Reprint of letter from WIM to Groundwork Merton, from 1991, showing that nothing is new!
20 July 2003
Proposed Groundwork Merton Wandle Trail map
Further to our meeting on 11 Feb this year, I have been asked by the committee to write to you about copyright and other legal issues. We are most concerned that the legal aspects have not yet been dealt with.
As you know, copyright in the Wandle Trail map belongs to us. It is most concerning, therefore, that Groundwork have permitted the creation and publication of a website - www.wandletrail.org.uk which acknowledges neither the history of the trail, its historical and industrial relevance, or even our connection as originators. It was even worse to learn of the creation of this site, after the event, from an article in a local magazine that none of us actually receive. Given our discussion in February, when we believed you had committed yourself and Groundwork to keep us in the loop, this was very disappointing.
May I ask that, as a matter of urgency, you ask the site managers to insert these matters on its home page, and a link to the electronic version of the existing Wandle Trail map, on our website.
Nothing in this letter should be taken as committing us to permitting the use of ‘the Wandle Trail' as a name, either for your site, your project, or any map you produce, pending resolution of outstanding issues.
Your website also prejudges the cycle usability of the trail by use of the bicycle icon in its header. For the reasons I set out below, I believe this to be dangerous for all of us, until all appropriate procedures and protocols have been observed.
In this respect, when we met Aitar Llodio, almost 4 years ago, to discuss these proposals, I raised the following questions:
Is there any legal right for bicyclists to use all or any part of the Wandle Trail? Rights of way on foot do not automatically permit bicycle use. Prolonged use by walkers does not even guarantee a legal right of way.
Has the permission of the relevant landowners been sought? If we upset them, aggrieved landowners may even block up the route.
Have those landowners been advised of their occupiers liability and their future obligation to keep the trail in proper state and condition, at their own expense?
Has the vicarious liability of the promoters of the scheme been considered?
Is there insurance in place to cover these risks?
6. Where is the legal advice as to the warnings to be included within the map to minimise these risks? 7. Has there been a proper Health and Safety Risk Assessment?
I believe that the Museum, and the various landowners, as well as yourselves and the various local authorities involved, are all at considerable financial risk if this project is not thought through, and provision made for its future.
The only approach I can see as practical at present is for Groundwork and its associates to be licensed formally by us to use the copyright, against stringent indemnity terms, backed by appropriate local authority guarantees.
The likelihood is that we will have to abandon the Wandle Trail map, one of our long term income earners, because we will be unable to promote a walking route which has become inherently dangerous for walkers, without being liable for the ensuing accidents.
This being so, the license should provide for a fixed annual fee equivalent to the lost earnings.
In conclusion, I think it essential a further meeting is scheduled with us, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Vice Chair Wandle Industrial Museum