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    Notes on highway records from the North Riding County Council


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    Notes on highway records from the North Riding County Council

    Post  rikidooos on Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:50 am

    Notes on highway records from the North Riding County Council
    l. The North Riding County Council ceased to exist on lst April 1974 when its
    area was incorporated into the counties of North Yorkshire, Durham and Cleveland in
    consequence of the Local Government Act 1974.
    2. It should be noted that the same act altered some powers and duties of local
    authorities. In particular the following are of relevance:
    • The County Council was the highway authority for all highways in the
    majority of the County but in boroughs and urban districts was only the
    highway authority for classified roads. This applied in Thomaby, Eston,
    Redcar, Saltbum & Marske, Skelton & Brotton, Loftus, Guisborough,
    Northallerton, Whitby, Pickering, Malton, Scarborough and Scalby.
    • The County Council was the surveying authority for the preparation of the
    definitive map for the whole County. In the borough and urban district areas
    the information on public paths was obtained from the highway authorities.
    This may mean that the approaches to recording public paths differs between
    individual areas and the remainder of the County — further research is required
    on this point. However, in the majority of the County where there were rural
    districts die County Council was both the surveying authority and the highway
    authority for public paths and may be expected to have adopted a consistent
    approach across the area. The remainder of this note deals with the rural part
    of the County.
    . • The legal requirement to maintain a list of streets (from the Public Health Act
    1925) applied only to the borough and urban district areas. Thus the highway
    records of the County Council other than the definitive map were internal
    documents used by highway maintenance staff and in the answering of
    searches by land charges staff`.
    3. The definitive map was prepared in two parts covering the east and west of the
    County. Although they have slightly different relevant dates (both in the mid 1950s)
    there is nothing to suggest that the methodology adopted differed in any respect
    between the two areas and they appear to adopt a consistent approach.
    4. The base maps used for the definitive map are l;25,000 sheets from the early
    1950s. The depiction of paths is by the use of coloured inks and not the symbols as in
    many other areas.
    5. Unusually, there is no detailed schedule giving information such as widths of
    paths. Instead the schedule is the absolute minimum legal requirement of a single
    sentence giving the relevant date. This is written on a duplicated slip pasted on the
    front of the portfolio of maps.
    6. The definitive maps are also unusual is depicting virtually no Roads Used as
    Public Paths (RUPPs) outside the boroughs and urban districts. The reason for not
    recording RUPPs in unclear, as is also why there should be two exceptions, one each
    in the eastern and western areas.

    7. The County Council officers had a highways map other than the definitive
    map. This was normally described by officers as the "County Roads Map". The base
    maps used were the same as for the definitive map (ie 1:25,000 maps from the early
    1950s) and the routes shovsm were depicted in coloured ink in the same way as the
    definitive map. However, a completely different network of routes was shown. This
    included all classified A, B and C roads together with an extensive network of other
    routes shown in a different colour. This network included all the tarred unclassified
    roads, plus many other routes.
    8. There were also a small number of routes shown in yet another colour and
    described as RT (ratione tenurae) roads. I was informed that the rating section held a
    list of premises that had the benefit of reduced rates as a quid pro quo for maintaining
    certain RT roads, but l never actually saw this list.
    9. I made a careful study of the county roads map in the late 1970s, comparing it
    with the definitive map. The two were consistent in the sense that routes were not
    shown on both maps and paths on the definitive map that did not link with other paths
    always terminated on routes shown on the county roads map. The high level of
    consistency between the two maps together with the use of identical base maps and
    similar drafting techniques led me to conclusion that the two maps had been produced
    at the same time and by the same staff, as part of the preparation of the definitive
    map. It appeared that a stock-taking had taken place of all known highways and that
    in each case a decision had been made as to which map to include it on.
    l0. The obvious implication is that the routes shown on the county roads map
    were believed by those who prepared the maps to be vehicular roads and not public
    pathsl Had a particular route been thought to be a footpath or a bridleway then it
    would clearly have been added to the definitive map. In addition, the fact that many of
    the routes depicted in the same way are incontrovertibly public roads adds further
    force to the view that the county roads map was intended to show vehicular roads.
    ll. As the county roads map is not conclusive of rights recorded, its modem status
    is that of evidence of repute. However, it must be regarded as very strong evidence
    given that it was prepared by the highway authority for the routes. lt is important to
    remember that in the l950s the County Council still maintained roads in-house,
    employing a large force of lengthsmen and supervisory staff who knew their area
    intimately. It is extremely unlikely that they would have recorded a route as being a
    public road if, in fact, it was not regarded as such at that time. lt follows that depiction
    on the 1950s North Riding county roads map must be strong evidence of public
    vehicular status.
    l2. From 1974 counties were required to maintain a list of streets maintainable at
    public expense. lt appears that the North Yorkshire County Council based its list of`
    streets on the previous records. This seems to have given rise to a belief that current
    records are only of value in determining whether a route is a highway maintained by
    the public with no information as to its status. However, this is a misconception. The
    evidential value of any records relates to their origin, in respect of who prepared them,
    what they intended to record and how accurately they appear to have worked. Given
    that current records are based on records that did intend to distinguish between roads

    of different user status, then their evidential value in determining the status of routes
    remains valid.
    13. In the early 1980s the North Yorkshire County Council prepared a
    replacement map to a scale of 1:10,000. This was intended to be a copy of the
    previous map, with the addition of some routes added since the original map was
    prepared. In some cases, existing footpaths or bridleways had been upgraded to tarred
    roads, particularly in the late 1950s when grants were available. This led to some
    routes being shown on both the new county roads map as a tarred road as well as on
    the definitive map as a public path as the latter map had not been revised. However,
    for some years at least the original maps were maintained in the Land Charges Section
    in order to check on any possibly drafting anomalies on the replacement maps.
    14. Many of the unsurfaced roads recorded on the county roads map meet the
    definition of a byway open to all traffic. However, it is debatable whether they could
    now be added to the definitive map as byways on the basis of the county roads map as
    there has to be a "discovery" of evidence. It is certainly arguable that there is no
    discovery given that the surveying authority was well aware of their existence when
    the original definitive map was prepared, but took a policy decision not to include
    them as RUPPs. As public roads are not subject to extinguishment in 2026 it is not
    essential that they be added to the definitive map. However, there is a need for
    positive management of these routes as part of the network of recreational routes in
    the countryside.
    John Sugden
    Thorgill Transport Consultancy
    Sth January 2008

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