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IWAG - NEWS

More than 70 people packed into the Sports and Social Club on May 7th to hear about plans to oppose the Planning Inspector's decision to make the Icknield Way from Ickleford to the Hitchin-Barton road a Byway Open to All Traffic (a "BOAT"). The meeting was organised by the Icknield Way Action Group ("IWAG"). Co-ordinator Harry Spencer-Smith explained the objectives of the group were completely in line with the Pirton Parish Plan 2013 which emphasises protecting our environment and maintaining our peaceful and friendly atmosphere. He explained that in addition to County Council and Parish Council opposition to the BOAT , Hitchin's Rural police Sergeant had also objected to the BOAT which he feared would lead to increased criminality of multiple types.

The meeting heard there are two ways to fight the imposition of the BOAT and all the road safety and environmental problems that would ensue. Firstly, IWAG will be opposing the interim order at the second Public Inquiry, called following 91 objections to the original decision, which will be held in Pirton Village Hall on November 12th and 13th. IWAG will be taking specialist legal advice. Secondly, people can gather evidence for a Traffic Regulation Order ("TRO").  Helen Denton from Herts County Council explained that routes can be closed to vehicles under certain circumstances. This involves building a dossier of evidence detailing incidents such as: road safety (crashes or near crashes); walkers feeling unsafe on the route due to motorbikes/4x4s; alarm or distress to walkers or riders; damage to the route and crops in adjoining fields; fly-tipping and litter; and anti-social behaviour. She will be providing Incident Report Forms to those who attended the meeting and left details (copies will also appear here ASAP). Others are invited to email iwagreport@gmail.com and forms will be sent to them. Completed forms should be sent back to the same email address or mailed to IWAG, Tingley House, Hexton Road, Hitchin, SG5 3BJ.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the Fighting Fund for legal advice for the Nov 12/13 public inquiry should also email iwagreport@gmail.com. Anyone with historical, mapping or documentary evidence concerning the route should email it to the same email address. More information about how to make submissions to the Planning Inspectorate before the November Inquiry will be given in due course.