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Open Spaces Society objects to closure of cobbled highway in Hebden Bridge

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Open Spaces Society, Britain's oldest national conservation body, has objected to a proposal to stop up part of an ancient cobbled highway, known as Old Gate, in Hebden Bridge, Calderdale. The application comes from the owner of Hebble House, formerly the Hole in the Wall pub, who wants to use the land for private parking.

Cobble highway

The application has been made to the council under section 116 of the Highways Act 1980. If the council wants to proceed, the plan will have to go to the magistrates' court for confirmation. Any member of the public may attend and make representations.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society told the HebWeb, 'The only legal ground on which this highway can be stopped up is that it is unnecessary. The statement accompanying the application makes no reference to the highway being unnecessary. The applicant dismisses the highway as having "no real function". In fact it has a very important function, as part of a route for walkers, riders and cyclists.


Clearly this highway is necessary for many reasons. Without it, the route would become an awkward, narrow passageway instead of the thoroughfare it is at present. People would feel constrained and shut in. It is used by walkers, riders and cyclists and if the width of the highway is reduced they will be competing for space, at some risk to the users.

'Moreover this is part of an ancient packhorse route between Halifax and Heptonstall and on into Lancashire.

'This is an important element of Hebden Bridge's history. Hebden Bridge is proud to be the first Walkers Are Welcome Town and Calderdale Council and Hebden Bridge's businesses should all be celebrating this and making it as easy as possible for walkers to enjoy the town, not stopping up public highways for private gain.

'We object strongly to public highway being converted into a private parking-area and urge the council to reject the application,' Kate concludes.

See also:

HebWeb Forum - Packhorse route closure (from Dec 2013)

Open Spaces Society - Threat of closure of cobbled highway in Hebden Bridge (6 Jan 2014)