walking over Leach Fields in the summer I saw that there was evidence of a wet area being created with a 'pond liner' being laid and planting of trees etc. Also I thought there were some benches next to the path too, plus all the signage put up and other work been done to 'improve' the area for wildlife. Will the developers be taking care of this until they develop it, ... I don't think so.... What a waste.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on December 18, 2008, 11:30:25 am
Is there anyone we can write to asking them to keep access open? Or would that be counter productive? Can anyone from the Woodlands Trust help?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on December 18, 2008, 11:57:57 am
The Gobions Woodland Trust has done/is doing all they can. It's just a sad fact of life that the land is privately owned and that the owners, Leach Homes have declined to renew the lease which GWT has held for 20 years. Perhaps it's to do with creating (or rather not creating) Rights of Way, I don't know.

However, perhaps we ought to think "aren't we all lucky to have been able to enjoy the Leach Fields for so long"? It's been a fantastic amenity, enjoyed by nearly everyone in the community. Credit too, to the GWT members who have looked after the area so well, all of them volunteers who have given hours of their time.

I don't think that Leach Homes have given any indication yet as to what they want to do with their land. Perhaps if someone could find a colony of Greater Crested Newts (or whatever they are) before the 31st December, we could at least delay any possible housing plans ..........
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: southbury on December 18, 2008, 12:21:50 pm
Excuse my ignorance but which part of ' Gobions' are we talking about ?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on December 18, 2008, 12:33:59 pm
I thought there was a map on the GWT web page, but I can't see it.

Basically, it's all of the fields behind Bluebridge Road, from the Blue Bridge to Bluebridge Avenue, going back as far as the line of the woods and across to the wooden squeeze gate. Quite a few acres in total.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on December 18, 2008, 01:20:05 pm
Does anyone know if it is corect that if a path has been in use by the public for over 20 years then it is possible to get it classified as a public right of way? I'm sure I've read this somewhere.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on December 18, 2008, 01:37:53 pm
I'll answer my own question! According to section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980, it would appear that if a path has been in use and un-opposed for 20 years then a new Right of Way can be created by “presumed dedication” UNLESS the landowner has previously submitted a statutory declaration to the highways authority of the current rights of way over the land. It would also appear that this needs to be submitted every six years.

I am sure that the paths from Bluebridge Rd to Gobions Wood and from Bluebridge Road to Gobions open space have been in use for the 15 years I have lived here, can anyone confirm that they were there 20 years ago? If so, does anyone know how we could go about creating a right of way?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: southbury on December 18, 2008, 02:30:00 pm
thanks Mermaid .

In a less than ideal situation I guess keeping our footpath access in that area is the key thing ?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on December 18, 2008, 02:39:59 pm

In a less than ideal situation I guess keeping our footpath access in that area is the key thing ?

At the moment, as I understand it, members of the public will not have any access at all, either into the Leach Fields, or across them by footpath.

However, as earlier posts note, there are other footpaths available to both Gobions Wood and Gobions Open Space without going through Leach Fields.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on December 19, 2008, 11:18:52 am
The map (below) extracted from the District Plan shows the Leach Fields and its relationship to Bluebridge Road, Moffats Lane and Gobions Open Space.  There are no dotted lines to indicate any public footpath crossing the land.

The top part of the green area is Moffats Open Space which is owned by the Parish Council, but I do not know just where the dividing line is between the two. 
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on December 21, 2008, 12:40:19 pm
Just been out for a walk around Leach Fields in order to take some pictures before the area is sealed off to the public.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0937.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0938.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0939.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0940.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0941.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0942.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0943.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0944.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0945.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0946.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0947.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0948.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0949.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0950.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0952.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0953.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0954.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0955.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0959.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0960.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0961.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0962.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0963.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0964.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0965.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0967.JPG)
(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0968.JPG) (http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0971.JPG)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: sasquartch on December 21, 2008, 09:35:56 pm
A great shame that it won't be open to public access any longer.

I will be interested to see how secure the area will be made and if, in practice, people will still use the land. It would not be practical to properly secure and monitor the area without incurring great expense. As has already been said, trespass in itself is not illegal as long as no damage is done.

My guess is that the owners simply want to prevent any rights of way being established so as not to detract from its value if at some point in the future planning consent is granted. At present the land really only has 'hope value' in the same way that Friday Grove had.

So possibly it will continue to be accessible albeit unofficially. Maybe even in future GWT may be able to lease it again, let's hope so.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: southbury on December 22, 2008, 07:46:52 am
Bob ,

Is it likely that any ' Rights of Way' have been established by use in recent years ?

rgds.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on December 22, 2008, 04:05:55 pm
Is it likely that any ' Rights of Way' have been established by use in recent years ? 

Sorry but I am not very knowledgeable on rights of way.  There was a similar discussion a few years ago on the Footpath 11 from near Folly Arch, through a gate and then due north along the side of the field to a stile leading into Gobions Wood.  The RVC eventually replaced the stile with the kissing gate.  If memory serves me right the discussion concluded that people had to prove the paths had been used for 20 years without any dispute by the freeholder.

Some great pictures by Dave but the well-established paths and gates on some photos suggest some are of Gobions Open Space.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on December 22, 2008, 04:29:11 pm
Hi Bob,

I think all the pictures are within Leach Fields except this one below, which is looking from inside Gobions Woodland across a bridge, within Gobions land, to Leach Fields.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0955.JPG)

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on December 22, 2008, 09:34:12 pm

At a recent Parish Council meeting I raised the question of the locked access path off Moffats Lane and was told that it had a long history which resulted in it being locked. 


Hi Bob,

Can someone explain the 'long history'. Just saying it has a long history doesn't seem like a reasonable explanation to me. It seems to me that the path is an ideal point of access that would be of great benefit to local people. It is North Mymms Parish Council land, I understand, so why is it locked?  Can someone explain and reveal what needs to happen to get it opened?  I would certainly use it.  Here is a picture of the gate taken from the Moffats Open Space.

David

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/100_0972.JPG)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on December 29, 2008, 10:54:18 am
Hi Dave
Perhaps someone else can explain since I only received the Parish Councillors angle on this topic.

It was a while ago that I raised this at a Parish Council meeting.  My memory of the discussion was that there was a public meeting about this footpath which got quite lively, with a decision to lock the gates.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on January 03, 2009, 01:11:26 pm
Doesn't look like Leach Homes has made much of an effort to deter trespassers. I saw a large padlock on the gate from Bluebridge, but the foot entrance is still wide open and no signs. The same with all the other access points from Gobions Woodland and Gobions Open Space. Not surprising, then, to see some people still enjoying the fields on this lovely, frosty, sunny day.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0983.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0984.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0987.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0988.JPG)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0994.JPG)

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall 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?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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 (http://www.kindertrespass.com/).  It was nice while it lasted. I'll miss those paths.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL 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.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_1003.JPG)

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

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0996.JPG)

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

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0997.JPG)

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

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0998.JPG)

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

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_0999.JPG)

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)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/january09/100_1000.JPG)

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

David



Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall 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?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Ann 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mary_Morgan 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

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid 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        :(




Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/Leach_Fields_entrance_fenced.jpg)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: stevea on March 24, 2009, 07:59:44 am
Has anyone thought of taking the fence down??? - and see what happens.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/Leach_Fields_northern_entrance.jpg)

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: stevea 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!  :)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid 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?


Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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) (http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/tposguide) 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. (http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/leach_fields_fences_damaged.shtml)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/Elms_in_Leach_Fields.jpg)

Elms in Leach Fields

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/Oak_in_Leach_Fields1.jpg)

Oak in Leach Fields

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/Oak_in_Leach_fields2.jpg)

Oak in Leach Fields
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: John_fraser 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 24, 2009, 01:08:52 pm
All entrances are now being blocked  (http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/leach_fields_entrances_blocked.shtml)with earth and brambles.

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

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/Leach_Fields_north_entrance_blocked.jpg)



Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: joebrownlie 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 

(Brownlie from 32 Brookmans Park)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor 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.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/december08/Leach%20Fields.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/footbridge1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/footpath2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/path.jpg)

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid 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.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bobb 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.



Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: GWTSEC 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.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: username on March 25, 2009, 04:06:52 pm
This is really bad news. After having used this space for years its unbelievable that this has happening. These fields are some of the best parts of BP and its a real shame that they can no longer be accessed. Although I understand this land is private it just feels as though we have had it taken from us unfairly. Damaging equipment seems a little futile and is also just going to worsen the situation.   
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on March 25, 2009, 04:12:22 pm
Quote
but I don't see why the owners should be punished.

No matter how “nice” they may have been in the past, as far as I can see what they are doing is illegal and being “nice” does not give anyone a right to break the law. If a footpath has been in use for 20 years or more (which these paths certainly have) then they can become a legal right of way. Leach homes appear to have suddenly realised this and are desperately trying to block them in an attempt to prevent this happening, but it should be too late. However, it needs a concerted effort by local residents to enforce these regulations.

On another note, it’s all very well for everyone to be up in arms now, but where were all these people for the last 20+ years when the only people attempting to preserve these fields were the 4 or 5 active members of the Gobions Woodland trust. In fact, as I understand it one of their main problems was with the neighbours of the Leach Fields whose continuous encroachment on the fields (building gates, expanding their gardens etc) caused them nothing but headaches and has even resulted in Leach Homes threatening to sue the individual Trustees for not maintaining the boundaries, hence the reason the fields have been taken back.

It serves us all right!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: sasquartch on March 25, 2009, 04:29:16 pm
If a footpath has been in use for 20 years or more (which these paths certainly have) then they can become a legal right of way.

On a practical note, does anyone know whether this is in fact the case and in practical terms, what can be done to make these rights of way accessible again ?

I don't think it 'serves us all right', many people have not lived in BP for 20+ years and this forum certainly didn't exist then so communication was certainly harder.

I think there would be large number of people who would support legal action to reinstate access but someone with legal know-how would need to be involved to lead it.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on March 25, 2009, 04:49:54 pm
Hi Sasquartch

Here's what a wrote a few posts ago, take a look at the link:

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?



Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: JLC on March 25, 2009, 05:08:46 pm
The document which Mermaid refers to says...

"Use by the Public

A public right of way can come into existence through usage by the public over a sufficient period of time.
If you are making an application based on user evidence, you will need to submit user evidence from other people who have used the route. It is not sufficient to say that you have seen others using the route. To assist you in collecting evidence from the public, we have compiled a User Evidence form which collects the basic information we need when deciding on an application. For example, you will need to provide evidence to show:
• that the route has been used openly (that is without force secrecy or permission) for at least 20 years by the public
• that more than a few people used the route i.e. the public in general
• that the landowner never tried to prevent people using the route
• that a specific route from A to B is used, rather than people wandering freely over open land..."

I have no idea of the circumstances that apply over Leach Fields but I would imagine that the "without force secrecy or permission" bit is rather important!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on March 25, 2009, 05:12:17 pm
Quote
I don't think it 'serves us all right',

Maybe not. But as far as I am aware I was the last “new” active person to join the Gobion’s work parties, and that was 17 years ago. And I gave up after 4 years. No-one who has moved to the area since then can claim to have made any effort to help. One of my main gripes was the attitude of many local people who simply regarded the work party as someone to do their bidding or people who were simply obstructing them.  I re-itterate, serves us all right!

Anyway, http://www.ramblers.org.uk/rights_of_way/take_action/claim_an_unrecorded_right_of_way.htm (http://www.ramblers.org.uk/rights_of_way/take_action/claim_an_unrecorded_right_of_way.htm) this indicates that we should be able to claim a right of way. I have it on reasonable authority that leach Fields have never registered the paths, which would have prevented a right of way being granted.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on March 25, 2009, 05:27:14 pm
I have a copy of the form that needs filling in here, we need at least 6 people to fill it in and claim that they have been using the right of way for over 20 years!

As far as I can see, there are two possible rights of way we can claim. from Bluebridge Road to Gobions open Space and from Bluebridge Road to Gobions Wood.

Is there anyone there who would like to fill one of these forms in (and is eligible). I would be happy to submit them.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on March 25, 2009, 05:31:55 pm
Me again!

As I understand it, Gobions Woodland Trust first leased the fields in 1988. Over 20 years ago! Does anyone have any maps or leaftlets from that time (or before) which may indicate the footpaths in existence at the time?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on March 25, 2009, 07:39:04 pm
Well done MikeL for getting the forms. I have 4 people that are eligible to sign so far, the more we get the better......

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on March 25, 2009, 07:50:13 pm
Brookmans Park residents certainly don't deserve to lose a much-loved amenity like Leach Fields just because we haven't all been part of the Gobions work parties. Most people probably didn't know that help was needed. Either that or they'd like to take part but feel that the work parties are a bit of a 'club' by now and aren't sure they'd be welcome. Anyway, that's all moot now that there's a tangible threat to Leach Fields and, by its proximity to the Fields, Gobions. People always come out of the woodwork in these situations. Better late than never.

I guess I (and many others) won't be of much use in the effort to protect the rights of way through Leach Fields because I've only lived in the area for a year. Perhaps a petition attached to the form that MikeL is proposing to submit to the council would help to drive home the strength of feeling about this? I'm out pounding the pavements most days with my girls and I'm not shy about knocking on doors and asking for signatures. Alternatively, if one of the village's shop owners were amenable, I (with a bit of help) could try try to collect signatures one Saturday. It's just a thought. Perhaps someone who's been through this process before could advise on whether this kind of thing is helpful?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Alfred the Great on March 25, 2009, 09:30:32 pm
Hate to dash your hopes but the very fact that the fields have been LEASED for the last 20 years indicates that the use of the land was by permission only and that no rights other than as set out in the lease were intended to be conferred. The paths around and across the fields were established by GWT and have no other status. I regret the loss of the fields (and the wanton vandalism) but I think the probability of establishing rights of way is infinitesimally small, and even if it did happen, would not stop the development, just constrain the road layout somewhat.

What I can't understand is how the land has been green belt for so long (and is shown on the council plan as a "nature reserve") but can so easily be converted to residential use.

Perhaps our best plan is to get our energetic MP involved? To stop the land being taken out of the green belt, which would stop all the current nonsense and then the Wildlife people could buy the land off Leach for a pittance. We can dream.

ATG
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on March 25, 2009, 10:38:26 pm
I'm no lawyer but I don't see how the fact that one party leases the land to another has any bearing on the fact that the footpaths have been used. Would it be any different if Leach Homes has leased the land to a local farmer or the Vet College?

As I understand it, Leach homes are not clearing it for imminent development but are urgently trying close all footpaths in order to prevent any rights of way being established. As stated above, I believe they are too late, providing we act now. It can't hurt to try. If we simply give up, it definitely won't happen.

The form to fill in is at the following address http://www.ramblers.org.uk/Resources/Ramblers%20Association/Website/Rights%20of%20Way/Documents/Row_evidence_form.pdf (http://www.ramblers.org.uk/Resources/Ramblers%20Association/Website/Rights%20of%20Way/Documents/Row_evidence_form.pdf)

The grid references of the paths appear to be :

1 - To the Open Space
E524464, N203567 to E524848, N203875

2 - To the Woods
E524464, N203567 to E524778, N203499

If anyone would like to fill in these forms (and lives locally) I'll happily pick it up and send them on to the Council.

I realise that this won't have any bearing on future development, but it will enable us to continue to walk accross the fields in the meantime.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 26, 2009, 07:47:32 am
A security caravan has been parked at the Bluebridge Road entrance to Leach Fields along with a sign warning that the area is being patrolled. . (http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/security_patrols_for_Leach_Fields.shtmlClick here for more[/url)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: GWTSEC on March 26, 2009, 08:35:44 am
The bottom of West Path is hazardous and should not be trampled over until it has been inspected by HMWT. This will be done ASAP.
I will try and get some sort of notice at the top of the path.
 I know it is a nuisance but please  everyone be patient and use the access paths from Bluebridge Road, and Oak tree path, which is at the East end of the Lake, or Mymms Drive. Please do not make your own pathways into
 the woods from the West Path.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on March 26, 2009, 10:01:38 am
The bottom of West Path is hazardous and should not be trampled over until it has been inspected by HMWT. This will be done ASAP.

Are you having a work party this Sunday morning? Is this something Joe Public can come along and help with?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 26, 2009, 10:20:03 am
Are you having a work party this Sunday morning? Is this something Joe Public can come along and help with?

Hi James,

Just in case June doesn't log in immediately, I offered to help (I am working from home this week), but they first need to assess the route. Diverting the path would take it through saplings and land where there are wild flowers, such as Wild Violets and Celendine. The HMWT doesn't want people trampling them, so they need to assess the situation and come up with a solution. For now the best solution seems to be to divert pedestrians away from that path, called the West Path. It is possible to avoid the area by entering Gobions Woodland higher up, but it adds ten mins or so to any walk.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on March 26, 2009, 10:43:02 am
What I can't understand is how the land has been green belt for so long (and is shown on the council plan as a "nature reserve") but can so easily be converted to residential use.

Perhaps our best plan is to get our energetic MP involved? To stop the land being taken out of the green belt, which would stop all the current nonsense and then the Wildlife people could buy the land off Leach for a pittance. We can dream.

Leach Homes do not have planning permission to develop this land.  Please be assured that the land is still in the Green Belt and is still a Nature Conservation Area.  Our MP is quite vocal about protecting the Green belt and is the main speaker at a Green Belt Soc public meeting on Monday 30th March starting at 8pm in the NM Youth and Community Centre, Station Road.

Nature Conservation Area status unfortunately does not restrict what an owner can do with the land.

Welwyn Hatfield Council is being forced by the Government to designate land for housing up to 2031 and the council is currently consulting the public on where that housing might go, and other issues as well.  About 180 people attended the Green Belt Soc AGM last Monday and heard Cllr Stephen Boulton explain all this.  The council held a drop-in session yesterday afternoon at the BP church to explain to people about this consultation.

The Green Belt Soc is issuing a Newsletter to every household in the next two weeks with suggested response forms for you to complete and return, objecting to any more housing around Brookmans Park, Welham Green and Little Heath.  Please don't file them in the bin.  Complete them, add your own thoughts (polite of course) and return them via the Society.  I believe this is the best way to ensure that the Leach Fields remain in the Green Belt  and undeveloped.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on March 26, 2009, 12:17:58 pm
Apparently the hedgerows are being torn up now, presumably with no thought as to how many birds' nests they may contain  >:(

Surely they can't do that!! I'm sure there's some kind of law about not touching the hedges in the birds' breeding season!! At a designated Wildlife Site too, they should be ashamed of themselves!

If you care about the birds, I'm told that the local wildlife officer is Dave Wardell, who can be reached through 01707-638100, or email:

david 'dot' wardell 'at' herts 'dot' pnn 'dot' police 'dot' uk

(obviously substitute . for 'dot' and @ for 'at')




Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: joebrownlie on March 26, 2009, 12:38:33 pm
Speaking to the contractors yesterday afternoon, the hydraulic pipes and cabin to the digger were cut and damaged respectively, tyres on the dumper slashed and the lock to the gate had been glued. Although it is horrifying what is happening to the paths/fields and it is clear it will get worse as the digger gets to work today, Acts of vandalism' aren't helpful. It is a pity some 'stay of execution' or subpoena couldn't be inacted to give time to find out the legal position? 

Joe
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bobb on March 26, 2009, 12:44:51 pm
It is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built. It will be an intentional act, for example, if you or your neighbour know there is an active nest in the hedge and still cut the hedge, damaging or destroying the nest in the process.

I'm at work so can't get down there but I'm wondering if someone went down there and told them about nesting birds would it make further detruction an offence?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: username on March 26, 2009, 12:55:55 pm
It is worrying how quickly they are working- obviously this has been planned for a fair while. I suppose the idea is to get the work done before anyone has enough time to act with any force.   
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on March 26, 2009, 12:59:15 pm
Nature Conservation Area status unfortunately does not restrict what an owner can do with the land.

Eh? So what's the point in them then?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on March 26, 2009, 01:04:36 pm
It is an offence under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built. It will be an intentional act, for example, if you or your neighbour know there is an active nest in the hedge and still cut the hedge, damaging or destroying the nest in the process.

I'm at work so can't get down there but I'm wondering if someone went down there and told them about nesting birds would it make further detruction an offence?

I'm hoping that the Wildlife Officer will do that, I couldn't get him on the phone, but have left a message and emailed. The more people who raise the issue the more likely it is that something will be done ..........
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bobb on March 26, 2009, 01:19:11 pm
I think this may be their website - http://www.leachhomes.co.uk (http://www.leachhomes.co.uk)

It has an contact section and phone numbers should anyone on here want to call them for a friendly chat and to find out what is going on. Thier office appears to be closed at the moment - I'll try back after lunch. Happy to wait in a queue should anyone else want to give them a call as well.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bobb on March 26, 2009, 02:14:00 pm
It is the company - they do own Leach Fields.

Spoke to the receptionist - surprisingly no one was available to answer any of my questions. I had wanted to ask what they were doing, whether the wildlife officer was aware etc.

They have promised to call me back which I would seriously doubt.

I would urge anyone else concerned to call to see if they get more joy - I think demonstrating local opinion might be a good thing - the number is on the website (01920-824700)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 26, 2009, 02:18:26 pm
I am away at the moment, but if anyone has any pictures of the hedgerows, please mail them to me and I will add them later.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Therock on March 26, 2009, 02:21:17 pm
I  was talking yesterday(wed) to a guy who was erecting the new fence and chains on the gate at the Bluebridge Road entrance,and he told me that due to Insurance problems that the Company I presume "LEACH" were not going to pay for the insurance for people to cross the land that they own. He said that due to the previous people not renewing the contract that this is why they have closed the footpaths and erected gates.

As you will see if you go down and look at the entrance there is a sign saying PRIVATE LAND. I have quoted what this Guy said to me and he seemed to know a lot of what he was talking about.

THE ROCK


Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bobb on March 26, 2009, 02:24:31 pm
no reason to go ripping up wildlife and draining ponds though.

I would not be surprised if there was more to this - why spend the money fencing off/ripping it up - it's a commercial company there has to be a reason/pay-off
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on March 26, 2009, 02:30:42 pm
Have been in touch with the "Rights of Way" dept at the council who tell me that urgent cases (ie where a path to a school or something similar has been blocked) will get looked at in 2-3 years. If it's not urgent (ie this case) it could be 8 years!

It will probably have been built on by then!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on March 26, 2009, 03:26:08 pm
Just placed a call to Dave Wardell to register my concern about the wildlife in Leach Fields and was told that he's already in Brookmans Park and 'on the case'. I'm glad he was able to get to Leach Fields so quickly. I was on Bluebridge about an hour ago, and the workmen aren't wasting any time. It's hard to see much - there are loads of vehicles blocking the pavement on the Leach Fields side of Bluebridge - but in addition to the hedgerows, at least one tree seems to have come up.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bobb on March 26, 2009, 03:33:49 pm
does anyone know how to get hold of the PCSO's?

If there is lots of parking on Bluebridge then it's probably going to be dangerous around the school run time - esp if they are on the pavement.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on March 26, 2009, 03:43:47 pm
in addition to the hedgerows, at least one tree seems to have come up.

One of my neighbours backing Leach Fields says that from what she can see they are also tearing sturdy 6ft saplings out, the trees of the future! It's as if they want to lay waste to the area!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bobb on March 26, 2009, 04:09:38 pm
Hi,

I've had the below email back from David Wardell:

Hi Robert and Mrs Axxxxxxxx,
Thank you very much for contacting us and accept my apologies for replying to both of you in one email. Myself and Louise Luxford have visited the area today and spoke with a company representative. A message will be going out on Owl and the local forum website asking people for any local records they may have of the area. This could include pictures, logs kept by wildlife fans or anything that might assist in a future police investigation.
I visited the site today and told the contract manager what was acceptable. They have agreed that they will not touch any well established hedges, thick hedgerow or large or thick coppice. I have said that they can remove the odd patches of 2 - 3 foot high bramble that dot the area but not the thicker more established areas of bramble. They may move the odd small sapling where they are happy there is no nesting taking place They have stated that if they do then they will do their best to replant them in a more suitable area.
The pond has gone. It was a man made pond and now there is no evidence of what was there. This is where local reports/pictures will come in handy. If someone had good evidence that there were great crested newts in that pond then that would change matters greatly.
What I am not interested in is where people are laying claim to land or land access. This will be a civil matter.
Please pass this email on to anyone you feel may be able to assist.
I am not aware that this particular area has been set aside as a site of specific scientific interest but if any of you could guide me on that I will be happy to accept it. I am aware that nesting birds are heavily protected and I have successfully prosecuted a developer previously for this. I am keen to add that this company are not looking to develop the land - at least that is what they have said, although I doubt very much they would get permission to do this anyway. The reason for clearing up the land is for use for animal grazing which will include ensuring the boundaries are proper as any livestock owner should.
I am now away until Monday so if you need to contact us regarding this matter please email Louise whose email is included. Alternatively please contact 0845 3300222 if this is of a non urgent matter and ask for the log to be forwarded to Louise or myself.
 
Many thanks,
 
Dave.
 
Dave Wardell
Hatfield Rural Neighbourhood Team
Comet Way
Hatfield
AL10 9SJ
01707 806944
07814016831
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on March 26, 2009, 04:34:05 pm
Well done, Bobb and Mermaid, and a big thanks to Dave Wardell and Louise Luxford for investigating so quickly.

I'm not entirely convinced by Leach Homes' claim that it only wishes to clear the land and secure the boundaries for grazing - if the company's intentions were so benign, why didn't a representative just come out and say what was happening from the beginning? - but perhaps the Welwyn Hatfield Times can get to the bottom of it. I gave the news desk a bell this afternoon, and I'm sure they'll have a good dig around.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: sasquartch on March 26, 2009, 05:07:50 pm
I'm sure they'll have a good dig around.

I think Leach Homes are already doing that  :icon_jokercolor:
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on March 26, 2009, 05:34:29 pm
 :)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 26, 2009, 05:58:52 pm
Evidence of nature conservation sought

Police are appealing to local residents to come forward with any local records they may have that indicate the importance of Leach Fields in terms of nature conservation.

They say such information may assist in a future police investigation.

"This could include pictures and logs kept by wildlife fans - this is where local reports/pictures will come in handy," PCSO Dave Wardell explained in an email to two of this site's forum users.

Click here for more details (http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/police_move_to_protect_hedgerows.shtml).
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 26, 2009, 09:34:46 pm
Full marks to the forum users who alerted police to reports that hedgerows were allegedly being removed. And full marks to the local PCSOs for responding to local concerns so quickly.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 27, 2009, 07:31:22 am
A path through Gobions Woodland has been temporarily closed following "the destruction" of two footbridges earlier this week. Red and white tape now cordons off the popular path. Walkers are being advised to use alternative routes until the path can be made safe or an alternative route opened. Click here (http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/gobions_footpath_temporarily_closed.shtml) for more details.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/footpath_closure_sign_big.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/path_closure_big.jpg)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: PCSO Luxford on March 27, 2009, 10:53:03 am
It has come to our attention that part of Gobions Open Space is under some changes. I have visited the site along with the wildlife officer, PC 1115 David Wardell.  David has advised the contractors of things they can and cannot do. They are allowed to clear brambles that are less than 2 - 3 foot high that are dotted around but not thicker areas of bramble, hedges or coppice. The occassional sapling can be removed as long as no birds are nesting in them. If they do up-root saplings then they will re-plant them in another position.

A man-made pond has been drained and unfortunately there is no evidence of what was there.  This is where local reports or pictures would come in handy. If anyone had any evidence that Great Crested Newts were living there then that would help. Any pictures of the area, or local records, this could be a wildlife enthusiasts records they have been keeping, or any informtation that could help in a future police investigation would be appreciated. What we are not interested in is people laying claim to land or access as this will be a civil matter.

If you feel you can help then please contact either PC1115 David Wardell at david (dot) wardell (at) herts (dot) pnn (dot) police (dot) uk, or myself, PCSO 6688 Louise Luxford at louise (dot) luxford (at) herts (dot) pnn (dot) police (dot) uk,  Alternatively you can ring the non-emergency number 0845 33 00 222 and ask for either of us to made aware of your concerns.  Our direct telephone numbers are: 01707 806944 (PC Wardell) and 01707 806947 (PCSO Louise Luxford). Please bear in mind we are regularly out of the office.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 27, 2009, 11:39:10 am
It has come to our attention that part of Gobions Open Space is under some changes.

Hi Louise,

Thanks for your posting. Just to be clear, the area in question is called the Leach Fields, not Gobions Open Space; the latter belongs to the Parish Council and is unaffected, so far, by recent events.

I have edited your post above to disguise your email addresses in order to protect you from spammers.

Regards

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on March 27, 2009, 12:16:06 pm
I have just spoken to a Rights Of Way professional (Counsel and Expert Witness) and have been told something which I hadn't fully realised - it is the spread of years which is important, not that each person signing has to have at least 20 years regular use of the paths.

This means that even people with under 20 years regular use of the paths can fill in a form - MikeL's recent 15 years for example is just as valuable as my 31 years, ditto for someone else's 1 year and ditto for someone who might have left the area a while ago, but who used the paths regularly for the time they lived here.

I believe there are now some forms down in the Library, although I would like to collate them so that we make sure we've covered the right period adequately, and then we can send them in one batch (MikeL has kindly offered to do this).

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: joebrownlie on March 27, 2009, 02:14:42 pm
Brilliant news from Mermaid (what a sweet name!). I and my wife have used the paths for about 10 years; at least twice and usually three times a day. I also have some photos and will send them on to you.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: mannyd on March 27, 2009, 02:36:24 pm
Anyone now know a safe route? One of the classes from Brookmans Park school were supposed to be walking up there next week - they usually access through the entrance on Bluebridge Road (near the Gardens turn off).... any safe route suggestions appreciated - they were supposed to be looking for signs of spring not signs of demolition or big plant machinery!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: sasquartch on March 27, 2009, 02:46:16 pm
I've just walked past the Leach Fields this afternoon and the tape cordoning off the path is no longer intact. The (dry today) stream that was crossed by the two destroyed bridges is easily passable. I don't think it makes a huge difference so the school trip shouldn't be too worried.

On the subject of the destroyed bridges presumably Leach Homes will either have to rebuild them or compensate GWT ?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on March 27, 2009, 02:55:15 pm
Anyone now know a safe route? One of the classes from Brookmans Park school were supposed to be walking up there next week - they usually access through the entrance on Bluebridge Road (near the Gardens turn off).... any safe route suggestions appreciated - they were supposed to be looking for signs of spring not signs of demolition or big plant machinery!

Can they just not go 10 metres further on and then down the footpath on the otherside of the stream and into Gobions that way? There is a metal railing alongside it to stop people falling into the stream bed - would have thought it would be fine.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 27, 2009, 04:12:43 pm
Anyone now know a safe route? One of the classes from Brookmans Park school were supposed to be walking up there next week - they usually access through the entrance on Bluebridge Road (near the Gardens turn off).... any safe route suggestions appreciated - they were supposed to be looking for signs of spring not signs of demolition or big plant machinery!

Hi Mannyd,

You may want to print out some of the wildlife guides from this site to take with you. Click here (http://www.brookmans.com/library/index.shtml) for a list of pages of illustrations of local flora and fauna including birds, butterflies, herbs, shrubs, and fungi.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on March 27, 2009, 05:08:09 pm
Quote
Can they just not go 10 metres further on and then down the footpath on the otherside of the stream

I wouldn't reccomend it for schoolchildren. That pavement over the bridge is about 20 inches wide with a brick wall alongside. To make matters worse, the road narrows at this point so if traffic is passing in both directions their wing mirrors are often overhanging the pavement. It's even worse when returning because you emerge from the top of the steps directly into the road without the drivers having been able to see you in advance.

I'd reccommend going in via Bluebridge Avenue
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: GWTSEC on March 28, 2009, 08:35:26 am
HMWT and GWT manage the wood for the benefit of everyone. It is disappointing, but not surprising  the tape has been broken. It is even more disappointing that people are encouraged to walk a path which HMWT and GWT have closed for safety reasons on this website. The path is that it is not safe for everyone to walk there. Trudging over the broken bridges or trampling a deviation can cause further damage. There is plenty of SAFE access to the Wood. Please cooperate.
The schoolchildren can enter the wood via Moffatts Lane and Gobions Open Sapce and either walk through the wood by the north path, or walk round the lake to the entrance to the wood at the top of oak tree path. Once in the wood all the paths are open. Enjoy the anemones, they are fantastic at the moment.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 28, 2009, 09:49:58 am
Two more entrances to Leach Fields from the West Path have been blocked.

Note: Photographs take by accessing from the Gobions Wood rather than by walking down the West Path, which the HMWT recommend is not used until inspected on Monday.

Click here (http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/gobions_footpath_inspection_planned.shtml) for more details.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/West_Path2big.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/West_Path3big.jpg)



Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: mannyd on March 28, 2009, 09:04:35 pm
I'm lost!! Can the schoolchildren not access via Bluebridge Avenue then?? I think a walk from school up to Moffatts entrance (and back) would be a bit beyond some.... these are 4 and 5yr olds.... they then have the walk through the woods too....

If this is true, it seems a deep shame - the school have been using the woods for educational visits for many years as far as I know
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 28, 2009, 09:30:28 pm
I'm lost!! Can the schoolchildren not access via Bluebridge Avenue then?? I think a walk from school up to Moffatts entrance (and back) would be a bit beyond some.... these are 4 and 5yr olds.... they then have the walk through the woods too....

If this is true, it seems a deep shame - the school have been using the woods for educational visits for many years as far as I know

Hi Mannyd,

Yes, they just need to go across Moffats Open Space towards Gobions Open Space (where the swings are) and then head down south east towards the lakes and cut round. Probably not much in it.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Gunflash on March 29, 2009, 09:25:34 pm
I can't believe the comments regarding this land at the end of the day its private property and therefore users are trespassing.
Since when has Environmental issues been dealt with by Police with crime and stabbings on the increase in the UK i can now see reason why our police force are in fields.

With regards to the trespass if you left your back gate open and found people in your garden you would go mental and rightly so.........the difference here is its someone elses land.

And before people start saying what do i know i actually i'm actually an Environmental Consultant and whilst i'm fully committed to the protection of our land and wildlife i do not endorse breaking the law to do so. 
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: sasquartch on March 29, 2009, 11:38:27 pm
Since when has Environmental issues been dealt with by Police with crime and stabbings on the increase in the UK i can now see reason why our police force are in fields.

I think the Police deal with crimes. If these are environmental are you saying the Police shouldn't get involved ?

Thankfully we don't have too may stabbings in BP.

i do not endorse breaking the law to do so. 

I'm sure the vast majority of forum readers don't either, however the police were responding to concerns expressed by the public (who had contacted them) about allegations of damage in the area. I am very thankful to the Police and the PCSOs for investigating if any crimes have have been committed and am thankful I live in an area where there generally aren't a large number of serious crimes commtted.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: stevea on March 30, 2009, 06:10:07 am
Gunflash - Do you by any chance consult for Leach Homes???   :icon_scratch:
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bobb on March 30, 2009, 12:46:35 pm
Does anyone else see irony in the name of this particular developer - Leach Homes

Or is it just me?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Gunflash on March 30, 2009, 06:24:31 pm
Crime is cutting pipes on diggers. If you snobs call crime cutting down a tree you need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Thats the problem with work in elderly areas the residents have far too much time on their hands and moan about petty things. Where is there a written law to install gates into your back walls and trespass on somebody elses land.

I hope the owner decides to build houses on it maybe for homeless people or families in poverty.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: peppermint on March 30, 2009, 08:01:35 pm
Does anyone know what is happening on Bluebridge Road this evening.   There is a fire engine and police vans.   It doesnt appear to be a road accident but it does seem to be by the entrance to the Leach Fields.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on March 30, 2009, 08:04:31 pm
Yes, there has been a fire in the security hut and unfortunately the man inside at the time has had to be taken to hospital. I think that so many appliances were needed because there were gas canisters in the hut.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 30, 2009, 08:08:50 pm
According to police a security guard working in the Leach Fields is being treated in hospital for 30% burns following a fire at a security van parked in Leach Fields.

The officer on the scene says the burns are not thought to be life threatening.

They are investigating the cause of the fire but at this stage they think it might be 'industrial' and say that they do not think any third party was involved and are not, currently, treating the fire as suspicious.

However, investigations are continuing and officers will update this site when more information is available.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: mannyd on March 30, 2009, 08:51:38 pm
Hi Gunflash

not all residents are elderly!! At 38 I don't count myself as old - and as a mother of 2 under 5's with a disabled husband I don't have too much time on my hands!! I'm just trying to help preserve the paths that the residents have walked now for many years - including the countryside around it. My 4yr old is the 3rd generation of mt husband's family to walk through Leach Fields - something he would do every day if he could.

So please don't critisise residents purely based on an assumption about them - it's not constructive. Even if the majority are elderly (and I don't really think they are) everyone's opinion is valid
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 30, 2009, 09:26:22 pm
I have just been searching the web trying to find out what 30% burns means.

To give an idea of the extent of the injury, the palm of a hand is 1% of the body surface, an arm 9%, a leg, a back, or a front is 18%. Apparently it can take up to 40 days in hospital to recover from 30% burns. Let's hope the poor man makes a full recovery.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: naomi on March 31, 2009, 05:59:39 am
Gunflash - I do not use a zimmer frame, yes, I could possibly be old enough to be your parent and I am definitely not a snob! Instead of making generalistic and patronising comments, how about some understanding. I'm not sure of your role as an Environmental Consultant.....but I would have thought you of all people would be more aware of the impact of land issues, tree clearing etc.   
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: stevea on March 31, 2009, 08:05:12 am
Gunflash - Been thinking about what you said with regard to trespassing. Yes, you're right, if I caught you walking around my garden I'd steam straight in, no questions asked, but then again, I haven't left my gate open to the public for the last 30 or 40 years or more, and suddenly slammed it shut!!!!
By the way, you didn't answer me before - do you work for Leach Homes?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: username on March 31, 2009, 08:33:02 am
Crime is cutting pipes on diggers. If you snobs call crime cutting down a tree you need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Thats the problem with work in elderly areas the residents have far too much time on their hands and moan about petty things. Where is there a written law to install gates into your back walls and trespass on somebody elses land.

I hope the owner decides to build houses on it maybe for homeless people or families in poverty.

Gunflash- Have a read through the posts and you will find that although residents are on the whole against the development they can also see the side of the argument from the owners point of view. You seem to suggest from your above post that some people are being narrow minded in their views- Do you see the irony here? 
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on March 31, 2009, 08:45:44 am
Wow - now Leach Homes is going to have to add security to look after its security guard. (And if he shared Gunflash's views, that poor man probably thought he was just going to be sitting around all day, watching us geriatrics shuffle around Brookmans Park in our dressing gowns and slippers . . .)

In all seriousness, I hope he recovers from his burns posthaste.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on March 31, 2009, 09:06:23 am
I hope so too, I've just been up to ask after him and he's been transferred from the QE11 to a hospital in Chelmsford. I've asked his colleagues to pass on the community's best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on March 31, 2009, 11:22:46 am
Gunflash has certainly stirred things up with suggesting that this is an 'elderly area'.

I suggest he/she stands at the gates of the primary school when school finishes and checks out the average age of the parents collecting the kids.  There will be some grandparents - I have collected my grandchildren occasionally - but not all parents have used science to have a child when in their 50s and 60s.   :icon_jokercolor:
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bunny on March 31, 2009, 12:05:02 pm
First time I have ever been called a snob, oh well, there goes my working class roots.  Tarring everybody with the same brush is such a easy and silly thing to do, shows a distinct lack of either, education or common sense or both.  There are proper ways to demonstarte our feelings which most in BP do, Criminal damage is wrong I totally agree.

Not being too old, I run my own company and am luckily very busy at the moment but still have time to get involved with local issues.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: John_fraser on March 31, 2009, 12:13:32 pm
As I understand it, these fields have been owned by Leach Homes or a predecessor company for a great number of years. During the last thirty years they have allowed the public free access to the land, even though there was no onus on them to do this. They surly deserve commendations for this public spirited act. Now they have decided to rescind this access, as is their moral and legal right you would expect them to be receive a "thank you." Instead they are met with vitriol and demands access to land that was never publicly owned.

Leach Homes have a right to use the land as they see fit as long as it complies with the law. And despite a great deal of postings, there is absolutely no indication they have broken any law. I enjoyed Leach Fields for several years. I will miss it and wish they hadn’t taken it back, but I am grateful they gave it to us enjoy for all these years. I hope they change their minds and open it up again, but if I owned the fields and read these posts or had been the victim of vandalism I doubt I’d ever let the public on my land again.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on March 31, 2009, 01:31:44 pm
But, John, Leach Homes leased Leach Fields to Gobions Woodland Trust, so presumably the company was getting something out of the arrangement. Also, as Bob Horrocks has pointed out on the forum, the land has been in the Green Belt for much of the time Leach Homes has owned it. As a result, the company hasn't been able to develop the fields as it probably would have wished.

It's not as if Leach Homes declined to develop the land and threw open the gates for 30 years out of the goodness of its heart. If that had been the case, I'd agree that Leach Homes is a truly public-spirited company and I'd be at the head of any Leach Homes Appreciation Parade.

It's not clear to me why Leach Homes has opted to end its arrangement with GWT. Perhaps, as Bob Horrocks has suggested, the company's got its eye on the main chance and hopes to develop the land if it's released from the Green Belt. Maybe it's got something to do with GWT handing over Gobions Woodland to the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust. (I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this, but maybe Leach Homes has some questions about who would actually maintain the fields if it renewed GWT's lease?)

To get back to my original point, I'm grateful that Leach Homes leased Leach Fields to GWT. I'm really grateful that volunteers for GWT maintained the land to such a high standard over the years. But I'm still going to support any (legal) efforts to keep the land in the Green Belt. Ditto any attempts to create Rights of Way across the land. And until it's clear what Leach Homes intends to do with the fields, I think I'll hold any thanks in reserve.

ps - Any news on the injured security guard?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on March 31, 2009, 02:35:32 pm
Quote
It's not clear to me why Leach Homes has opted to end its arrangement with GWT

I think you’ll probably find it’s the other way around. GWT has very few active members. One of the conditions of the lease on Leach Fields was that the boundaries be maintained. Trying to comply with this condition was a permanent headache for people who were giving up their own time voluntarily. When Gobions Wood was transferred over to Herts and Middx Wildlife Trust I can't see why they would be prepared to renew the lease and take on all the problems on land they don't own. Leach Homes would probably still like someone to take on the lease, but it is a major undertaking involving a lot of time and personal expense. Unless you have some money making scheme for the land (ie grazing or farming of some kind) you would be mad to want to take this on.

However, none of this affects that fact that many people (me included) believe a Right of Way has been established over this land, according to the law. This is not a case of “punishing” Leach Homes in spite of their kindness. The reason for this law was to ensure that landowners could not simply stop the common people from using established footpaths. Which is what has happened here.

If there is anyone else who would like to fill in a form declaring that they have been using these paths (especially people who were using them over 20 years ago), then please PM me and let me know. I would like to get the application to modify the counties Definitive Map in by the end of the week.


Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on March 31, 2009, 03:14:12 pm
Ah, interesting. Thanks, MikeL. I hadn't understood before why you felt that BP residents might have kept Leach Fields open if more of us had taken part in the GWT work parties, but I'm with you now.

For those who are interested, there's a blurb on the W & H Times website this afternoon about the injured security guard. I've cut and pasted it below:

Man suffers burns in Brookmans Park building site blaze
09:31 - 31 March 2009
A MAN suffered significant burns when his caravan caught fire last night (Monday).

The security guard was looking after a building site in Blue Bridge Road, Brookmans Park, when the accident, which is believed to involve a generator, took place at around 7pm.

Police, fire crews and an ambulance attended and the man was taken to the QE2 Hospital in WGC with burns to his hands and face.

He was later transferred to a specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex.

Fire service investigators are currently on site.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 31, 2009, 07:00:37 pm
Local conservationists are reporting an increase in muntjac deer around Gobions Pond in recent days. They claim it could be due to the changes currently taking place in neighbouring Leach Fields, which have now been closed to the public. Click here (http://www.brookmans.com/news/march09/wildlife_leaves_Leach_Fields.shtml) for more details.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on March 31, 2009, 09:24:28 pm
Interesting. A muntjac deer appeared in our back garden this morning. It must sense I'm sympathetic to its plight. Just not that sympathetic. If it doesn't stop eating my plants I'm going to catch it, carry it up the hill and hand it back to the site manager at Leach Fields.  ;)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 01, 2009, 08:39:22 am
Interesting. A muntjac deer appeared in our back garden this morning. It must sense I'm sympathetic to its plight.

Thanks Anne,

It would be interesting to hear from anyone else who has noticed the appearance of wildlife in unusual places.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on April 01, 2009, 09:15:15 pm
Our local MP has heard back Leach Homes about their plans for the fields there, from his forum:

http://www.shapps.com/forum/index.php/topic,4893.0.html

Quote
Leach Homes has owned the site for the past 70 years and for the last 20, it's been let to The Gobians Wood Trust. The lease expired on 31st December and is not being renewed.

The company are now in the process of securing all the boundaries in order to use the land for grazing horses. No hedgerows are being ripped up, only brambles, but all the entrances are being blocked off to avoid horses escaping.

All this work has apparently been discussed and approved by the Hatfield Rural Neighbourhood team.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: mannyd on April 01, 2009, 09:55:25 pm
James,

who are "Hatfield Rural Neighbourhood team"?? Someone who has walked these fields for the last 30 years tells me they are covered in wragwort (is that the right spelling?) which can be dangerous to grazing animals...
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: John_fraser on April 01, 2009, 11:00:25 pm
Hi,

I've had the below email back from David Wardell:

Hi Robert and Mrs Axxxxxxxx,
Thank you very much for contacting us and accept my apologies for replying to both of you in one email. Myself and Louise Luxford have visited the area today and spoke with a company representative. A message will be going out on Owl and the local forum website asking people for any local records they may have of the area. This could include pictures, logs kept by wildlife fans or anything that might assist in a future police investigation.
I visited the site today and told the contract manager what was acceptable. They have agreed that they will not touch any well established hedges, thick hedgerow or large or thick coppice. I have said that they can remove the odd patches of 2 - 3 foot high bramble that dot the area but not the thicker more established areas of bramble. They may move the odd small sapling where they are happy there is no nesting taking place They have stated that if they do then they will do their best to replant them in a more suitable area.
The pond has gone. It was a man made pond and now there is no evidence of what was there. This is where local reports/pictures will come in handy. If someone had good evidence that there were great crested newts in that pond then that would change matters greatly.
What I am not interested in is where people are laying claim to land or land access. This will be a civil matter.
Please pass this email on to anyone you feel may be able to assist.
I am not aware that this particular area has been set aside as a site of specific scientific interest but if any of you could guide me on that I will be happy to accept it. I am aware that nesting birds are heavily protected and I have successfully prosecuted a developer previously for this. I am keen to add that this company are not looking to develop the land - at least that is what they have said, although I doubt very much they would get permission to do this anyway. The reason for clearing up the land is for use for animal grazing which will include ensuring the boundaries are proper as any livestock owner should.
I am now away until Monday so if you need to contact us regarding this matter please email Louise whose email is included. Alternatively please contact 0845 3300222 if this is of a non urgent matter and ask for the log to be forwarded to Louise or myself.
 
Many thanks,
 
Dave.
 
Dave Wardell
Hatfield Rural Neighbourhood Team
Comet Way
Hatfield
AL10 9SJ
01707 806944
07814016831

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 03, 2009, 08:22:50 am
Police say the security company patrolling Leach Fields has been changed, a week after being brought in to protect the site. Click here (http://www.brookmans.com/news/april09/new_security_for_Leach_Fields.shtml) for more details.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 03, 2009, 12:28:08 pm
Police say the security company has left the site "mainly due to threats being made to the security guards and earlier this week a vehicle was damaged."  Officers say any threats, violence or criminal damage will be investigated and charges may follow.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 03, 2009, 07:16:23 pm
Nationwide Security Ltd says it pulled its staff off the Leach Fields site because the company was "fed up with staff being harassed by members of the public."  Click here  (http://www.brookmans.com/news/april09/security_firm_harassed_by_public.shtml)for more details.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 06, 2009, 04:59:47 pm
Forms signed by locals who say they have been using the paths across Leach Fields for more than 20 years are being collected. The wording on the form says "I confirm that the routes marked in red are the paths that I refer to in my attached evidence". The form is then dated and signed. The following map shows the location of the paths people used to be able to walk along with their grid references.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april09/leach_fields_map_new.jpg)

Note: edited to update map.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: GWTSEC on April 08, 2009, 03:13:20 pm

GWT has very few active members. One of the conditions of the lease on Leach Fields was that the boundaries be maintained. Trying to comply with this condition was a permanent headache for people who were giving up their own time voluntarily. When Gobions Wood was transferred over to Herts and Middx Wildlife Trust I can't see why they would be prepared to renew the lease and take on all the problems on land they don't own. Leach Homes would probably still like someone to take on the lease, but it is a major undertaking involving a lot of time and personal expense.


Gobions Woodland Trust did everything in its power to renew the lease on Leach Fields, Leach homes was just not interested. Many people still continue to support the trust with regular donations and those who have worked to maintain the area have worked very hard indeed. Everyone is bitterly disappointed that the lease was not renewed.

Note: Edited only to fix quote box.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on April 09, 2009, 09:04:57 am
Forms signed by locals who say they have been using the paths across Leach Fields for more than 20 years are being collected. The wording on the form says "I confirm that the routes marked in red are the paths that I refer to in my attached evidence". The form is then dated and signed. The following map shows the location of the paths people used to be able to walk along with their grid references.

Question - I don't know anything about this, but would it not be better for the footpaths to finish somewhere else than the middle of a field? Would North Mymms PC have any objections to having the footpaths continue across their land to finish at Brookmans Avenue and Moffats Lane? And possible Gobions Woodland Trust through their land? It seems daft to only have footpaths that - possibly in the future - end at land which cannot be walked through, and would whoever decides on the footpaths look more favourably on them if they ended at roads?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 09, 2009, 09:06:47 am
Hi James,

I am not expert either, but I think the paths end at (i.e. join up with) existing path either on parish council owned land (Moffats Open Space) or land formerly owned by Gobions Woodland Trust and now part of the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust.

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: GWTSEC on April 09, 2009, 01:27:51 pm
To clarify the situation with regard to maps etc. The front of the form says "This form should be completed by one person only and should relate to only one route. " The ROW officer at HCC agreed that as there were likely to be lots of forms and there are various routes through the field it would be sufficient, for the time being, to specify routes in question 4, which refer to a map attached to all the submissions. This is the map above.

Question 4, says "Please give a full description of the route you use and mark it on the attached map, e.g where you start from and where you finish".
There are 3 points on the map, A, B and C which were entrances/exits to Leach fields and several pathways between these points.
It is possible to go from A to B via paths 1 and 5, or 1,4 and 6, or even 2,7, 4 and 6. If you have used all three put them in.
With regard to starting and finishing in fields, Moffatts Open space and Gobions Wood have  open access so the ROW is not in question there.


Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: ScottishGoat on April 16, 2009, 01:56:27 pm
Can someone let me know where the forms can be obtained in connection with the rights of way at Leach Fields?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on April 17, 2009, 12:53:20 pm
They should be available in the Brookmans Park library, or I can email you a copy when I get home tonight.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: ScottishGoat on April 20, 2009, 04:52:38 pm
Thanks MikeL.

I visited the library and picked the forms up.  (I do not have access to the personal messaging otherwise I would have left my email address)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: RayLo1 on April 24, 2009, 12:36:38 pm
I use the Bluebridge entry point for access to Gobions wood and it's closure was a bit of a suprise when I went during the week as when I last used it in February there was no indication of this change. I had to use the public footpath next to the farm. The section that crosses the farm has been blocked for some time now by the grazing of horses(the same ones that would use Leach Fields). The route now is along the boundary trying to avoid snagging on the barbed wire. Not a route for unsteady walkers. I am not familiar with the other entrances as I have only used the one since 2007 when a tree was planted in memory of my wife. 
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on May 07, 2009, 01:56:20 pm
Apparently a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) has been made on trees on the Leach Fields. I will see the Order next week.  It does not stop development of the land but does make it more difficult.  Last month an appeal was dismissed when someone was refused permission to carry out work on 4 trees covered by a TPO at Peplins Way.  For more information go to www.welhat.gov.uk and put 'Tree Preservation Order' in the search facility.  The main part of it says:

'A Tree Preservation Order (TPO) is a legal document, made and administered by the council to protect trees by controlling works carried out to trees and woodlands with amenity value.  The principal effect of a TPO is to prohibit the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or destruction of a tree without the prior consent of the Local Planning Authority (LPA).  The cutting of roots is potentially damaging and also requires the LPA's prior consent. Certain exemptions apply but you are strongly advised to contact the Planning Department before you undertake, or instruct any other person or company, to undertake any works to a preserved tree.'

Fines of up to £20,000 can be made for unauthorised work.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on May 07, 2009, 08:27:35 pm
Excellent news. There are some beautiful trees in Leach Fields, and indeed throughout Brookmans Park. It's funny that Bob should have posted this news this week. This past weekend my husband and I were admiring some of the old trees in the area and talking about how we ought to nominate a local tree on the website every now and again, and research its history.

In Highgate, where we used to live, the local magazine does this. I particularly remember a write-up about an ancient oak that stands in the middle of Denewood Road, which runs just behind our old house. It had formed part of a hedgerow on the fields that used to lie south-west of North Road. I love this sort of history.

In Brookmans Park, I'd nominate the oak at the junction of Brookmans Avenue/Georges Wood Road and Mymms Drive, the twisty pine on Brookmans Avenue, the redwoods (?) on The Drive and the hollowed-out tree (still living, somehow) in Gobions Wood. Just for starters.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on May 15, 2009, 06:33:50 pm
I have now seen the map atached to the Tree Preservation Order.  You will be able to work out which trees are covered from the map above

The TPO protects 6 Oak trees and three groups of various trees. 

One group runs from just north of the three Bluebridge Rd houses that are set back, running east/west to where there are 4 Oak trees covered by the TPO at the pond (is that the pond that has been filled in?). 

A second group runs north/south being each side of the continuation of the track leading into the car park on the Open Space almost down to the stream.  You can see the track on the map.

The third group is on the village side of the stream running east/west from a point immediately north of Michael /Linda Jonas's cottage by the bridge to just before the disused sewage works.  The group is to the south of the red line at the bottom of the map.  This group narrows the entrance to the Leach Fields at that point.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: nicholasac on July 20, 2009, 09:09:11 am
Having actually spoken to Leach I now understand what happened. Having leased the fields for years to the Trust, Leaches were notified a year or so ago by the Dept. of the Environment, that the Trust had made an application to them to have Leach Fields declared a site of special scientific interest. This application was rejected by the Secretary of State. If it had been approved, it would have had serious repercussions over how the land could be used.

The Trustees had never notified or discussed this application with Leach Homes and it came as a complete surprise to them. They took the view that if this is how the Trustees want to behave, they will have no more to do with them, and therefore refused to renew the lease when it expired.

Personally I don't blame them. I would do exactly the same in their position.

As a result of their stupidity, the Trustees have ensured that the land is now no longer available to us to walk over.

Rather than blaming Leach Homes, I think trust members should consider long and hard whether the people who made the decision to carry on in this underhand way are actually fit to be trustees.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: GWTSEC on July 20, 2009, 11:53:36 am
The trustees of Gobions Woodland Trust have never made an application to the Department of the Environment for Leach Fields to be declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Such an application would be a matter of public record, as would any rejection by the Secretary of State. Leach Homes raised no such matter with the trustees when a renewal of the lease was requested.
Perhaps Nicholasac should check both sides before posting.
I would add, that if it wasn't for the hard work the trustees have done over the years, including maintaining Gobions Wood and its footpaths, there would be nowhere for any of us to walk. 
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on July 20, 2009, 12:06:00 pm
Yes, nicolasac should indeed have checked both sides before posting such a defamatory comment!

What I would like to know now is - who conjured up the original untruth, nicolasac or Leach?

I think the Trustees of the Gobions Woodlands Trust deserve a fulsome apology!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: jazzman on July 20, 2009, 03:19:24 pm
Strikes me that Nicolasac seems to have no idea (a) of his facts and (b) how indebted everyone who uses Gobions is to the Wildlife Trust.

What an outrageous slur; check the truth before you go mouthing off, son....
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AnneK on July 20, 2009, 04:58:24 pm
Well said, jazzman.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on July 20, 2009, 05:06:37 pm
Surely if something is worthy of being declared a “Site of Special Scientific Interest” then it is because that is exactly what it is. IE it’s a fact! Not something that can be decided upon by the owners.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: sasquartch on July 20, 2009, 08:45:14 pm
Tonight a horse escaped from Leach Fields. It's currently wandering around Moffats Open Space (not the main field but the field between there and Bluebridge Avenue)

No idea who to report it to or who owns the horses - hopefully someone will know.

Seemed quite happy just grazing.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: nicholasac on July 20, 2009, 09:06:18 pm
I sugest you check your facts jazzman, whoever you are. I stand by every word I have written. Rather a sad indictment of your own position that you have to be so childish as to resort to name calling.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on July 20, 2009, 10:13:57 pm
I sugest you check your facts jazzman, whoever you are. I stand by every word I have written. Rather a sad indictment of your own position that you have to be so childish as to resort to name calling.

Hi nicholasac,

Welcome to the forum. Seeing as we have a quote from the GWTSEC (secretary of the Gobions Woodland Trust) refuting the claims you made, are you able to include a quote from Leach homes confirming the claims, please?

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: epiphany on July 21, 2009, 09:26:26 am
Hi Sasquartch

Thanks for posting, I know the owners and have notified them.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: sasquartch on July 21, 2009, 09:51:14 am
That's good to hear.

I'm almost certain it jumped over the site of the now blocked up entrance to Leach Fields from Moffats Open Space.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: epiphany on July 28, 2009, 09:18:20 am
APPEAL

I am writing this on behalf of some friends who rent the fields from Leach Homes to graze their horses.

Last week a fence was twice broken down - once using wirecutters, resulting in a horse escaping into Moffats open space.

Obviously this is very upsetting for them as the horses could wander into a surrounding road and a serious accident could occur.

They are just ordinary local people (Welham Green)  that have unwittingly become caught up in a war between local residents and Leach Homes.

Everytime something like this happens, it affects them, NOT Leach Homes and a considerable amount of time and money has to be spent each time to repair the damage.

Please, if you or somebody you know is the culprit please think again.






Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: GWTSEC on July 28, 2009, 11:34:07 am
It is very distressing to discover that damage is being done to Leach property and that this is causing distress to Leach's tenants.
It is regrettable that such irresponsible behaviour is attributed to a 'war' between local residents and Leach homes. There are undoubtedly differences of opinion and many local people have been upset by the closure of Leach fields and some of the damage to wild life, but damage to property has never been condoned.
If the culprit believe's he/she is acting in the interest of local people, they are certainly not. On the contrary they are acting against the interest of the local community, if their behaviour endorses the opinion that we are at 'war'.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Nick on August 01, 2009, 06:51:02 am
Have just been through Moffats open space 6:30am and there is a loose horse grazing (presumably escaped from Leach Fields), doesn't look like it has been out very long as there are no droppings. please can someone contact the owners?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: horses - leach field on August 01, 2009, 04:51:41 pm
I am one the people who currently graze some horses in the Leach field, early today, not only has the fence to Moffats open space been broken, allowing a horse to escape, but also a newly erected fence destroyed, some metal gates vanadalised and the horses water storage destroyed. This is not the first time such vandalism has occured.

The Police are now involed, SOCO has attended, covert CCTV will be installed to catch those involved. The perosn(s) involved are endangering the horses present, two of whom sustained injuries from the broken fence. I hope those involved are proud of their actions.

Rare breed cattle are to graze in the field shortly along with free range pigs. If you are involved in the vandalism please think about what you are doing, horses have been injuried, livestock equipment destroyed, fences broken etc.

Try walking around the lake, its a much better view. 
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: horses - leach field on August 09, 2009, 10:15:48 pm
Yet again the fence from Moffats open space to Leachs field has been damaged, fences within Leachs field have also been damaged. One horse has been chased into the Brook, and so the Police where called yet again.

I have read the many postings about all aspects of the Leachs fields, from the size of a bramble bush, the well being of Newts, and the full A to Z of animal welfare issues.

Yet not a reply from the good people of Brookmans Park, about the horses grazing in the field who have been injured by the actions of a few? It speaks volumes!

My I ask yet again to the person(s) who are undertaking these actions, the horses have nothing to do with Leachs Homes, you have directly caused injury to these animals, do you care?

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: ADM on August 10, 2009, 09:14:47 am
Yet not a reply from the good people of Brookmans Park, about the horses grazing in the field who have been injured by the actions of a few? It speaks volumes!

I don't understand what you are trying to say.  I'm sorry your horses got injured.  Obviously no-one is condoning criminal damage.  What do you expect people to do?  I'm all for rounding up the perpetrators and burning them at the stake too, but we're not allowed to do that anymore.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: sasquartch on August 10, 2009, 11:43:59 am
Yet again the fence from Moffats open space to Leachs field has been damaged, fences within Leachs field have also been damaged. One horse has been chased into the Brook, and so the Police where called yet again.

I have read the many postings about all aspects of the Leachs fields, from the size of a bramble bush, the well being of Newts, and the full A to Z of animal welfare issues.

Yet not a reply from the good people of Brookmans Park, about the horses grazing in the field who have been injured by the actions of a few? It speaks volumes!

My I ask yet again to the person(s) who are undertaking these actions, the horses have nothing to do with Leachs Homes, you have directly caused injury to these animals, do you care?



I think the overwhelming majority of people do care and certainly would not condone any criminal activity even if the ending of access to Leach Fields is unpopular. For example I posted on this site the fact that a horse was loose in Moffats Open Space and was concerned for it's welfare.

Like ADM, I'm not sure what you expect people to say, please don't tar all the people of BP with the same brush just because of the actions of whoever is causing all the vandalism.




Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: P.C 484 Freeman on August 14, 2009, 12:45:39 pm
Good afternoon,

I'm a sad to report that there has been a recent spate of criminal damage type offences within the Fenced off area of The Leach fields site.
Fences are being broken or removed, causing Horses to escape from their fields, and property within the fields belonging to Horse Owners is also being damaged.

Not only is the damage being caused a Criminal Offence, it is also endangering the lives of the animals involved, which are escaping into un-fenced areas and very near local to roads.  At the moment it is pure luck that no Horses have managed to reach the roads, and I do not need to elaborate on the possible consequences if this were to happen.

Criminal Damage will not be tolerated and all people caught committing any offences will be dealt with to the full extent of our powers.  Police will be increasing patrols in this area to combat this unwelcome behaviour.

If you have witnessed any offences of this type or have any information in relation to these incidents  please contact either myself or P.C.S.O 6688 LUXFORD on 01707 354192 or Crime stoppers on 0800 555111 in confidence.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on August 16, 2009, 12:46:05 pm
PC Freeman's new topic has been merged with this one since there has already been considerable discussion about it under the 'Leach Fields' heading.

I finally met PC Freeman a few days ago.  Nice bloke, but his youthfulness made me feel my age!   It is true - the police seem to get younger as you get older, or something like that.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: P.C 484 Freeman on August 16, 2009, 03:59:02 pm
Was nice to meet you, and I would encourage anyone who's see's me out and about to come and have a chat with me,  to either tell me your concerns or just to say hello.

Alternatively my contact details are on The Hertfordshire Police Website if you want to give me a call or drop me an email.

We hold regular meetings in the Village for you to get to meet us, and I would like to see more people turn up to discuss their village with us.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend

P.C 484 Freeman
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on November 27, 2010, 02:02:58 pm
Well after about 18 months, Leach Fields have reached the top of the “to do” list at the Rights of Way Service.  The Definitive Map Officer is now looking at the evidence to determine if any rights of way have been established over Leach Fields. The bad news is that the forms most of us filled in were provided by the Ramblers Association, and Hertfordshire County Council does not recognise these forms and insists that all requests be submitted on their own (considerably longer) forms. One form for each route claimed.

If you did fill in a form before, please would you take the time to fill in one of the new forms now. And if you didn’t fill in a form before, it’s not too late to fill one in now.

You can download the forms from the following FTP site. ftp.hosting.zen.co.uk  (ftp://ftp.hosting.zen.co.uk) The user name is “MikeL” and the password is “password”.

If you are unable to download the forms, please mail me and I will send you a copy. Alternatively, I can bring round a hard copy if you would like.

Many of us are convinced that a legal right of way does exist across Leach Fields, it just needs your evidence to prove it.

ftp.hosting.zen.co.uk  (ftp://ftp.hosting.zen.co.uk)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Susa on November 28, 2010, 12:16:07 pm
I have just downloaded the form and maps (thank you MikeL). Do you know what the 'HCC File Reference' is? And 'Parish &/or Name of Route'?
Thank you.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on November 30, 2010, 09:17:35 pm
Susa, I'm sorry, I didn't notice your question until this evening.

I have been sent a map from the Definitive Map Officer with a file reference of "W+H/81/MOD".

I don't know if that is the full HCC reference or just her personal file reference. The form does say "If known" so it may be best to leave it off.

MikeL

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on June 10, 2011, 04:25:08 pm
Have received the following earlier today:

Quote
"Application to amend the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way in the area of Leach Fields, Brookmans Park
Ref. W+H/81/MOD
 
We (Hertfordshire County Council) have investigated evidence relating to alleged footpaths in the area of Leach Fields, near Gobions Wood in Brookmans Park.  After full consideration of all the evidence available, we have decided to make an Order to record paths 1 – 7 as shown on the attached Plan as footpaths, with a width of two metres and subject to the limitations set out by the Gobions Woodland Trust at Points A and B.  A footpath is a public right of way for use on foot only.
 
I have attached a decision letter and a detailed report titled “Reasons for the Decision” which explains the evidence and how we made our decision.  I have also included a formal Notice of the Decision.   Our decision is not about creating new rights.  It is about correctly recording rights which the evidence shows already exist. 
 
If you would like a paper copy of any of the above or if you have any queries about this decision, please contact me.
 
Regards - Andrea
 
Andrea Trendler
Definitive Map Officer
Rights of Way Service CHN 103
01992 555280 or 25280"

I expect the land owners will probably appeal, which will result in a public enquiry. But at least the council have recognised that the paths have been in constant use long enough to make them public rights of way.

If anyone would like a copy of the documents mentioned, please let me know.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on June 10, 2011, 07:17:19 pm
Fantastic news, my family have been walking those paths for 47 years and have sorely missed them since Leach Homes have closed them off. If it comes to a public enquiry, we would be delighted to give evidence.

Very well done to you MikeL and everyone else involved   :)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: saffie on June 10, 2011, 09:26:19 pm
I miss the paths greatly too, and would be happy to give evidence of using them on a daily basis with our dogs.

I would love it if these were reopened.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on June 10, 2011, 09:26:51 pm
Result, well done Mike and all others involved.  This shows the power of local action/opinion. Excellent.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on June 13, 2011, 02:12:50 pm
Localism / Big Society at its best!

This will put the cat amongst the pigeons.

Welwyn Hatfield Council is currently consulting on how many new homes should be built in the borough during the next 20 years.  They discuss 5 levels of construction, with the highest level requiring substantial encroachments into the Green Belt, including up to 263 new homes on the Leach Fields, which is Green Belt land.

An explanatory Green Belt Soc Newsletter is just being printed which offers guidance on what you can do to oppose such an idea.  It should be delivered to all houses in the next two or so weeks, and be on the society's stand at Village Day.  The stand will have a copy of the Leach Fields map and decision letter.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Nick on July 09, 2011, 11:12:26 am
We have noticed this morning that the corner of Leach Fields adjacent to Bluebridge Road (near the lovely new flats) has been fenced off so that a group of Porcine residents can move in. This will make restablishment of the footpaths a bit tricky, if not smelly  ;D
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Buster on July 10, 2011, 10:19:24 pm
put you off buying the flats - developer must be pleased!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: epiphany on July 11, 2011, 09:47:05 am
put you off buying the flats - developer must be pleased!

It seems to me, more than a little paradoxical that in a community that appears to value the
surroundings of the green belt that the concerns of a property developer appear to outweigh
the embracing of the sights and sounds (and smells) of the countryside!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Buster on July 11, 2011, 11:36:21 am
Whatever.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on August 23, 2011, 06:11:59 pm
Further to MikeL's post on June 10 2011 in the thread Re: Leach Fields, notices will be posted this week at the boundaries to Gobions regarding the footpaths, and a notice will also appear in this week's Welwyn Hatfield Times. Here is a link to the map showing the footpaths:   http://www.brookmans.com/walks/leachfields.pdf (http://www.brookmans.com/walks/leachfields.pdf)

Accordingly, MikeL and I will shortly be contacting those people who filled in user evidence forms and indicated that they might be willing to give evidence.

In the meantime, it is not too late to complete a form, if you feel that you would like to help - the more the merrier. The period being examined is the 20 years, prior to March 2009. Note that you do not have to have walked there for the entire 20 years. Please IM MikeL or myself if you would like one of the forms.

I attach below the background information:

Background information
In May 2009 an application was made to Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) to record 3 public footpaths over Leach Fields.  It was supported by ‘user evidence’ from local people who had used the routes for over 20 years prior to March 2009 when fences etc. were erected around the site.

Application and investigation process
An application to amend the Definitive Map and Statement for Hertfordshire (the legal record of public rights of way in the county) involves a legal process.  Our application was made under section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.  HCC receives many such applications and so there is a prioritisation procedure to assess and score the cases, after which they are added to the waiting list.  Our case came to the top of the list in October 2010 and an officer started the investigation.  This involves HCC checking historical maps and documentary sources for evidence of the routes and assessing the ‘user evidence’ submitted with the application.  All this information is included in an ‘Investigation Report’ which is sent out for consultation to the applicant, landowner, district and parish councils and various user groups, so that they have the opportunity to submit any additional evidence either for or against the existence of the application routes.   After the consultation period, HCC holds a Decision Meeting at which each piece of evidence is assessed in relation to the legal tests.   If there is sufficient evidence in support of a public right of way, an Order is made.  If there is not, the case is closed.

Decision to make an Order to show footpaths
HCC’s decision for the Leach Fields application was that there was sufficient evidence to ‘reasonably allege’ that 4 public footpaths exist.  HCC has therefore made and sealed an Order to show these and a Notice advertising the Order will be published in the Welwyn Hatfield Times on 24 August 2011 and sent to the required people/organisations.  Notices will also be erected on site for 6 weeks.  During this period, anyone can make a representation or an objection to the Order.  If the HCC receives no objections, it can confirm the Order and record the footpaths on the Definitive Map and Statement.  If HCC receives objections which are not later withdrawn, the legislation requires that the case is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate who will decide how to resolve it.  This would require holding a public hearing or a public inquiry or through written representations

Public inquiry likely
As the landowner of Leach Fields does not want the footpaths and our case is mainly based on user evidence, it is very likely to go to a public inquiry.  This means that the success of our case will depend on the strength and quality of the evidence given by local people about their use of the routes at the public inquiry.   We have a number of people who submitted evidence with the application in 2009 but we are interested in hearing from others who could help our case.

How can you help?
We are particularly keen to hear from people who used the footpaths regularly during all or most of the critical 20 year period of 1989-2009.  If you are one of those people, please could you get in touch using the contact details shown below.  Initially, we will just ask you to complete a ‘user evidence form’ to assess the strength of your evidence.  If your evidence is good, we may ask if you would be willing to give a statement and attend the inquiry which will be held locally, probably in a church hall.  Although the inquiry is not likely to happen until well into 2012, we do have to prepare our case within the next few months in order to send it to the Planning Inspectorate.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: saffie on August 23, 2011, 06:16:30 pm
Hi, I can't find contact details, but can get myself, hubbie and my parents in law who used the paths to fill one in for you and my dog walker too.  Please email me info and I will getit done ASAP.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on August 23, 2011, 09:47:51 pm
Saffie, I have IM'd you. Please let me know if you don't receive it.

MikeL
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on August 23, 2011, 09:52:07 pm
For those who may miss the link in the earlier thread, here is a cropped picture of the main area.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mr Green on August 23, 2011, 10:21:37 pm
I'm happy to complete also (and give evidence) but don't have a form. Can they be uploaded to the site.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mighty Oak on August 24, 2011, 07:27:31 am
Hi  Am also willing to complete a form, please can you send one or make available to download.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on August 24, 2011, 10:16:38 am
In the meantime, it is not too late to complete a form, if you feel that you would like to help - the more the merrier.

Hi Mermaid, in view of the requests for forms (copied below), if you or Mike want to email me the form I can put it on the Brookmans Park Newsletter server for people to download.

David

Hi, I can't find contact details, but can get myself, hubbie and my parents in law who used the paths to fill one in for you and my dog walker too.  Please email me info and I will getit done ASAP.

I'm happy to complete also (and give evidence) but don't have a form. Can they be uploaded to the site.

Hi  Am also willing to complete a form, please can you send one or make available to download.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on August 24, 2011, 01:46:42 pm
Dave

HCC have asked us not to put the forms on the site, but to ask people to contact me directly. I believe this is because the instructions on the forms refer to returning them to the HCC offices, but the process has passed that stage now. Additionally, the forms have a tick box for people who do not wish their details divulged. As a result, HCC wouldn't be able to tell us about anyone who had returned the form to HCC with this box ticked ticked. Which does defeat the object somewhat!

I have IM'd (or is it PM'd?) everyone who has asked so far. If anyone would like a form, please contact me directly and I will either email you a copy or bring one round if you live locally.

MikeL
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on September 08, 2011, 10:13:49 pm
We are still eager to hear from anyone who used to walk the footpaths in Leach Fields since before 1990 and who has not filled in a Public Rights of Way Evidence Form. Although we have had forms from quite a few people who meet this criteria, the bigger pool of people we have who are prepared to attend an inquiry to confirm that the paths were used unopposed for 20 years or more, the better.

If you know of someone who has been walking the fields for a long time but does not read this forum (hard to believe I know!) please ask them to get in touch with me on 01707661737.

Thanks
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: saffie on September 11, 2011, 09:16:53 pm
Hi Mike, have filled in forms for you and dropped it round, but somehow people have heard that these are not the right forms and do not need to be filled in as there are now notices in Gobions apparently saying (I have not seen these so only quoting what I have heard) that if there are no complaints then the paths will be reopened in October.

Maybe you could you let me know if any of this is correct as I gave a form to someone to fill in who I know has walked the paths for years and they were advised not to by a regular reader of this site as it was unnecessary.

I hope you can clear up any confusion as I think it is important for us all to do our bit.  If we can to get these paths reopened.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on September 12, 2011, 11:24:33 am
Maybe you could you let me know if any of this is correct as I gave a form to someone to fill in who I know has walked the paths for years and they were advised not to by a regular reader of this site as it was unnecessary.

The forms which MikeL and I have provided since the post on 23rd August are correct.

The 'regular reader' is wrong in this instance. It IS still necessary to fill in a form if you haven't done one before - particularly if you have been a regular walker of the paths in the 20 years under examination - AND would be willing to give evidence to a Public Enquiry if there is one.

Please encourage your contact to go ahead and fill in the form if they fit the criteria.

Many thanks Saffie

Mermaid
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Nick on November 08, 2011, 07:30:43 pm
Heard that there were no appeals received against reopening the footpaths. Does anyone know if this means that we can expect the footpaths through Leach Fields to be open again soon?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on November 08, 2011, 10:43:31 pm
As from today, Herts CC have put site notices up in the relevant areas for the confirmation of the order. This is also being advertised in the Welwyn + Hatfield Times tomorrow 9 November.  The notices have to be up for 6 weeks, then we will be able to post a further update on here.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: hilarycarlen on November 20, 2011, 04:19:42 pm
I missed this whole thread, until hubby and I saw the footpath notice today by Bluebridge and saw that the big steel gate had been left open.  So we thought "that's great" and went off on our old perimetre walk again, marvelling at having this nice walk back.  Then were met by an indignant horse lady in the meadow by the open space, who insisted that there was no footpath and we were trespassing and the gate had been left open in error.  Hey ho. The fence has been broken down at the end of the meadow, making a scramble-able way over at the end where the footpath will come out (where it used to be).  So we had a lovely walk all round the open space, lake, woods and back past Raebrook, just like the old days.  But the big gates were locked again at Bluebridge on our way back, so we were just lucky.

What's happening?  Anything we can do?  I didn't see the postings about the user evidence, but if there's any use belatedly, will happily give evidence of regularly walking those paths since we moved here in 2000.  We were really sad when they were all closed off.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on November 20, 2011, 05:15:28 pm
Hilary

You were a bit early I'm afraid! I'm now quite confident that the paths will be re-opened. But it will take time. There is no longer any need for anyone to fill in any evidence forms, that stage has passed and the council's rights of way officer has agreed that footpaths do exist accross the fields, but there is still the possibility of the landowners appealing. It's now just a matter of waiting whilst all the required legal procedures are followed through to their conclusion. As soon as there is anything more definite, I will post it here

Mike
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: horses leach field on November 20, 2011, 10:10:59 pm
Over the weekend unknown persons have allowed the rescued pigs to escape from their secure compound next to the Raybrook farm footpath. A brown Staff type dogs was then seen to attack the pigs causing them injuries, the vet from the RVC attended. One pig died the next day.

The pigs are held in a secure compound, but persons unknown are opening the gate and so allowing them to escape. If you happen to come across these persons please inform the Police, or if you happen to come across an escaped pig, they are very friendly, but please keep your dog under control.

The footpaths are as yet not open to the public, once they are all dogs will have to be kept under control,(ie on a lead), as livestock is present on Leachs Filed.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on November 20, 2011, 10:20:58 pm
Over the weekend unknown persons have allowed the rescued pigs to escape from their secure compound next to the Raybrook farm footpath. A brown Staff type dogs was then seen to attack the pigs causing them injuries, the vet from the RVC attended. One pig died the next day.

Very sorry to hear that. Whatever some elements of our local community may feel about the loss of Leach's fields to walk on, this behaviour is clearly not unacceptable. I presume these are the same animals that were in Gobions Open Space a few weeks ago?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Buster on November 21, 2011, 08:45:14 am
Not good - people should not be allowed to have dogs if they cannot control them.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: LuckyDuck on November 22, 2011, 05:07:46 pm
Yes two pigs were attacked. What an awful person to sabotage the pigs enclosure and set the dogs on the pigs. They have cheekly totted around the woods but they are so friendly.

I doubt the footpaths will happen in leach fields. As now its used for keeping animals on.
But i have seen that somepeople have been flytipping their garden waste over the fence's. Tut tut
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on November 22, 2011, 05:58:43 pm
I doubt the footpaths will happen in leach fields. As now its used for keeping animals on.

On the contrary, as posted above, the council's rights of way officer has agreed that footpaths do exist across the fields. Ultimately these will be marked out and the animals will have an enclosure away from the footpaths.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: LuckyDuck on November 22, 2011, 06:09:54 pm
Yes but there will only be a path fenced in for the walkers and they will have to keep thier dogs on leads. The problem with this is some people will not like it and will not stick to the paths, and walk through fields. Then that just makes more problems.

I think that there shouldnt be any footpaths on leach fields. As the animals will suffer for it.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on November 22, 2011, 07:48:52 pm
I think that there shouldnt be any footpaths on leach fields. As the animals will suffer for it.

As stated, the Rights of Way have been established, and there will be designated footpaths across Leach Fields, whether you agree with it or not. The evidence given looked at a specific 20-year period, but there are many families who have been walking the paths for very many more years than that.

I'm sure that whoever is renting some land to the owners of the pigs will be able to fence off a secure area and make them safe. There were sheep fenced in on that field for at least a couple of years whilst people were still freely walking in Leach Fields, and that seemed to work fine.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: LuckyDuck on November 22, 2011, 08:37:36 pm
Its not the fencing thats the problem, its the people who might not use the fenced path and take there dogs on the non fenced field where the horses and other animals are.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: horses leach field on November 22, 2011, 08:47:26 pm
Leach Field is under an agricultural tenancy, and so Horses, pigs, goats and soon Highland cattle will be grazing in the various fields. The footpaths when established will be 2 meters in width, and fenced so that people can rightly use the footpaths, but the walkers and their dogs will be confined to the footpaths, they will not be able to wonder at will and worry the livestock.

The livestock have the right to graze freely and not to be constantly attacked by dogs as happened last weekend. The walkers and their dogs can run freely in other parts of the Gobion Woods, so why would they want to run freely around a farmers field, and worry their  livestock?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Ferdie on November 22, 2011, 09:15:40 pm
Leach Field is under an agricultural tenancy, and so Horses, pigs, goats and soon Highland cattle will be grazing in the various fields.

Sounds lovely and a welcome addition to the scenery and interest of the area. Hopefully there will be indeed respect from the locals and we can all enjoy in harmony.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: epiphany on November 22, 2011, 10:40:00 pm
Sounds lovely and a welcome addition to the scenery and interest of the area. Hopefully there will be indeed respect from the locals and we can all enjoy in harmony.

I second that!
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on November 23, 2011, 01:29:49 pm
I think it sounds lovely as well and look forward to seeing them. I also find it appalling that people are doing anything to harm the animals there. Also, for the almost 20 years I have been in the area, walkers were always supposed to keep to the paths.

I would just like to add one point though. People have enjoyed walking in these fields for over 40 years, hence the reason the rights of way have been established. It is the farm animals that are the recent addition here (I believe it was a turf farm in the past) and it is their presence that is currently restricting local people's established rights, not the other way round.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: pinchefalise on November 23, 2011, 02:08:47 pm
Well said mikeL. We have lived here for almost 37 years and have regularly walked Leach fields into the woods and fields. Only when the building work started on the adjacent flats ( after knocking down the house on the site) was the entry to the fields barred by the paadlocked gate and access from the other points blocked by trees/ wood/ bushes etc. We always stuck to the paths even though there wwere no animals there in those days.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on November 23, 2011, 03:59:17 pm
Only when the building work started on the adjacent flats ( after knocking down the house on the site) was the entry to the fields barred by the paadlocked gate

The two events were unconnected.  The 20 year lease on the field expired and Leach Homes closed off the accesses.  The flats were developed by someone else - a BP resident whose name and address can be seen on www.welhat.gov.uk (http://www.welhat.gov.uk) on the application form for planning application 2009/2770.  I say this to possibly spare any blushes / harrassment by naming him here.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: LuckyDuck on November 23, 2011, 06:08:08 pm
Ludicrous! People acting like they own the land!

Yes People have enjoyed walking these paths for years, The land owner was genorous enough to allow you to do that.
Making claims to have rights over somebody elses land is appalling no land owner in the future will ever make that mistake again.
A footpath being established just means a way through, and luckily for the animals there, it means people in the enclosures not the other way around.
I can't see why this is such a problem for some people, when there is miles of park land on the other side.

P.s

MikeL
In one breath you say walkers should stick to the paths, In the next your saying animals are restricting your rights of way.

How is that, when there is going to be an enclosed footpath through the fields for you to walk on?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on November 23, 2011, 06:13:15 pm
Obviously this must be the first time that public footpaths have ever been created over farmland. :icon_scratch:
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: LuckyDuck on November 23, 2011, 08:00:46 pm
ML did you feel like not answering my question then?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mary_Morgan on November 24, 2011, 10:28:03 am
Farm animals are not a recent addition.  These fields were part of Moffats Farm and had cattle in them during the 50s, and horses during the 60s.   Mr and Mrs Canham ran the farm and when Hubert Leach bought the fields they were rented out for people to graze horses. 

I am with LuckyDuck here.  As a child/teenager in the 50s and 60s I roamed and rode round the fields for hours on end.   There were no specific pathways then, and we roamed all over because Mr and Mrs Canham and then Hubert Leach were quite happy for us to do so.   My friends and I always knew who owned the fields and that we were privileged that they allowed us to roam around in them.

Cheers

Mary
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: saffie on December 11, 2011, 08:02:44 am
Hi Mike

I heard yesterday that there is a walk being organised on Sunday 18th on these paths, is that right? And does this also mean that is there official reopening?

I do hope so, can't wait to be able to walk that way again.

Saffie

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on December 11, 2011, 05:33:21 pm
Quote
I heard yesterday that there is a walk being organised on Sunday 18th on these paths

I would sincerely hope there isn't an organised walk on the 18th of this month as the footpaths have not yet been recorded on the definitive map so anyone walking in Leach Fields without permission from the landowner would be trespassing. Any such ill advised "event" can only serve to delay the eventual confirmation and opening of the footpaths.


Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: saffie on December 11, 2011, 07:09:30 pm
That's why I thought I would check!!!!!

Heard it from a fellow dog walker the other day.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on December 11, 2011, 07:21:01 pm
The people who have applied to have the Rights of Way recognised for certain footpaths in Leach Fields, have certainly not organised any walks on those paths at all! That would be extremely premature, and as MikeL says, could actually delay the confirmation and opening!!

There are a number of steps still to be taken, not least the proper marking out of the paths. (Walkers will have to stick to the paths and keep dogs under control and not roam willy-nilly across the fields, particularly as there are animals being kept there).

We would urge everyone to be patient, and not to rush into actions that would put them at risk of trespassing!

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: MikeL on January 04, 2012, 01:32:29 pm
Well, it would appear that no High Court challenges were made to the creation of public footpaths in Leach Fields. As a result, these paths are now being added to the Definitive Map of the county and the Ordnance Survey will now be informed so that they can be added to the OS maps of the area. :D

The next stage is for the County’s Access Officer to meet with the landowners to discuss the opening of the routes and the installation of any gates. Again, I would urge people to please be patient and wait until the paths are officially open before attempting to use them. It hopefully won't be too long now.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported this application and submitted evidence forms (or indicated that they would be happy to do so) and also to everyone who was prepared to give evidence at a public inquiry if one had been required. I would also like to thank the landowners who whilst not wanting the footpaths did not actually lodge any objections to this application.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on January 04, 2012, 02:12:25 pm
I would also like to thank the landowners who whilst not wanting the footpaths did not actually lodge any objections to this application.

Hear, hear   :)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: southbury on January 04, 2012, 02:16:44 pm
This is really great news . Well done to all involved.

Mike , when the time is right could we organise a Sunday morning 'ramble' to officially open the paths?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: saffie on January 05, 2012, 05:52:17 pm
Thank you so much for all your hard work, I can't wait to use the paths again.

Also thank you to the landowners.

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on February 03, 2012, 02:29:19 pm
The next stage is for the County’s Access Officer to meet with the landowners to discuss the opening of the routes and the installation of any gates. Again, I would urge people to please be patient and wait until the paths are officially open before attempting to use them. It hopefully won't be too long now.

Any update on when the paths will be open?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Aloo on March 20, 2012, 03:39:19 pm
Is this related to the work going on in Leach Fields?

I thought public footpaths in Leach Fields had been agreed by HCC last year.  Yet the footpaths in Leach Fields are still not open to the public - Why?

Maybe the reason the footpaths are not open yet is because extensive work is being carried out to segregate the footpaths from the rest of Leach Fields through sturdy fencing - is this really necessary?   Who has commissioned the fencing and who is paying for the work?

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: GWTSEC on March 20, 2012, 05:05:18 pm
Gobions Wood is owned by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and is completely separate from leach Fields.
Work is planned on the car Park drive to fill some of the pot holes.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Bob Horrocks on March 20, 2012, 05:46:29 pm
Is this related to the work going on in Leach Fields?

I thought public footpaths in Leach Fields had been agreed by HCC last year.  Yet the footpaths in Leach Fields are still not open to the public - Why?

Maybe the reason the footpaths are not open yet is because extensive work is being carried out to segregate the footpaths from the rest of Leach Fields through sturdy fencing - is this really necessary?   Who has commissioned the fencing and who is paying for the work?

Under the topic 'Re Leach Fields Footpaths' this was posted in January.

The next stage is for the County’s Access Officer to meet with the landowners to discuss the opening of the routes and the installation of any gates. Again, I would urge people to please be patient and wait until the paths are officially open before attempting to use them. It hopefully won't be too long now.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 20, 2012, 06:18:17 pm
I have split three posts from the Gobions restoration thread and moved them here to the Leach Fields thread to try to avoid the former being taken off topic.

While on this thread, any news when the Leach Fields footpaths will be open?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: LuckyDuck on March 20, 2012, 09:30:11 pm
Is this related to the work going on in Leach Fields?

I thought public footpaths in Leach Fields had been agreed by HCC last year.  Yet the footpaths in Leach Fields are still not open to the public - Why?

Maybe the reason the footpaths are not open yet is because extensive work is being carried out to segregate the footpaths from the rest of Leach Fields through sturdy fencing - is this really necessary?   Who has commissioned the fencing and who is paying for the work?

Yes it is necessary to segregate off the footpath!
There are animals that live on the land and they need to be protected!

Leach homes is having to pay for the fencing to be put up.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on March 21, 2012, 07:02:31 am
Yes it is necessary to segregate off the footpath!
There are animals that live on the land and they need to be protected!

Leach homes is having to pay for the fencing to be put up.

Agreed. Although most responsible dog owners control their pets in the open spaces surrounding Leach Fields there are too many dogs allowed to run free and uncontrolled in the area. And there must also be a health hazard for animals if dogs are allowed to foul in the areas where they graze.

Last week I saw a woman let two large dogs run off the lead in Gobions Open Space. She was making a call on her mobile while the large animals relieved their bowels where children play. She could see it happening but obviously had no intention of clearing up. I presume that was not a one off.  There is a separate thread about the dog mess and health risks (http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php/topic,539.msg28767.html#msg28767).

We all know of the health risks to children. I would guess it's the same for grazing animals.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: mannyd on March 21, 2012, 12:07:23 pm
From Bluebridge Road, the access was through a kissing gate. Will this be the same? Was reading recently about kissing gates which have a lock which can be opened by a RADAR key - so allowing access for disabled people - would be great if we could have one of those
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 01, 2012, 11:36:12 am
Signs have been put up saying Leach Fields footpaths should be open over the Easter weekend. Here are some pictures of the work, including the new footpath sign off Bluebridge Road.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf8.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf4.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf5.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf6.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf7.jpg)

Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: James Bentall on April 01, 2012, 08:25:30 pm
OK - I know it's their land, and I know they are free to do what they like with it - but it's a shame that it looks like some of the trees we planted 9 years ago have been removed :(

http://www.brookmans.com/news/february03/treeplanting2.shtml (http://www.brookmans.com/news/february03/treeplanting2.shtml)

James
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 01, 2012, 08:28:22 pm
OK - I know it's their land, and I know they are free to do what they like with it - but it's a shame that it looks like some of the trees we planted 9 years ago have been removed :(

http://www.brookmans.com/news/february03/treeplanting2.shtml (http://www.brookmans.com/news/february03/treeplanting2.shtml)


James

Hi James,

I think if you look at the pictures closely you will see some of the trees planted at that time are still there. Some had died anyway. I am not sure any have been removed - but I don't know for certain. I have cropped a few close ups from the images uploaded earlier and it looks like some of the original trees have survived.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf9.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/lf10.jpg)

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on April 05, 2012, 08:33:46 pm
The paths are open   :)    we had a lovely walk round this afternoon   :D

Many thanks to all involved, especially MikeL, and of course a special thank you to the landowners who have fenced and marked the pathways.

Happy walking everyone.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: LuckyDuck on April 05, 2012, 10:04:23 pm
The paths are open   :)    we had a lovely walk round this afternoon   :D

Many thanks to all involved, especially MikeL, and of course a special thank you to the landowners who have fenced and marked the pathways.

Happy walking everyone.


You are wrong. The footpaths are NOT open yet.
You were mistaken.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 06, 2012, 10:28:51 am
Just had a lovely early morning walk along all the Leach Fields paths. Met a really nice couple who rent some of the land for their animals - all of them rescued and nursed back to health. Also met a nice guy who was putting the finishing touches to the fences and told us the paths were open and hoped we would enjoy using them. And met two pals walking the Leach Fields paths again with their dogs. All good. Some pictures of some of the rescued pigs and the paths below.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l11.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l12.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l10.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l1.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l2.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l3.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l4.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l5.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l6.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l7.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l8.jpg)

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l9.jpg)
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Mermaid on April 06, 2012, 11:14:26 am
Yes, we've been out again too with the family, beautiful day and a lovely walk, very happy.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: saffie on April 27, 2012, 02:17:30 pm
Had my first proper walk round these paths today and they have NOT all been reinstated.

As you go in from Bluebridge, you used to be able to turn immediately right and drop down and walk along the brook, where you would eventually pick up the other paths.

Could someone please explain this?
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: Editor on April 27, 2012, 02:57:29 pm
Had my first proper walk round these paths today and they have NOT all been reinstated.

As you go in from Bluebridge, you used to be able to turn immediately right and drop down and walk along the brook, where you would eventually pick up the other paths.

Could someone please explain this?

Hi Saffie,  that path was there when we tried it (as you can see from this picture). You just walk in from Bluebridge as before, go straight on and turn right by the small shed.

(http://www.brookmans.com/news/april12/l7.jpg)

David
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: saffie on April 28, 2012, 04:56:12 pm
We went and had another look this morning, the path to that path used to cut right across where the pigs are.  I got confused looking at it from the other side of the brook yesterday.  So it looks like you might still be able to get to it ut from a different place.
Title: Re: Leach Fields footpaths
Post by: AJH012 on December 02, 2016, 03:17:42 pm
At last the landowner has cut back the brambles and long grass, the paths are now walkable.  The pigs have gone, there are just two horses in the fields.  Please, please walk these paths, we need to keep them open.