History sleuths needed to solve mystery of tracks across the green at Middleton-in-Teesdale
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
LOCAL historians and residents are being asked to help uncover who is responsible for maintaining tracks through a village green.
The diagonal tracks that cut through the green in Middleton-in-Teesdale have provided access to houses on Hill Terrace for as long as anyone can remember.
However, the gravel roads are in need of repair, but due to complex legal issues this has not been carried out.
The parish council needed information to resolve the situation but due to money
and time constraints is hoping he public will be able to assist.
Parish clerk Judith Mashiter said: “The village greens are registered to Raby Estates but specifically exclude the tracks, which form an X across the green and the remaining track from Horsemarket to Hill Terrace.”
The problem centres around not only who owns the land, but whether the tracks are actual highways and if they have ever been maintained by a local authority.
She explained the council had taken legal advice on the matter, adding: “Until such time as a good deal of research is carried out to produce documentary evidence, it is unlikely that the parish council will be able to take comment on or recommend any action concerning the condition of the tracks.”
She added: “If there are vehicular rights over the tracks and those rights were in existence on August 31, 1835, the tracks are publicly maintainable as a result of the Highways Act 1835.”
Ms Mashiter added that Durham County Council has a statutory duty to keep an up-to-date list of streets it must maintain.
This also needs to be checked to see if the tracks are listed, added Ms Mashiter.
Anyone who thinks they can help or knows of documents providing evidence of the maintenance of the tracks can contact the parish council clerk by email at firstname.lastname@example.org