Must have been a slow day for news in Huddersfield as the “story” of the Holmfirth Cricket Club public right of way hit the headlines in the local rag .
The cricket club’s “rights of way consultant” is quoted by the Examiner saying “incidents of vandalism and risk of encampment by travellers had prompted the move” to close the footpath. Along with a perceived health & safety risk from the foundary.
There is no explanation as to how an inert public footpath is responsible for acts of vandalism. I’d suggest people are by and large responsible for such acts not public footpaths. The site can be accessed from a variety of locations including Bridge Lane and Huddersfield Road so logic would suggest closing these public highways during the night too if they are similarly inclined to carry out random acts of tagging in the night.
Criminals of course will use any means of access to do their anti social activities. Whether the public right of way here is closed or open will make no difference and it is no justification for denying legitimate public access.
The “risk of encampment by travellers” seems a pretty desperate justification for closing the path. As someone who lived overlooking the cricket ground for nearly 20 years I can vouch for the fact that the area is a quiet backwater and not one regularly invaded by the travelling community who tend to favour council owned land.
Who knows what the motivation of the car driver taking a trip across the wicket was but such things are rare, isolated incidents rather than the norm. That issue could easily be prevented from ever happening again by putting up a short barrier between the pitch and carpark.
And the foundary? Well it seems odd to justify closing a public right of way on a night by using a business that is open in the daytime as a reason.
So it really is a storm in a teacup to some degree. But then again you have to wonder why the club would go to the trouble of employing a “rights of way” consultant , causing friction with locals and to a degree damaging the clubs standing in the community by it’s actions in attempting to close the path?
There is a lot of speculation locally about this site not least because the club were seemingly willing to sell up back in 2014
Now generally speaking a site with a public right of way present can be problematic to a developer but a site with a permissive path is a pushover because that permission can be withdrawn at any time.