Salt Way residents ‘told off’ for path encroachment

Waller Drive residents have been angered at a letter from Oxfordshire County Council NNL-181213-120525001
Waller Drive residents have been angered at a letter from Oxfordshire County Council NNL-181213-120525001

Residents of Waller Drive are perplexed after a letter from Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) seemed to admonish them for encroaching on Salt Way.

In the November correspondence OCC state they have had reports of householders encroaching on and obstructing Salt Way.

It adds: “Salt Way is much wider than the surfaced track with the width considered to be from boundary ditch to boundary ditch.”

The residents, however, do not understand why they have been admonished as they actively care for the land to the rear of their properties despite some confusion as to who actually owns it.

Resident Surinder Dhesi said: “They should be glad that we are keeping everything tidy, you never see anyone coming here to cut the grass or maintain it.”

Resident Peter Monk added: “What they should have done is come and meet us and get some history.”

Large branches from the trees on the land between the Waller Drive ditch and Salt way have fell onto land owned by Shirley Minnear over a month ago.

Shirley said: “The tree fell and I tried to contact Cherwell District Council, OCC and nobody seems to be in charge of the land.

“Then I got the letters and it feels like I’ve been told off.”

In a statement OCC said: “The letter sent to the residents of Waller Drive does not relate to the ditch or the land on the Waller Drive side of the ditch.

“The Countryside Access Officer has been to the site after the report was received. In some locations on the Saltway side of the boundary ditch some areas have been cleared and now contain personal items such as wheelbarrows and garden seating.

“At some points small areas have been surrounded by cut branches which could give the impression to the public that the area is private.

“The Saltway is a public highway which is recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement as a Restricted Byway. The legal width of the public highway (The Saltway) is the entire width between the two boundary ditches.

“This area should be open and available to for the public to access. Anything which prevents or deters the public from using that area could be considered an obstruction in law. Oxfordshire County Council as the Highways Authority have a statutory duty to seek the removal of obstructions.

It concluded: “As stated in the letter Oxfordshire County Council currently does not intend to take this matter further but will continue to monitor the situation.

“The letter was to ensure that the residents were aware of the legal width of the Saltway which is why a general letter was sent to all households in that area of Waller Drive.”

The response, however, has not been well received by the Waller Drive residents.

Surinder Dhesi said: “I am not impressed with the response, they are back tracking on what they wrote on the letter and the residents are incensed with the response.

“Along Saltway there are new access points from the new development which was not there before and the hedge is damaged.

“On my neighbours side the tree that has fallen over ditch has not been removed.”