Urgent Action needed – Gilesgate Baths Footpath Diversion Order (Public Footpath 52)

DEADLINE FOR COMMENT 10th AUGUST

Many Hexham residents will have recently received a letter advising them that the objections which they made to the proposed Diversion Order for Footpath 52 has now been withdrawn. This is because the Secretary of State advised the Council that their application to divert the footpath was ‘fatally flawed’ because its wording referred to its purpose being ‘to enable development to be carried out in accordance with the planning permission granted…’ However, planning permission was not granted until 2nd February 2015, after the Diversion Order had been made.

Proposed Haugh Lane elevation - 7 Storey 'Tower of Mabel' - Image Copyright Planning Bureau Ltd

Proposed Haugh Lane elevation – 7 Storey ‘Tower of Mabel’ – Image Copyright Planning Bureau Ltd

So on this semantical note, the Council has made a fresh Diversion Order. Alex Bell, NCCs Footpaths Officer advises that objectors to the original Diversion now make their objections afresh. This of course also enables those that did not object to the original order to do so now.

Hexham Civic Society believes that it is important to object to the Order, and to cause the Diversion Order to be referred to the Secretary of State, because the new footpath will be less practical, more dangerous and less convenient to users than the present arrangement. We believe that the developers did not consider adequately a layout for the site which retained a good selection of the fine mature trees already present, and reconstructed the present footpath as part of their development in approximately its present location.  We believe that they assumed a blank site, and that footpath users would be happy to be forced away from the present route into a narrow, chicaned and we believe dangerous ginnel. We do not believe that NCC, owners of the site, pressed the prospective developer sufficiently to achieve the best design solution.

What we would really wish to see is the applicants reconsider their scheme and produce one with a suitable scale, design and layout appropriate to its conservation area location – keeping more of the existing trees and creating a safe pedestrian route through the site, on a similar alignment to that there at present.

Gilesgate RoW4

Hexham residents wanting to see footpath retained – 2014

We would encourage those with views regarding this to make them know to the footpath Officer Mr Bell. This should contain text such as ‘I wish to object to Hexham Town (public footpath) no 52 Diversion Order for the same reasons identified in my letter / email dated (insert date) objecting to Hexham Town (Public Footpath No 52) Diversion Order 2014’ 

Mr Bell can be contacted by email at: alex.bell@northumberland.gov.uk

Details of our reasons for objecting can be viewed on the Hexham Civic Society Website here:

https://hexhamcivicsociety.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/designing-in-crime-tunnel-vision-proposes-danger-footpath-on-mccarthy-and-stone-site/