Norfolk County Council (Billingford) Modification Order 2012.
Order Ref: FPS/X2600/7/106M.
Final decision: 7 January 2015.
Inspector Mark Yates. “ A proportion of the people who have used the claimed route on horseback have also done so on foot and pedal cycle. Six people used the route on foot and cycle. There is an issue with determining the amount of cycling use from the other types of user and it generally covered a relatively recent period of time. Overall, from an analysis of the relevant UEFs and the evidence of those people who spoke at the inquiry, I was not satisfied that the use by cyclists is sufficient to establish the dedication of a vehicular highway
“. Although cyclists have a right to use a bridleway, I do not consider that evidence of use by cyclists can serve as a replacement for the lack of sufficient evidence of use by horse riders.”
In the decision of the Court of Appeal in Whitworth v. Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  EWCA Civ 1468. Carnwath LJ said (at paragraph 42): “In my view, the same conclusion would follow even if there had been no finding of pre-existing bridleway rights, so that the claim had rested solely on use after 1973. One would then be considering the inference to be drawn from the actual use between 1973 and 1993. It is true that regular use by both horse-riders and cyclists over that period would be consistent with an assumed dedication as a restricted byway at the beginning of the period (had that concept then existed). But it is no less consistent with an assumed dedication as a bridleway, of which cyclists have been able to take advantage under the 1968 Act. Since section 30 involves a statutory interference with private property rights, it is appropriate in my view, other things being equal, to infer the form of dedication by the owner which is least burdensome to him.”
In Consistency Guidelines – 8th revision July 2013 Section 5 page 12, “Section 31, HA80, as amended by section 68 of NERC06, provides that use of a way by non-mechanically propelled vehicles (such as a pedal cycle) can give rise to a restricted byway. In Whitworth it was suggested that subsequent use by cyclists of an accepted, but unrecorded, bridleway, where use of the bridleway would have been permitted by virtue of section 30 of the CA68, could not give rise to anything other than a bridleway. Whilst Carnwath LJ accepted that regular use by horse riders and cyclists might be consistent with dedication as a restricted byway, it was also consistent with dedication as a bridleway. In such an instance of statutory interference with private property rights, he determined, it was reasonable to infer the dedication least burdensome to the owner.”
Mr Yates dismisses the cyclists’ user because (he finds) there was “lack of sufficient evidence of use by horse riders.” Well, had there been ‘sufficient’ horse user, then there would have been … sufficient; and Lord Carnwath in Whitworth was plainly considering the aggregation of cycle and horse user evidence as valid evidence of deemed dedication of a bridleway.