Notices about access rights in Hampshire’s Countryside
Notices have recently been appearing in Hampshire’s countryside, including the County Council’s own Country Parks and countryside sites. These notices are being put in the countryside to tell people that landowners (including the County Council) have made a ‘declaration’ to safeguard their land from claims for new public rights of way, or for village green status. The notices put up on-site are required as part of the associated legal process.
The notices inform people that landowners recognise the existing public rights of way or other access over their land, but they do not intend to dedicate any new permanent access. They consist of a legal notice called a ‘Form CA17’, along with a map of the land covered which shows the boundary of the land and any existing public rights of way over it. The declaration is valid for 20 years.
The making of a declaration to safeguard land in this way does not change how people already enjoy the countryside, and does not prevent any landowner dedicating further access rights, should they wish to do so. Declarations are made to help landowners manage public access to their land.
New access rights can still be acquired, if it can be shown that people have been using the land as if they already had a right of access, and that the landowner has not done anything to stop this use. If a member of the public can show that unrecorded public access rights existed before the declaration was made, they can apply to the County Council to have that right recorded.
During October 2014, Hampshire County Council’s Countryside staff have put up these CA17 notices in the Country Parks and Countryside sites, for the reasons given above. If you have any questions about the CA17 notices, please contact the Countryside Access Team on 0300 555 1391.
For more information, including the law relating to the declarations, a register of declarations made on land in Hampshire, and a contact number for enquiries, see Information for landowners.