Wickets fall

The Northumberland County Council Parish of Seaton Valley (Public Bridleway No. 192) Creation Order 2074.

Decision date 1 October 2015.
Pins Ref’n: FPS/P2935/6/4.
Inspector Sue Arnott.

This was a creation order to make a ew bridleway near Seghill in Northumberland. Northumberland County Council specified a ‘wicket gate’ on the bridleway, as a limitation. Alan Kind objected thus: :The order is expressed to specify a ‘wicket gate’ as a limitation. Neither the Highways Act 1980, nor the British Standard on rights of way gates, acknowledges, specifies, or envisages, a ‘wicket gate’. 
“The best ordinary definition I can find is: ‘a small door or gate, especially one beside or in a larger one.’ I cannot see how a ‘small door or gate’ is an adequate substitute for what 99.9% of order-making authorities would specify simply as a ‘bridle gate’ in such an order, in similar circumstances, but do please give me your reason for so specifying here.”
This same terminology had been used by NCC in another order at much the same time, and the case officer, Tony Derbyshire, told Alan Kind, “On reflection it would be more consistent to use the same terminology in the order as we use in the specification, and I will aim to do this in future orders.” Fair enough, ADK withdrew that objection on that promise.
This time around NCC took a rather different line, “The inclusion of the word ‘wicket gate’ in the order was included [sic] because this best describes the existing limitation on the footpath, which will remain if the route is upgraded to a bridleway. Interestingly the objector’s definition of a wicket gate included in his objection – ‘a small door or gate, especially one beside or in a larger one’ describes very well the existing arrangement, which is included as a limitation.” Rather destroys one’s trust in anything Northumberland County Council might promise? Anyway, Mrs Arnott cuts through with a pragmatic approach:

[30] “I see two separate issues here: firstly whether the type of limitation should be referred to as a wicket gate, a bridle gate or simply a gate, and secondly whether the width of the limitation proposed at point B is appropriate for the new bridleway that is being created.
[31] “I agree with the objector that using terminology which does not appear in NCC’s specifications (or the British Standard) is not only confusing but also meaningless. NCC’s specifications refer to pedestrian gates and bridleway or bridle gates, not wicket gates.
[32] “Yet whatever it is called, the point is that what is proposed on the Order route is a gate on a new bridleway. irrespective of its past use by horse riders and cyclists subject to the limitation of the present gate, this Order is made under Section 26 of the 1980 Act to create a new right of way for those users.”
[33] “Insofar as the Order Schedule is concerned, all that is required is that it records a gate that complies with a recognised standard, I therefore intend to modify the Order to remove the word ‘wicket’ so that the rights of the public using Bridleway 192 will be limited by ‘One gate, to comply with Northumberland County Council Gaps, gates and stiles – Specification (January 2009), situated at grid reference N228637507’. It will be for NCC to ensure that the gate at point B complies with its published standards. “

The Powys County Council (Creation of Public Footpath LS1914(A) and Bridleways LS1938(A), LS1940(A) and LS1941(A) in the Community of Glasbury) Public Path Creation Order 2013.
Decision date 23 December 2014.
PINS Ref’n: T6850/W/14/515923.
Inspector Sue Arnott.

This order created the rights of way subject to limitations of gates, described as being ‘to current British Standard.’ Alan Kind objected on the ground that this is ambiguous when incorporated into the definitive statement, and the wording should define the limitation at the date of creation: the specification for the gates is not ambulatory as the British Standard evolves. Again, Mrs Arnott gets back to basics:
[19] “Whilst it is widely recognised that reference to defined standards for limitations such as gates is good practice, the English guidance may not be expressly applicable in Wales but the general principles hold good. PCC clearly recognised this when it made Order A since it included a reference to the British Standard. I have no doubt it was appropriate to do so, despite there being no specific guidance encouraging this practice in Wales.”
[20] “However I accept the argument made by Mr Kind that it is important to be clear about the extent of the limitation(s) at the date of creation of the new rights of ways since this enshrines the right(s) of the landowner to restrict the public thereafter. That cannot alter, positively or negatively, at any later date should the British Standard for gates change in future. I therefore consider it prudent to clarify the description in the Order schedule so as to be more specific and to expressly identify the particular British Standard applicable to the five gates in this case. I therefore propose to modify the Order to include reference to BS 5709:2006 since this is the “current British Standard” PCC intended should apply.”