RESIDENTS and ramblers in Henley and Beaudesert are “angry” at one man’s application to privatise a 2000-year-old highway.
Not only has Paul Jennings applied to take a stretch of Edge Lane - which historically linked Camp Lane in Beaudesert with the Warwick Road in Henley - he has also put up a gate across the highway with Parsonsfield, the name of his house on it. A gate which has recently been removed by an unknown neighbour.
Mr Jennings claims: “The private road is for my exclusive use as it leads to the end of my property and is not used by anyone else.” Shortly after it reaches his house, the road does deteriorate into an overgrown mess.
However his neighbours, Douglas and Sue Bridgewater - who have lived 300 yards down the road for 30 years, and own land adjacent to the part Mr Jennings wants to privatise - wrote to the Land Registry on Monday to object to Mr Jennings application.
“It has never been a private road, it is not for his exclusive use, it leads for a considerable distance beyond his property and it is frequently used by other people,” they claim.
Other residents in the area are also against the privatisation.
Despite being significantly overgrown, Edge Lane is shown as a road on the 2012 edition of the Ordnance Survey map, and the northern section of the path gives access to two 100-mile walking routes, the Millennium Way and the Heart of England Way.
Indeed, until recently many satellite navigation systems thought the way through to Warwick Road was still open, and brought huge lorries up the road.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Bridgewater called the whole application a “nonsense”. He said: “Edge Lane is a road of historical significance.
It is also an integral part of one of the most interesting if least known circular walks in the parish. The loss of part of it would, I firmly believe, be detrimental to the interests of the local population, of both present and future generations.
“It is overgrown in places, but he [Mr Jennings] has done nothing to encourage people to walk that way.”
Mr Bridgewater wants to round up volunteers to clear the overgrown path and restore it to its historical use.
The Herald spoke to 75-year-old Pat Spears, who was born at Parsonsfield in 1937 and lived there until she was 16.
“I have the most vivid memory of the lane leading up to the house,” she said.
“It went further along, a bridlepath really, until you came to the old railway line.”
However, she cannot remember the lane being used much.
“Did anyone go up there? Not really, there was nowhere to go apart from Parsonsfield! There were cyclists occasionally, falling off most of the time because of the cobbles.”
But according to Pat, the lane down to the old railway line was wide, always kept clean, with two six-foot high hedges on either side. A lot different to the current situation.
Les Goodman, Chairman of the Henley and Beaudesert Joint Parish Council, and a member of the Stratford Ramblers, went out to the site last week. He said: “Technically it is a road, it is still a lane.”
Objectors have until tomorrow (Friday) to write to the Land Registry, and as well as contacting Cllr Goodman and Warwickshire County
Council, Mr Bridgewater also raised the issue last night (Wednesday) at the Henley Court Leet meeting.
On Monday (19th November), Henley Parish Council will be discussing it at their meeting.
Mrs Bridgewater told the Herald: “We hadn’t realised how many people were interested in this.”
After the period of objections closes tomorrow, the Land Registry will consider the application.
The Herald attempted to contact Mr Jennings, but he was unavailable for comment.
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