Following the decision of the Surrey County Council Mole Valley District Local Committee, of which Ashtead Independent Councillors Chris Townsend and David Hawksworth are members, to modify the definitive Rights of Way map on 29 September 2021 (see “Independents help get Green Lane right-of-way back on the map”) Surrey County Council made a Map Modification Order on 30 June 2022.
The statutory six week notice period began on 21 July 2022 and ended on 5 September 2022. Only a single objection was received, unsurprisingly from Network Rail, even though their case had been rejected by the Committee. In the light of that objection the County Council cannot now confirm the Order itself and has to refer it to the Secretary of State for determination.
The Order now enters an existing queue of Orders already waiting to be referred. On 28 September, the Surrey County Council Senior Countryside Access Officer, Daniel Williams, informed us that it could well be 12-18 months before this order reaches the front of the queue and the significant staff time resources required can be found to prepare and submit a statement of case. Once referred it could then be well over a further 12 months for the Inspectorate to determine how it will decide the Order and then to hold an inquiry (or similar) and issue a decision.
It therefore seems unlikely that there will be a final decision on this issue until 2025. In the meantime, Cllr Hawksworth has written to Network Rail requesting pedestrian stop lights to be installed to enhance the safety provision. Such lights are already planned for the Lady Howard Crossing, further to the east in Ashtead Common, following a most unfortunate fatality on 21 March 2022.