you haven’t got a horse mad daughter you might never have been along
250, or Vicarage Road, Bexley, as it is also known, but it makes for a pleasant shaded
walk on a hot sunny afternoon. It is lined by horsey businesses, stables,
livery, hacking, transport.
If you keep going for long enough you can eventually land up in Joyden’s Wood which I am ashamed to say I know only as a destination on the front of a B12 bus.
Bridleways and footpaths are protected in law, in particular no one is allowed to obstruct them. Everyone knows that.
Unfortunately not everyone respects it, including it would seem, the Enviro Crime Unit of Bexley council who have been running around finding excuses for an illegal act.
The last property facing Vicarage Road houses Mount Mascal Stables,
owned by John and Alison Window of JW Equestrian Ltd. They are quite well connected; all
the horse association affiliations you could wish for,
connections to the Olympics and they were Bexley council’s chosen horse
attraction provider at the Danson Festival.
Maybe Bexley council feels beholden to them but when the Windows decided to put a gate across the bridleway they swallowed their excuse that it was a security measure. It’s not just a minor inconvenience to passers by, this was something more worthy of the Bank of England.
CCTV, remote control, electronic key fobs, all mod cons. Take a look…
Security is potentially a problem for anyone with a footpath running past their door,
so that’s most of us. More so for businesses and probably worse still if you live or work
along a bridleway that leads to a wood. But that’s life and it’s the law we have to live with.
You can’t go around blocking public roads willy nilly because there is a thief about and you certainly
can’t go around blocking bridleways and footpaths. But Bexley council thinks you can.
It accepts that no one asked for permission to block Bridleway 250, no one was ever likely to do that, rejection would be inevitable, but now that it is a fait accompli Bexley council is standing by the landowner’s excuse that the blockage is a security matter. They told the complainants…
It is considered best, particularly in the interests of wider community safety and having regard to costs, to progress any contact such as from yourself through the route of issuing an electronic fob. This in no way condones the fact that the bridleway has been obstructed. […] this would be a viable solution to your original report of access not being available at times when you or others may require it. I shall of course be pleased to make arrangements for you to have a fob and will contact you with regard to collection/delivery arrangement as soon as possible.
So if you complain about the bridleway only being open when Mount Mascal Stables allow it you can have a key. That half baked idea was always likely to open up a can of worms, and it does.
More on this another time…