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Carol Ramsden has specialised in public rights of way law for over 30 years and joined Birketts in 2005 as Rights of Way Executive. She is now a Consultant, helping clients with the wide variety of problems created by the complex and archaic nature of much public rights of way legislation.
Her special focus is on securing changes to the existing public rights of way network. Recorded and claimed routes can severely affect the privacy and security of private dwellings, impact adversely on the needs of modern agriculture and constrain – or even defeat – development. Her clients range from private individuals to large country estates and farms, and from self-builders to national house builders. She has an enviable record of achieving changes by knowledgeable and effective consultation and negotiation – and avoiding public inquiries.
She also advises regularly on preventing the creation of new public rights of way and Town or Village Greens with effective signing and statutory deposits, and on managing both formal and informal public access with notices, agreements and licences.
Carol has a wealth of knowledge of public access legislation generally and how it has evolved to produce the current Definitive Maps and Statements relied upon by all parties to establish where the public can and can’t go. She advises clients on how best to deal with maintenance and enforcement issues raised by highway authorities and Parish Councils, and on how to react to claims that unrecorded public rights of way exist.
She is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Countryside Access Management. She is also a representative of landowners to the national Stakeholders Working Group. This Group is now working on the implementation of pending public rights of way legislation, including a right to apply for a public path diversion or extinguishment order, and new guidance to local authorities on the weight to attach to the impact of a route on a private dwelling, working farmyard or commercial premises when considering applications for changes to the network.
Carol is based in our Ipswich office but has a national practice and travels widely. She currently has clients as far apart as Yorkshire, Kent and Wales. She also takes full advantage of video telephone calls to advise on public access issues where a visit is impractical but understanding the character of a route and the surrounding area is critical to her advice.
In 2004 Carol achieved a Distinction in her Masters degree in Public Rights of Way and Countryside Access Management – and was rewarded with prizes from both Sheffield Hallam University and the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management (IPROW). She served as a member of IPROW’s Board of Directors between 2004 and 2007.
In 2008 she was nominated for a national ‘The Right Way’ award for her work raising professional standards in the industry. She became a Fellow of IPROW in 2009.
In 2015 she was invited to join a Defra Expert Group, advising on the regulations needed to implement the new right to apply for a public path order contained in the Deregulation Act 2015.
Carol is also a long standing Parish Clerk, which gives her a useful knowledge of the powers and procedures of Parish Councils and of what is important to them and to local users of the public rights of way network.