BHS Hants would like to alert its members and other interested parties to the continued problems regarding Yateley Bridleway 16 / Eversley 11 which has been blocked intermittently since World War 2, when the war office built an aerodrome on the common. The local community were promised that it would be returned after the cessation of hostilities, and as with many areas, this promise never came to fruition. Decades of legal argument have ensued, with the land being sold to a developer to operate a civilian airport after the war, and subsequently significant court cases over the extent of ownership common rights. Unfortunately, there have been a number of failings in both the planning and enforcement regime, even leading to the construction of an aircraft hangar in 1981 across the definitive line of the historic Welsh Drive bridleway, together with the construction of fences and locked gates across the route.
A number of attempts have been made over the years to broker a solution - an unsuccessful application was made in the mid eighties to divert the bridleway using the highways act process (a FOI is currently in for the paperwork referring to this attempt). Unfortunately, to this day, anyone wishing to use the route is met by a locked barbed wire gate at one end (with a helpful sign saying that you need to phone for somebody to unlock the gate) and a complete dead end at the other.
Recent developments have seen a planning application for the area covered by the hangar (now a car auction site) to be developed, and as a condition to this the local authority demanded the owner carry out a consultation and apply for a bridleway diversion. However, after winning partial planning permission for the development of the site, the landowner has now applied to have this condition removed.
The BHS has objected to the landowner’s application and attached is a copy of the text contained in that objection. The Advisor to the Cycling Off-Road Group has been extremely helpful in pursuing this matter with the Harts District Council Planning Authority as has the Blackwater Bridleways Group who are actively fighting for an appropriate bridleway diversion to be created.
Download Email Objection on behalf of BHS (pdf)