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Reader’s letter: Flawed reasoning behind ford closure

The public has been given opportunity until March 4 to submit views on the decision by Nottinghamshire County Council to permanently close Rufford Ford to motorised vehicles.

Any such response relies on being able to review accurate and full information used by the authority in the assessment process.

Documentation provided in support of that proposal appears to be seriously flawed with numerous errors.


The documentation is misleading – not least in respect of the assertion by Cllr Neil Clarke that “our teams have thoroughly explored all the options”.

A very specific option has not been listed as one explored – that is the construction of an “Irish Ford”.

This method of carrying a highway over a stream is used throughout England and Wales.

The principle is to raise the road to a level which is above the normal flow/slight flood flow allowing the water to pass unhindered through a series of closely positioned culvert pipes.

This option would mean that for the majority of time the road surface would remain dry – thus removing the spectacle of vehicles causing the asserted “risk to public” and removing any social media image spectacle. Visually it would be compatible with the ‘historic’ context and location.

In time of a major flood the option then is to provide a metal swing gate (as used in Scotland to close roads due to snow) which would then prohibit use by motorised vehicles.

The existing pedestrian footway would remain available for pedestrian and cycle traffic.

The information given does not reveal that the property either side of the ford is owned by the county council but managed on behalf of the Authority by Parkwood Leisure Co UK thus meaning the authority has a material beneficial interest in the closure.

The Statement of Reasons refers to “recent events during Storm Babet – significant numbers of motor vehicles are crossing the ford in a reckless and unsafe manner”. Storm Babet was October 18-21, 2023. The ford was closed December 2022 for a period of 18 months. A social media post dated October 15, 2023, clearly shows the Ford is closed by substantial concrete blocks on each side.

A database showing Government recorded accidents shows that in the period 2003 to 2022 inclusive there were just eight road traffic accidents in the immediate location of the ford. It is noted the reported accident of the motorcyclist in October 2022 is not listed.

This Consultation should be recalled with immediate effect and a revised submission prepared with full and accurate information including information in respect of all Police actions against drivers who have been stopped. – R. FELL, Lowdham.

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