A BAN on motorised vehicles using a track across a north Cotswold estate has been overturned following a High Court challenge.

The Trail Riders’ Fellowship (TRF) recently won its battle to lift the ban on the Far Longdon Track, which crosses the Compton Scorpion Estate between Stretton-on-Fosse and Ilmington.

Warwickshire County Council’s Stratford area committee slapped a traffic regulation order (TRO) on the E-class road last October, banning horse-drawn vehicles and motorised vehicles, such as 4WDs and trail motorbikes, using the route.

However, the TRF – a national rights of way group – issued a High Court challenge, leading to Warwickshire County Council settling out-of-court and agreeing to pay costs of £7,500.

The TRF said a bridge on the track was removed more than a decade ago, effectively closing the route to the public. It said that, following complaints, the county council agreed to reinstate the crossing for all classes of users, but the landowner Andrew Knight objected and applied for the TRO, which the county council approved.

TRF rights of way officer Robin Hickin said: “Councillors must understand from this case that they have to be seen to be doing their duty to protect rights of way for all users on all classes of highway in the face of pressure from special interest groups.

“Besides the settlement that has been made to us, the county council will have spent many thousands of pounds more on this case in internal and external costs, effectively supporting a landowner’s private interests against those of the tax-paying public.”

Warwickshire County Council spokesman Richard Harkin said: “The council completely refutes any allegation that it has acted in the interests of a private individual rather than the interests of the community. The public’s wishes were reflected in the 90 plus letters sent to the council by the community overwhelmingly in support of vehicles being banned from using it.”

Compton Scorpion estate manager Caroline Warren said: “We are sad this has happened – not for our estate but for the hundreds of local people from surrounding villages, unanimously supported by their councillors who voted.”