Right of way through Waitrose? County Hall finally investigates Berkhamsted supermarket plan - 17 years later

Waitrose.
Waitrose.

Bureaucrats have just got round to considering a 17-year-old right of way plan that would pass through the middle of a town centre supermarket.

The idea was first proposed by a group of people who were elected to Berkhamsted Town Council on the back of an anti-Waitrose campaign, a meeting heard last night. Their idea was lodged with Herts County Council in 1996.

But it was not until earlier this month that County Hall’s rights of way service wrote back to Berkhamsted Town Council.

Definitive map officer Angela Simpkins says in the letter that she is trying to resolve ‘anomalies’ that she has now discovered about the proposal.

Clerk Gary Cox said: “I told her Waitrose is now there. She knew that, but this process has got to be followed.”

Since the rights of way proposal was first mooted, multiple people have been voted in and out of Berkhamsted Town Council.

When the idea was considered by its transport and environment committee last night, only chairman Ian Reay could remember the original application.

He said: “A group of residents got elected on the back of an anti-Waitrose campaign after the decision to build the supermarket there had already been made.

“One of them made this up to try and stop it, and it’s taken the county council more than 15 years to consider it.”

Councillor Garrick Stevens said that County Hall would never agree to the right of way proposal, and was only conducting the investigation now ‘to go through due process’.

The proposal suggests a right of way should run between Berkhamsted’s Lower Kings Road and St John’s Well Lane. Another right of way should run from the middle of that one, through the centre of Waitrose to the High Street, the proposal suggests.

Councillors also considered a separate probe by Ms Simpkins into whether a footpath along the River Bulbourne should run through someone’s garden wall and fence. They decided it shouldn’t.