Originally Published: January 2024

The Green Lane Association’s efforts on behalf of all rights of way users have helped secure the right result at a public enquiry on the status of Excelsior, an unsurfaced road near Grindleford in Derbyshire. The route was put under threat by the actions of anti-freedom fanatics who, in their usual self-serving fashion, applied for it to be downgraded to a bridleway.

In a perfect example of why a GLASS subscription is such good value for money, the association dipped in to its fighting fund to employ a professional researcher – who unearthed valuable historical evidence and led a second campaign for user evidence in support of motor vehicle rights. 

Phil Hobson, GLASS’ Rights of Way Officer, compiled and submitted a statement of case together with proof of evidence to the inspectorate, and attended the inquiry with the association’s local rep team. The inquiry lasted three days, overseen by a government inspector who walked the lane twice herself in addition to listening to evidence for and against vehicle rights. 

The result was a victory for the pro rights of way community, with the inquiry finding that the route has historic public carriageway rights and should be recorded as a Byway Open to All Traffic on Derbyshire’s definitive map.

‘Thanks are due to our Derbyshire team, Peak District Vehicle Users Group members, all the others who helped put our case together and, particularly, the stalwarts who stood up in the public inquiry to give their evidence verbally,’ says Derbyshire rep Chris Mitchell. ‘This case shows that the green laning community can win the day, as long as we all put in the time and effort to prepare and presentthe necessary evidence to counter the sometimes questionable claims of the opposition.’Elsewhere in Derbyshire, an autumn of storms has taken its toll on the surface of Back Lane, also known as Two Dales, and Beeley Lane. The former was graded a few years ago,  smoothing down a series of extreme washouts at its southern end, however these repairs were washed out during Storm Babet and the lane is now closed by a temporary TRO. Beeley Lane too has become washed out during the hard autumn and the local team from Peak District Vehicle Use restraint by 4x4 users. This route was still open to vehicles at the time of writing, however Derbyshire County Council was considering a temporary closure.

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