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Town Council throws out plans to close cobbled packhorse route

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

This evening, Hebden Royd Town Council unanimously threw out proposals to close the cobbled highway which forms part of the ancient packhorse trail. And Mayor Karl Boggis said that was the end of the matter: there is no appeal against the council decision.

Cobble highway

There was a packed public gallery with all seats taken and many forced to stand or sit on the floor. Many had come to protest about the growth of supermarkets in our town, an item also on the agenda.

Gwen Goddard spoke on behalf of the Open Spaces Society.

She pointed out that the area in questions is widely used by walkers and cyclists and part of the ancient packhorse route. It's history on the ground.

She reminded councillors that Hebden Bridge was the first Walkers are Welcome town in the UK and that we should be celebrating our paths and heritage.

Gwen referred to the saying, "Once a highway, always a highway" and said she objected to the idea of a public highway being turned into private parking.

Michael Green, the new owner of the Hole in the Wall was also given five minutes to put his case. He claimed that the area in question was not part of the ancient packhorse route and showed old photos and diagrams to back up this point, arguing that the land in question was at one time behind a wall. He claimed that the original packhorse route was at least 28 feet from the front of the building. Michael Green went further and said that the Hole in the Wall actually owned more of the surrounding land, including part of the Pack Horse Bridge.

Cllr Sweeney said that the old photos were irrelevent. What is important is what was on the Land Registry when he bought it.

Cllr Yorke said what was important was how the land is used today. It has been used continuously as a public highway.

The Town Council voted to reject the proposal.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society told the HebWeb, "We are overjoyed that this pernicious plan is now dead. The applicant did not have legal grounds for stopping up the highway in any case - it is a much-used route of considerable antiquity and part of Hebden Bridge's rich heritage."

See also:

HebWeb News: Open Spaces Society objects to closure of cobbled highway in Hebden Bridge - 6 Jan 2014

HebWeb Forum - Packhorse route closure (from Dec 2013)

Open Spaces Society - Threat of closure of cobbled highway in Hebden Bridge (6 Jan 2014)