May 2021 – Disused railway infrastructure.

The ‘burdensome estate’ has reached the national press. The ongoing saga over the demolition or infilling of bridges and tunnels by Highways England (HE) was reported on in The Times newspaper of May 4th, with both an article and editorial comment. It described the recent decision by Herefordshire Council to refuse planning permission to HE to block two bridges on the route to Hay-on-Wye, which a local campaign group is working to open as a trail. Other councils have said HE would need to apply for planning permission before carrying out any infilling work. HE has been trying to use ‘permitted development orders’ to circumvent the need for permission, on the grounds that the structures are unsafe. The Times comments that ‘their reasoning is as spurious as their motives’ and calls on HE to ‘let councils, walking and cycling federations and others’ come together to protect our rural heritage. (The Times)