At the end of 2025 all rights to use most routes that are not on the official map of rights of way or list of roads maintained by the county council will be lost. The owner will be able block the route (for example if they want to build houses on the site). So a group of us from the Open Spaces Society, Mid Sussex Bridleways Group, Ramblers Association and other concerned organisations have started trying to get these routes put on the official map of rights of way in Sussex.
Sometimes these routes have been out of use for many years and we need to do historical research. But often the routes at risk of closure have been in regular use by lots of people up to the present day. You may be surprised by many of the routes at risk. In these cases we need evidence to show that people have used the route for the at least the last 20 years as of right – without having a lease or legal agreement, or the special permission of the landowner.
Obviously it is harder to get evidence for the earlier part of this period, so if you used a route in the 1990s this is particularly important information, but we welcome evidence for any period up to the present day.
Below you will find details of the routes currently being researched. In each case you will find basic details plus and evidence form for you to print off, fill in and return to us. If more than one person in your household has used the route please print off and return a form for each person. Some of the questions may seem a bit odd. This is because we need to meet some complicated legal conditions. Please answer all the questions honestly, but it is ok to say “I can’t remember” or “I don’t know”.
Please send it to the address on the bottom of the form and you can send to that address as well if you prefer. You can also print the form, sign it, scan it and email the scan to email@example.com
ROUTES WE CURRENTLY NEED EVIDENCE FOR
MALLING OLD RAILWAY LINE
The section of the old railway line through Malling has been a popular route for many years. It runs from Malling recreation ground, where the old embankment starts (point A on the map), as far as the old bridge over the river (point C), although a lot of people only go as far as point B where the path meets Monks Way. It is owned by Lewes District Council.
This route is not yet on the map of rights of way, so it could be blocked up or built over. We would like to add it to the map by showing that it has continuously been in use by the public since 2000 (a period of 20 years) and before. To do this we need evidence of use, which you can provide on the form which you can find below. Some of the questions may seem a bit odd, but are necessary.
We are doing this now because of the development of the land at Old Malling Farm. It isn’t clear how this will affect the route yet, but we want to make sure that it is safe.
Download a form to fill in by clicking on theis Link: Lewes O amended evidence form with covering letter
The route through the Clevedown flats has been used by many Winterbourne residents for many years as a convenient way to the bus stop and the main Brighton Road. In November 2016 the land owners erected a private sign at the Brighton Road end of the route. Evidence was submitted to East Sussex Council showing that people had used the route for 20 years previously and in 2019 the council decided to add the route to the rights of way map. However some people objected, so the Planning Inspectorate needs to make the final decision. We need more evidence to show the planning inspectorate.
If you have not already filled in an evidence form please download one and fill it in, by clicking on this link Lewes H March 20 evidence form with covering letter
PROGRESS ON ROUTES ALREADY APPLIED FOR
This is a slow process. It can take four years for the council to make a decision and then there may be a delay of a further year if someone objects and there has to be a public enquiry. Here is an update on progress on routes in Lewes in August 2019 You can see on the web site of East Sussex County Council routes that the council are currently considering and what stage they are at.
MAKING A CLAIM FOR A RIGHT OF WAY YOURSELF
You can find out how to make a claim to add a right of way to the map here