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Moorlands and City Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Guest, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Gwenllian2001

    Gwenllian2001 Member

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    It was meant as a metaphor. Unfortunately you are, once again, guilty of over-reaction. I have no connection to the Green Party but their views are equally valid to those of anyone else and, no doubt, sincerely held. Simply to decry the views or beliefs of anyone else does not validate your own. If you are involved with the railway in question, why not go along and explain to 'the silly cow' just what a statutory railway is? I am sure that she would be delighted to be insulted to her face.

    By the way, I am not 'on the side of these people' but on the side of reason having been involved with both the professional and volunteer sectors of railways for well over fifty years.

    Meic
     
  2. p/wayman

    p/wayman Member

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    Due to most of the gang on holidays or working we were down to 5 people today, so 3 finished off the line walk with Zimmer frame from Bradnop to Leekbrook. We stayed at Cheddleton collect all the materials required to repair small faults found on the Cauldon line in preparation for Winter. Hopefully, we will have the Permequipe ready next week after an extensive overhaul. Doing these repairs on an almost 8 mile line with good distances between one job and another means we need some mechanical means of getting there. When the winds blow up there its bone chilling, so having enclosed transport is a bonus. While at Ched. today we could have a good look around without rushing off as we normally do, It was great to see the work being done on the S160, the 0-4-0 forerunner of the Pug, the 0-4-0 diesel shunter and the 33 33102. All in all a good day.
     
  3. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    I am possibly one of the few contributors who has dealt with applications for the registration of village / town greens. I became intensly frustrated at the abuse and, now released by retirement from the restrictions of being a Local Government Officer, I can at last give full vent to my feelings.
    The Commons Registration Act was a well-intentioned attempt to adapt the ancient English custom and practice of commoners’ rights over land owned by others to the complexities and tensions of modern life. It was always a fudge and a number of cases have now come to light where the outcome has been unsatisfactory all round.

    Let us consider for a moment the way in which the English common law regards the loss of rights involving real estate. If you steal someone’s chattels, you never acquire the right of lawful ownership; you may be charged with being in possession of stolen goods, although the sense of doing this diminishes with the passage of time. However, if you occupy another’s land for 12 years, you can acquire possessory title. Similarly, showing that a footpath has been used for 20 years can result in its being declared a public right of way. Both of these cases involve the loss of rights by the owner and the acquisition of rights by others, by quiet inaction. To this, we now have added, by statute law, the very similar ability to acquire rights of access for lawful sports and recreation.

    The Courts have already indicated that the principle of possessory title is contrary to Human Rights Law because it deprives the owner of the right to enjoy his property. Registration as common land has some similarities so when might we expect a challenge to it on such grounds? A few years ago I was told by an eminent barrister that he saw trouble in the Commons Registration Act when it was first mooted and that, after a few cases where owners lost their rights through past laxity or benevolence, owners would tighten up their management and that the net result would be less, not more, accessible land.

    I could go on for pages but realise that there is a limit to anyone's powers of concentration! There are two outstandingly obvious features of this application that doom it to failure.
    (1) An applicant must show that the land has been used for "recreation" for 20 years without restriction, that is without any effort on the part of the owners to control or prohibit such. It was in use as a railway within that period and the various warning notices are sufficient to show that the owner had no intention of allowing rights of access and use to be come established.
    (2) The sporting or recreational use has to be "lawful". As it is a criminal offence to trespass on a railway it can never have been lawful.

    Such is the abuse of the Act in circumstances like these that the Government is now reviewing its workings. The official, deadpan, Government line, as always, is that it wishes to improve the operation of the Act. In truth, it intends to stop totally hopeless and spurious applications such as that by Wendy Birks from ever becoming registered. Make no mistake, applications of this type waste vast amounts of public money and time. They have descended into being part of the bureaucratic jungle that is strangling sensible public administration in this country.
     
  4. 37026

    37026 New Member

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    Here is a picture of the notices at Endon.

    DSC_0407.jpg DSC_0409.jpg

    DSC_0408.jpg Click on thumbnail to enlarge!

    Hope it helps stop this woman!
     

    Attached Files:

  5. 45045

    45045 New Member

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    I am no expert on this, but is this notice not written proof of trespass? Could she therefore be prosecuted? I am sure the owners would not do this due to the potential of upsetting even more local people. It was just a thought as to me it looks like a confession that she regularly trespasses..... Would be amusing, but bad PR!
     
  6. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    There are all sorts of interesting legal possibilities. As "45045" says, the claim that the applicant has regularly used the railway for walking is evidence of trespass. Perhaps British Transport Police could take a lead from it and interview her. I seem to recall that it is an offence to knowingly make a false or misleading statement in such applications. If the applicant has claimed that she has used the land for "lawful sport or recreation" when she would have known that it was unlawful (indeed illegal) that too could be explored.

    None of this will happen because standard administrative practice in Local Registration Authorities is just to let hopeless applications run their course without challenge and then just refuse to register the land for the simple reason that the circumstances set out in the Act that would lead to registration have not been demonstrated.

    I was at Endon today and spoke to some locals who were looking at the clearance achieved. On expressing the view that I just could not understand how anyone could make such a vexatious application I received the reply: "You would if you knew her"! These were local people annoyed at the obstructionist tactics and the waste of public money inevitably involved in this application. You will all appreciate why the Government is to overhaul this legislation.
     
  7. lil Bear

    lil Bear Part of the furniture

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    It doesn't physically say she has walked on the line herself though, or not that I can see on those pictures. The document says more the person concerned would like to see that from 9th September 2011 onwards the land concerned be classified as a village green (or that's how I read it). How you can claim someone elses land to be something it's not though I do not know. Could we go and do the same to her front garden? Bet that would go down well...

    So what happens, if nothing is said does it just fizzle out and the Council say no to her? Or if no-one objects can the council make someone else's land a village green or whatever?
     
  8. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    As the law currently stands, anyone can apply to have any land registered as a town or village green even if the evidence is non-existent. You could indeed apply in respect of this lady's front garden and cause the County Council just as much trouble and expense. Your application would fail of course, just as her's must, but the consultation period must be respected; the County Council cannot determine the application until after 31 October. The current situation does not prevent Moorland and City Railways from pressing on with its work; indeed it would be well advised to clear the whole of the section within the application as soon as possible.
     
  9. Guest

    Guest Part of the furniture Account Suspended

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    John and 37026 - Thank you for your various inputs

    Mr Gwenllan - sincerely held views or not, I maintain my view that anyone who misuses procedures provided to protect public interests in such a perverse manner as this is a public disgrace, and I make no apology for expressing my utter disdain for them.

    This process has here, become an unecessary, and complete waste of taxpayers time and money for pure personal vanity, and it should be condemned out of hand.

    It is my belief that applicants who behave in this way should have to pay the full costs of such nonsense. Silly Cow is a mild response to her suggestion that a piece of land so clearly still a railway line, as shown in the photos, should be designated a village green, and the sooner we say so, and stop pussy footing around trying to give people and bodies which behave like this false credence - the better

    Below I set out a draft letter of objection to be sent to Staffordshire County Council by the 31st October. You may wish to use it or to redraft your own - but the most important salient fact is that the land subject to the application is still extant as a railway line as provided for by Acts of Parliament and has been unbrokenly since its construction - and accordingly the powers to operate the line remain in full force.


    To:-

    John Tradewell
    Director of Law and Democracy
    Legal Services Unit
    16 Martin Street
    Stafford
    ST16 2LG

    Dear Sir

    Commons Act 2006

    Application for Registration of Railway Line at Endon
    as Village Green Land – Mrs Wendy Birks
    S15(1) The Commons Act 2006
    I am writing pursuant to the application by Ms Birks as to the above and her application for registration of the railway line itself at Endon as a Village Green w.e.f. the 9[SUP]th[/SUP] September 2011.

    This land is self evidently a railway line as indicated by the rails etc, still in situ, which have never been lifted or the line severed since its first construction. Accordingly the entire line of route from Stoke on Trent to Cauldon Low remains subject to the powers contained in the unrepealed Parliamentary Enabling Acts authorising its construction, and the ongoing powers to maintain and operate the line remain in full force, as further provided for in various later railways acts which may also have relevance to this alignment up to the present day,

    The line is currently the subject of ongoing maintenance and restoration as a prelude to the resumption of active use of the route, the rights to which are still authorised by legislation as described above, and accordingly I must object to the application and request the Council to strike it out as inappropriate to this particular area of land in view of its permitted use under statute, which still remains in full force.

    I look forward to hearing from you that the Council agrees and accepts that this alignment remains an operational line of route and that the application has accordingly been dismissed at the earliest opportunity
    Yours Faithfully
     
  10. Gav106

    Gav106 Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know when the loop at Caludon will be comissioned???
     
  11. John Stewart

    John Stewart Part of the furniture

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    In relation to the application for registration as a village green, whilst the specimen objection letter does not say anything that is wrong, it is not the best way of objecting. My advice is to Google "Commons Act 2006", page down to Section 15 and see what the statutory grounds are that have to be established for registration. It is abundantly clear that none of these have been or can be met, so objections should be on those grounds.
     
  12. Guest

    Guest Part of the furniture Account Suspended

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    I don't disagree - the fact that the land is still legally a railway and still subject to the powers set out in its authorising act, and to the protection of all all the subsequent railways acts that have applicability, due to a railway track having been in place unbrokenly since the original construction, amount to exactly the same thing.

    The requirements of the Commons Act 2006 to render the land appropriate for registration are simply not met.
     
  13. p/wayman

    p/wayman Member

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    Gorgeous day today, did a line walk from Froghall to Oakamoor, plus marking sleepers up that require changing, can't think of any reason that we would be doing this. Perhaps it was just to tire us out.
     
  14. crantock

    crantock Member

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    With respect to the Village Green application, John Stewart helpfully identified two key objections:




    Now I am not convinced the application is necessarily without merit. On the first count, I would challenge BR/Railtrack/Network rail to provide evidence of one fresh sign erected or one arrest for trespass within the last 20 years. I don't think the rotting artefacts of historical signs show any effort. And there is a legal question as to whether that need be within the defined area (sensibly no as it is a mere part of a continuous track).

    On the "lawfully used", I think it is the case that the criminal offence is Trespass on the operational railway. To my mind the railway may have ceased to be operational when the last train was run and certainly when the track was severed at the Stoke end. Were either of those dates over 20 years ago? The arrival of MCR rolling stock at one end does not make an overgrown section suddenly operational.

    Conversely, this is not merely a case of allowing access over some sheep pasture adjacent to a village. The sole purpose of ownership is for its use as a railway such that its use as a Village Green would wholly deny the owner of value. That should weigh heavily with a court. Indeed, it is not mere land but is an "industrial building or structure" to use the tax term. I struggle to see that rights of access to such structures is what the law intended.

    But then again, if the former double track railway were to be offered, perhaps for that section only, as part railway, part cyclepath, would the grounds for objection simply disappear?

    Finally, the lady in question has given her name and address. I am sure readers of this forum do not need reminding that it would not be helpful to the cause if she were to be the recipient of abuse.
     
  15. 45045

    45045 New Member

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    Does filling out forms applying for junk mail in her name and address come under receiving abuse And filling out readers digest competitions in her name/address? I did it many years ago to someone. Made me chuckle seeing the postman calling everyday with lots of junk mail......... Very childish though, and I do not think it should be done. Bad for the environment, the green party would not like it.
     
  16. FJR8642

    FJR8642 Member

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    As some of you may know I say what I like! The Stoke-on-Trent brach WILL open and NO ONE can stop it and to be honest this so called "Green act" thats been applied for is just a load of rubbish, most people I have talked to say they want the railway as it will bring passengers/tourists to the smaller villagers of the Moorlands eg: Endon. As seen from some photos in this post the Railway is at Endon (Seen in the Quote above).

    Maybe some people need a keep reminder of what "Mothballed" means: 'The preservation of a production facility without using it to produce. Machinery in a mothballed facility is kept in working order so that production may be restored quickly if needed.'

    Look at this (Lot 1015): http://www.networkrail.co.uk/documents/5254_StrategicFreightSitesList.pdf
    This article (http://northstaffordshire.greenparty.org.uk/resources/Wendy.Sentinel.rail.5thFeb07.pdf) this person obv never won the battle!

    Good luck to Moorland & City Railway for the future years to come!
     
  17. kebab123

    kebab123 New Member

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    Unless I'm mistaken, the last official train was a special in 1993, therefore the railway has only been mothballed for 18 years and not 20 and it is still shown on Network Rail's 2006 sectional appendix, as a complete route from Glebe St Junction, to Caldon Quarry, with a maximum line speed of 20mph.
     
  18. FJR8642

    FJR8642 Member

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    The last special train was in 1994 (I think it was around May) so yes its been mothballed for 17 years not 20 years as people are saying.

    Few photos from 1994:
    'Leeky Pot' 28/05/1994 http://www.flickr.com/photos/staffsoatcake/5564369083/in/set-72157626254785425
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/staffsoatcake/5564908196/in/set-72157626254785425
    'Creamed Leek' 17/04/1994 http://www.flickr.com/photos/staffsoatcake/5564335285/in/set-72157626254785425
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/staffsoatcake/5564910876/in/set-72157626254785425

     
  19. FJR8642

    FJR8642 Member

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  20. oddsocks

    oddsocks Well-Known Member

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