Providing access to wooded site to members of public

Discussion in 'Sites, planning, self-builds and extensions' started by Andrew Murphy, 29 Oct 2018.

  1. Andrew Murphy

    Andrew Murphy Registered User

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    I have an acre site in the country with road frontage and established woods which I am contemplating opening up to unsupervised public access without charge. The initial plan is to provide seating areas for picnics and a play area for kids. The site has a gravel access road linking the main road to an open space which could be used to provide limited on site parking.

    There are a number of issues I need to get a handle on and would appreciate some feedback:
    1. Public liability - I have read this Citizen Information article, in particular the section outlining the Occupiers' Liability Act. It would suggest that there will be no need for me to get public liability insurance. Is this correct?
    2. Planning permission - the site was granted outline planning permission for a house some years ago but there are no plans to follow through with this. The gravel access road referred to earlier was put in at the time permission was sought but was not approved/signed-off for use as far as I know. Will the provision of on site parking require planning permission insofar as access to the main road is concerned?
    3. Right of use - by opening up the site to public access am I creating a right of use I may regret in the future?
    Is there anything else I have not mentioned that I ought to consider?
     
  2. Leo

    Leo Moderator

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    You will need planning permission to change the use of this land to recreational or set up parking facilities. That then may have implications for adjoining land.

    I'd advise seeking legal advice on the liability & Right of Way issues. Remember the lady who sued the National Parks service after tripping on the boardwalk in Wicklow? While that was ultimately thrown out, it's likely to have cost the NPWS into 5 figures to defend the action.
     
  3. Andrew Murphy

    Andrew Murphy Registered User

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    37
    Thanks Leo.

    The possibility of being sued is a real disincentive to opening up the woods to the public but it seems such a wasted opportunity not to do so.
    As it will be a non-starter without planning permission I'll investigate whether a change of use will even be considered before I look at the legal issues.
     
  4. dereko1969

    dereko1969 Frequent Poster

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    2,597
  5. Andrew Murphy

    Andrew Murphy Registered User

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    37
    Although it is not really relevant in my case thanks for the info/links, it is good to know there is financial support available for similar leisure activities.
     
    dereko1969 likes this.