Commons (Rights of Way)

Oral Answers to Questions — Land and Natural Resources – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd January 1967.

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Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames 12:00 am, 23rd January 1967

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources if he will introduce legislation to empower himself to prevent conservators and others administering commons from obstructing rights of way to commons.

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

No, Sir. So far as I am aware, local authorities who are under statutory duties to assert and protect the rights of the public in these matters are equipped with adequate powers for discharging them.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

Would the hon. Gentleman consider the action of the conservators of Putney and Wimbledon Commons? They have erected a gate, which they sometimes lock, across a bridle path leading to the homes of some of my constituents, including one badly disabled lady who can only get about with the aid of a Ministry of Health car. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that they have refused to remove the gate when requested by the local authority? Will he examine the matter to see if he can help, and thereby prevent expensive litigation—paid for by both sides?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that if there is any way we can help in this dispute we will, but the fact is that even in this case—and I have made some inquiries about it, because I thought this was the case which he world have in mind—the local authority has adequate power. If there is no solution by agreement and we can help, we will.