Further to Ramsden Road – Public Space Protection Order? it’s worth highlighting the guidance from the Local Government Association which sensibly suggests to local authorities that “it is useful for local areas to seek early contact with interest groups when scoping their proposals, to help identify how best to approach a particular issue, before the formal statutory consultation takes place” Sensible guidance indeed.
The legislation is all about putting the victim first too. So you might reasonably expect a local authority would involve those affected by the anti social behaviour and get their views to help form the solution. In the case of Ramsden Road and the Yateholme Lanes that would be local residents,farmers, fishing club,shoot, walkers, cyclists,riders, parish council and the dreaded off roaders.
Things are different here in this corner of West Yorkshire. Kremlin Kirklees claims to have consulted “key stakeholders” but despite being asked on several occasions it has declined to identify who those “key stakeholders” are. It certainly doesn’t include local residents in the area whose lives are blighted by 4×4 drivers. It doesn’t include walking groups or equestrian groups who Kremlin Kirklees have point blank refused to provide any information to. Kremlin Kirklees have been asked if any national organisations representing 4×4 drivers have been involved in the process. They haven’t answered.
Kremlin Kirklees will miss a lot of good and possibly alternative ideas of dealing with Ramsden Road and the Yateholme Lanes (like a TRO. Ed) but lets face it they don’t want to know.
The PathWatch theory is as follows. Kremlin Kirklees already have a done deal with an as yet unidentified 4×4 users group to close Ramsden Road and the Yateholme Lanes to motor vehicles. The pay off for the as yet unidentified 4×4 user group is that their paid up members retain access via a key or access code system. Kremlin Kirklees is not really acting in the public interest in this theory and needs a PSPO to facilitate some continued 4×4 use of the lanes rather than solving the many problems these vehicles create once and for all.
Is this a good deal for Kirklees rate payers who would still be liable to pay for the damage these vehicles cause? In effect the lanes would be open to 4×4 users on a private members club basis with the public picking up the tab. A Traffic Regulation Order banning all public motor vehicle use would be far more effective. It would remove all the vehicle related anti social behaviour, remove all the vehicular damage (which is extensive) and it would restore the amenity value of the area for residents and non motorised users. A PSPO may have some effect on a proportion of anti social behaviour around vehicles. Far less effective than a full TRO.
PathWatch may be wrong but in the absence of Kremlin Kirklees actually explaining anything this seems a good working theory and explains the councils blanket ban on sharing information. Time will tell comrades.