Constitution of the Association

  1. Name

The name of the Association is The Intrusive Footpath Campaign

An Intrusive Footpath is one which impacts negatively on the privacy, safety or security of the property it crosses.  Specifically, this is not open fields but where a Public Right of Way crosses the curtilage of a domestic home, farmyard, or business.  See appendices i and ii.

  1. Objects

The objects of the Association are to:

2.1       redress the imbalance disadvantaging homeowners in current Public Rights of Way legislation, guidance and culture, recognising the historical origins of Public Rights of Ways current legislation and general law and the role they play in the 21st Century;

2.2       work towards a better rights of way network suitable for current and future times benefiting both users and home and other property owners affected by intrusive Public Rights of Ways;

2.3       work with Government departments (currently DEFRA) and other organisations in pursuit of the above aims using much of the approach outlined in DEFRA Impact Assessments 1403 and 1389  and the work carried out with DEFRA between 2013 and 2018 as the basis;

2.4       work with DEFRA and lobby Government where necessary to ensure that government delivers on its commitments to our community.  See appendices i and ii; and

2.5       do all other things that seem incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above aims.

  1. Members

3.1       Membership is open to those with an Intrusive Footpath through their home, garden or other property.

3.2       Any person who supports the aims of the Association may apply for membership by signed, written application together with evidence of their support of the aims and objects of the Association.

3.3       Every person nominated for membership becomes a Member if he or she is elected as such by the Committee and meets the requirements above. The Committee may refuse to admit any person as a Member without giving reasons for doing so.

3.4       The Committee may establish different classes of membership, determine their respective privileges and duties.

3.5       The Secretary shall keep a register of Members.

3.6       A Member will cease to be a Member:

3.6.1                 if he or she gives to the Secretary written notice of resignation of his or her membership;

3.6.2                 if he or she fails to pay any subscription within one month after the due date of payment; or

3.6.3                 if, on the ground that, in its reasonable opinion, the Member’s continued membership would be harmful to the Association, the Committee resolves by a majority of three quarters to remove him or her from membership.  In such circumstances, the member has the right of appeal within one month of the termination.  An appeal needs to be addressed to the Chairman of the Association and to set out the grounds of the appeal in writing.

3.7       Membership is not transferable.

  1. Subscriptions

4.1       The Association’s membership year is from 1 January to 31 December.

4.2       The Association is a voluntary association and as such there is presently no annual subscription required, though donations are welcomed particularly around times of increased expenditure for legal advice, campaigning or other functions.  See appendices.

4.3       The annual general meeting of the Association may introduce or vary any subscription by ordinary resolution.

4.4       A person who is elected to be a Member after 30 June in any year, pays half the subscription for that year if applicable.

  1. Officers

5.1       The honorary officers of the Association are a President, a Chairman, a Treasurer and a Secretary. The annual general meeting may create other honorary officers as it thinks necessary.

5.2       The Accountant must not be a Member. The President may but need not be a Member. All the officers (except the President) must be Members of the Association.

5.3       Any officer may retire by giving one week’s prior notice to the Secretary, and all retire automatically at the end of each annual general meeting, but are eligible for re-election at that meeting.

  1. The Committee

6.1       The Committee consists of the officers (including the President) and not fewer than four and not more than eight other Members

6.2       No person may be appointed a member of the Committee or an officer at any general meeting unless not less than five and not more than twenty eight clear days before the date appointed for the meeting, a notice has been given to the Association of the intention to propose that person for appointment signed by a Member and that person.

6.3       Any casual vacancy on the Committee or of any office arising between annual general meetings may be filled by the Committee.

6.4       Any member of the Committee may retire by giving 30 days’ prior notice to the Secretary, and all retire automatically at the end of each annual general meeting but are eligible for re-election at that meeting.

6.5       Any person who fails to attend three consecutive meetings of the Committee without giving a reason acceptable to it ceases automatically to be a member of the Committee half an hour after the start of that meeting, at which the Committee may fill the vacancy under rule 6.3.

6.6       The Committee shall manage all the affairs of the Association, including the purchase for the Association and the supply by the Association of services and products as required and shall have power to do everything necessary for that purpose.

6.7       The quorum of the Committee is three.

6.8       Committee meetings are to be held in person or online twice per year but more frequently when called for.

6.9       Not less than five days’ written or oral notice must be given by the Secretary to members of the Committee of meetings, but in an emergency, at the discretion of the Chairman and Secretary, additional meetings may be called on not less than 24 hours’ notice.

6.10      Decisions at meetings of the Committee are made by a simple majority and in the event of equality of voting the Chairman (or the acting chairman of that meeting) has a casting vote in addition to their own vote.

  1. Annual general meeting

7.1       Except at first, an annual general meeting is to be held in every year. The first annual general meeting may be held at any time within 18 months after the formation of the Association.

7.2       The business of the annual general meeting is to:

7.2.1                 receive the Chairman’s report of the activities of the Association during the preceding year

7.2.2                 receive and consider the accounts of the Association for the preceding year and the Treasurer’s report on the financial position of the Association;

7.2.3                 elect officers and other members of the Committee;

7.2.4                 elect from among the Members a Chairman to hold office from the end of the annual general meeting until the end of the next annual general meeting;

7.2.5                 review the subscription for the current year;

7.2.6                 confer on any individual (with his or her consent) the honorary title of Patron, President or Vice-President of the Association; and

7.2.7                 discuss and determine any issues of policy or deal with any other business put before it by the Committee.

7.3       Any general meeting which is not an annual general meeting is an extraordinary general meeting.

  1. Extraordinary general meetings

8.1       An extraordinary general meeting may be called at any time by the Committee and must be called within 14 clear days after a written request to the Committee by whichever is the fewer of 10 Members and not less than one-tenth of the Members.

8.2       The business which may be conducted at an extraordinary general meeting may be any one or more of:

8.2.1                 removing all or any of the officers, other members of Committee, and filling the vacancies caused by such removal;

8.2.2                 appointing persons to fill any other vacancy in any office or the Committee;

8.2.3                 considering and if thought fit making a decision on any matter which the Committee by resolution refers to a general meeting;

8.2.4                 altering these rules, or

8.2.5                 dissolving the Association.

  1. Proceedings at annual and extraordinary general meetings

9.1       Not less than ten working days’ prior notice in writing setting out the resolutions to be proposed at the meeting shall be sent to every Member at his or her last known email address.  Members are entitled to attend annual general meetings of the Association in person, or in the case of a member organisation through an authorised representative. There is a quorum at a general meeting if the number of Members or authorised representatives personally present is at least five. The Chairman or (if the Chairman is unable or unwilling to do so) some other Member elected by those present presides at a general meeting.

9.2       A simple majority of the votes cast by the Members present at the meeting is necessary to pass resolutions at annual general meetings.

9.3       A majority of three-quarters of the votes cast by the Members present at the meeting is necessary to pass resolutions at extraordinary general meetings.

9.4       Each Member has one vote on every resolution.

9.5       In the event of equality in voting at an annual general meeting the Chairman (or acting chairman at that meeting) will have a second or casting vote, but there will be no second or casting vote on any resolution proposed at an extraordinary general meeting.

  1. Property and Funds

Funds which are not required for immediate use (including those which will be required for use at a future date) may be placed on deposit.

  1. Accounts income property and records

11.1      The financial year of the Association ends on 31 December in every year.

11.2      The Committee shall ensure that as soon as is practicable after the end of the financial year, there are prepared a statement of the assets and liabilities of the Association at the end of the financial year, and a statement of income and expenditure during that year, to be scrutinised by a qualified accountant prior to the annual general meeting.

11.3      Copies of the statement of accounts shall be sent to every Member with the notice convening the annual general meeting

11.4      The Accountant must be a professional accountant and not be a Member of the Association. The Accountant is to be appointed by each annual general meeting and shall hold office until the end of the next following annual general meeting.

11.5      All monies received by the Association must be paid into an account in the name of the Association at bankers appointed by the Committee, and cheques and other instruments drawn on and directions to the bankers must be signed by not less than two officers. 

11.6      No action involving expenditure in the name or on behalf of the Association will be taken, and no undertakings which would commit the Association to expenditure or other liability will be made without the prior authority of a resolution of the Committee.

11.7      The Committee must keep proper records of all proceedings at general meeting, all reports of committees and all professional advice obtained.

11.8      Accounting records relating to the Association must be made available for inspection by any member of the Committee at any time during normal office hours and may be made available for inspection by members if the committee so decide.

11.9      A copy of the Association’s latest available statement of accounts must be supplied on request to any member.

  1. Notices

12.1      Notices under this Constitution may be sent by hand, by post or by suitable electronic means or (where applicable to members generally) may be published in any suitable journal or newspaper circulating in rea of benefit, or any journal distributed by the Association.

12.2      The address at which a Member is entitled to receive notices is the address (including email address) noted in the Register of Members (or, if none, the last known address).

12.3      Any notice given in accordance with this Constitution is to be treated for all purposes as having been received:

12.3.1               24 hours after being sent by electronic means or delivered by hand to the relevant address;

12.3.2               two clear days after being sent by first class post to that address;

12.3.3               three clear days after being sent by second class post or overseas post to that address;

12.3.4               on the date of publication of a journal or newspaper containing the notice;

12.3.5               on being handed to the Member or its authorised representative personally or, if earlier,

12.3.6               as soon as the member acknowledges actual receipt.

12.4      A technical defect in the giving of notice of which the Members are unaware at the time does not invalidate decisions taken at a meeting.

  1. Internet and Digital Communications

13.1      The Committee may establish and maintain a website and other Internet and digital accounts for the purposes of the Association.

13.2      Communications to and from members including notices under this Constitution may be post or email.

13.3      Meetings and decision-making of the Association or the Committee may be held and made by electronic or digital means.

  1. Indemnity

Except such loss as arises from their respective wilful default, the members of the Committee will not be liable (otherwise than as Members) for any loss suffered by the Association as a result of the discharge of their respective duties on its behalf, and they will be entitled to an indemnity out of the assets of the Association for all expenses and other liabilities incurred by them in the discharge of their respective duties.

  1. Dissolution

15.1      The Association may be dissolved:

15.1.1               by a resolution passed under rule 8.2; or

15.1.2               by a resolution of the Committee if the number of Members is less than ten for a period of not less than six months.

15.2      The dissolution shall take effect from the day when the resolution is passed and the Committee shall be responsible for the winding up of the assets and liabilities of the Association.

15.3      If any property remains after the discharge of all debts and liabilities of the Association it shall be distributed to those that contributed to the association, pro rata to their contribution.

 Appendix i

Hansard 23rd June 2014

Column 77

Tom Brake speaking for the government in the House of Commons

The Government acknowledge that for householders, farmers and others, an intrusive footpath can have a substantial impact on their quality of life or on their ability to run a business. We understand that while this is not a widespread problem, where it occurs it can cause severe difficulties, and in a significant number of cases people have been put through years of considerable inconvenience and stress…..

Column 78

We very much sympathise with people’s genuine concerns about the problems that can arise from footpaths running through private gardens and farmyards and recognise that we need to find an acceptable solution………

Moreover, the right to apply will be supplemented by guidance that will effectively act as a presumption to divert or extinguish public rights of way that pass through the gardens of family homes, working farmyards or commercial premises where privacy, safety or security are a problem.

Appendix ii

Hansard 23rd March 2016

Column 2495

Baroness Williams speaking for the government in the House of Lords

There is clear agreement among the stakeholders on the working group that developed the package of reform that the major difficulty for landowners is in getting local authorities to make a diversion or extinguishment order in the first place. Our plans to implement the right to apply for such orders will overcome this. The right to apply will enable a landowner to make a formal application for the diversion or extinguishment of a public right of way. With that will come the right to appeal to the Secretary of State if the authority rejects the application or fails to act on it. Therefore, local authorities will no longer be able to ignore requests or dismiss them out of hand. They will be obliged either to make an order or to be prepared to justify their reasons for not doing so on appeal to the Secretary of State.

The provisions in the Deregulation Act allow the right to apply to be extended to land-use types other than agriculture, forestry and the keeping of horses— for example, private residential gardens. The right to apply will be supplemented by guidance that will effectively act as a presumption to divert or extinguish public rights of way that pass through the gardens of family homes, working farmyards or commercial premises where privacy, safety or security are a problem

Column 2496

The guidance will give authorities more scope to confirm orders made in the interests of the landowner in circumstances where a right of way may cause hardship because it goes through the garden of a family home, a working farmyard, or other commercial premises.

There is no intention to water down the guidance, which was deposited in the House Library during the passage of the Deregulation Act. Defra officials continue to work with the stakeholder working group and the Intrusive Footpaths Campaign to finalise the drafting.

I am happy to reaffirm the commitment made by the previous Government that we will review, within two years of implementation of the reforms package, how effective the right-to-apply provisions and the accompanying guidance have proved to be. The review will send a message to authorities that the Government are determined that the new policy should work and that if guidance does not bring about sufficient changes, we will consider the introduction of further measures.