Kirklees Council has, via several sources, partly funded works on “Colne Valley Bridleway 197” at Eastergate on Marsden Moor. The work has involved laying of reclaimed flagstones to provide a new surface. The council has spent some £53k for materials on this scheme. The bulk of that cash, £45k came from the New Homes Bonus Fund but was approved by a council committee for this use. The remaining £8k came from the limited £55k Prow budget which is the annual revenue budget for rights of way maintenance across Kirklees. The report which led to approval for this expenditure can be read here CVBW197Rep4
The report refers the legal status of the way –
3.4 The legal status of the route remains unchanged. As Highway Authority,
maintenance of the existing surface of the route is the responsibility of the
Council. Maintenance responsibility for the new surfacing would remain with
the council. However, this type of surfacing has been shown to require very
The flags were laid out on site back in April 2019 and are shown in the photo above. However it should be pointed out that contrary to 3.4 in the report the flags and works have NOT been used on Colne Valley Bridleway 197 but on a “desire line” (shown in photo) some distance away from the legally recorded bridleway.
This raises a few interesting points. Firstly, why has our strapped for cash council spent £8k of a tiny rights of way revenue budget on something that it has no responsibility for? Although the New Homes Bonus Fund cash does not have to be spent on something publicly owned, why not direct that £45k and officer time at one of the many out of repair public paths in Kirklees? There’s plenty in the Colne Valley or what about Ramsden Road for instance? The new flagged bridleway is of course not publicly maintainable as stated in the report. So who is responsible for it? Similarly if a user damaged a bike or had an injury on this section how liable is Kirklees? Kirklees is of course very much liable for the real Colne Valley Bridleway 197 some distance to the north.
This is just the kind of future issue which will pop up when there’s a problem with the flags and no one can decide who should put it right. Once again Kirklees has conjured up a legal mudle where one didn’t previously exist.