is not legally possible to take Bexley’s
unlawful closure of Bridleway 250 to the
Magistrate’s Court for another week and a bit and I am not yet sure whether this
will be done by local people or an interested charity on their behalf but
meanwhile Bexley council has been answering questions - or perhaps that should
read, not answering questions.
In response to a Freedom of Information request they refused to say which officers had reached the decision to allow a single individual to continue to block the highway. However they were prepared to say the police representative at their meetings was the Sergeant on the St. Mary’s Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) who is not difficult to identify.
Conveniently the council took no minutes of their meetings but the conclusions reached were disclosed. The female SNT Sergeant is said to have referred to a “History of Crime” at Mount Mascal Stables but it is impossible to judge whether she was mistaken or Bexley council has lied. An FOI to the police does not reveal a “history of crime”; just a single burglary.
Something that is a Bexley council lie is their assertion that “the gate had been erected many years ago”. This is presumably offered as an excuse for allowing the blockage to continue. Other council correspondence refers to installation in the early 1990s when CCTV of the type in use, not to mention the electronic entry system would not be available. Numerous local residents will tell you that the gate appeared during the lead up to the 2012 Olympics and given the state of the gate pillars; still looking like new, that would appear to be a more believable story than Bexley council’s. Masonry standing under trees for 20 years would surely be weathered with both algae and moss in evidence. The photographs show none.
Bexley council was also asked to justify its use of Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to override the provisions of the Highways Act when the former expressly forbids such use. As you would expect, Bexley council has not troubled to answer that question.