11th June 2014
Mr. David Pedlow
Redcar & Cleveland Council
Dear Mr D. Pedlow,
Re: OBJECTION- Flatts Lane-Eston hills Public Access Removal.
Planning App R/2014/0164/FF
I am writing on behalf of the heritage and conservation action group The Friends of Eston Hills, who recently became landowners of 3 acres at Eston Nab. We object 100% to the planning application by Teesside University to block public access to Eston hills from the footpath at the end of the Tarmac Road at Flatts Lane. This is because:
1) It would punish the law abiding and respectful majority for the actions of a rogue few with vehicles and that is unfair and unacceptable.
2) It would end public access that has been enjoyed freely for generations (and long before Teesside University/Polytechnic and even the NHS existed!) and is therefore unjust and quite possibly be unlawful.
3) It would close the easiest access to the lower slopes and gentlest gradient leading up to Eston Nab. This is crucial to maximise access for the greatest number of people who wish to enjoy the hills.
4) It would greatly hinder the work of FOEH promoting the hills to encouraging the greatest number of people to access them and learn about their heritage and conservation.
5) It would inevitably lead to more people and especially youngsters having to walk up Flatts Lane itself ie - on the road as there is no pavement or roadside footpaths. Alternatively, many will have to cross Flatts Lane to the Country Park and ascend to another point further up the hill and re-cross to the Eston side at a very dangerous stretch of road where cars are always travelling at speed.
6) It would inevitably mean that the public and especially youngsters will also resort to seeking alternative routes through the NHS complex.
7) As historian and film-maker, I have been leading guided walks for the public and schools via this path for many years. Blocking it will mean children from Normanby Primary School will no longer be able to walk directly from school to the hills without having to cross a busy road. They will no longer be able to view the historic site of Normanby ironstone mine from the footpath in question nor access the site of Bolckow & Vaughan's first ironstone quarry to the adjacent East.
We, the Friends of Eston Hills, fully recognise and appreciate the problems caused to Teesside Uni & NHS by joyriders. Following recent conversations with farmers on the Eastern side of Eston hills who equally suffer, we think all affected parties, landowners and the local authority should come together to look at devising a plan that can somehow stop the joyriding without obstructing walkers and horse riders. We strongly urge you to consider this as the basis for seeking a workable solution.
Chair, The Friends of Eston Hills, Landowners at Eston Nab
Film-maker of 'A Century in Stone' documentary on Eston hills history.
Fellow, National Endowment of Science, Technology & The Arts