Holmfirth FP 146 At Lower Millshaw. Planning Inspectorate Confirm Diversion Order.

Holmfirth 146 a few days after planning permission was granted.

Don’t panic. This is definitely a case of ramblers living happily ever after. We have of course been put through the usual ordeal of trial by planning permissions, obstruction, excavation and comedy gates but FP 146 has survived!

In fact it has a new life as a field path away from the old farm and on a much more rambler friendly line with gates! Think of these diversions as a witness protection scheme for footpaths and you get the gist.

Following the resolution of objections to the order and corrections to errors in the order the Planning Inspectorate has now confirmed the new route. All the details from our chap at the Ministry .

4×4 News Round Up

An occasional series of snippets and comment on the mismanagement of byways & unsealed roads in Kirklees.

Previously on PathWatch we reported that Kirklees were taking the proposed permit scheme for Ramsden Road in house. This has now been confirmed in the updated omnishambles “consultation” information on the website. In a nutshell the council have chucked the cost of a couple of footbridges at a barrister to tell them something they already knew and then decided not to do it anyway! Fascinating how money is always available for this kind of thing isn’t it?

The real side splitter in the updates is this –

Why we did not initially make the full information available online, and have not withdrawn the order

There was a technical glitch that meant the full information was not available for some of the period of the consultation. Once this was recognised the order was re-advertised in the press and the full information was online, with the consultation period extended to ensure the full 21 days was available to comment.

That’s a rather generous way of describing the mother of all consultation cock ups! Ironically PathWatch was the only place the full info was available in the original consultation time period. The person at Kirklees who can upload of PDF’s to to the internet was perhaps really busy at the time or had forgotten the password.

Quads are now to be permitted under the order.Everyone knows all members of the public who use them off road are really responsible, like motorbike riders.

The Council proceeds to drive a coach and horses (see what I did there?) through it’s own arguments for making the order by saying –

Why we only show the routes and the points of access

The council has control of those areas. If somebody leaves that route they are then committing an offence, and any further damage or unauthorised access is a matter of criminal damage (if damage is caused) and trespass and is matter for the landowner and the Police.

The whole point of the PSPO was to tackle anti social behaviour in the form of off piste activity and dumping on adjacent land. If this order comes into force any vehicle indulging in off route activity cannot be issued with a fine under the terms of the PSPO. The police’s life would be made much easier if they could issue fines for off piste drivers under the terms of the order rather than prove criminal damage or have a landowner prove trespass. In other PSPO’s in Kirklees 3rd party land such as that of Yorkshire Water is included ie the bbq ban.

The order is useless in effect. So long as you have a permit to access the highways you can continue to drive off piste and not risk a fine. Motorbikes and quad bikes cannot be fined for off piste driving either. What’s the point?

There is no immediate prospect of the routes being repaired and it looks as if the PSPO will not come into force until 2022. Cocking up things to these degree can’t be rushed.

In other news the costs of an Experimental TRO on Castle Hill mount up with the installation of a lighting column and crash barriers. The Council have refused to disclose the costs of paying a security firm to open/close the gate daily for 18 months. Their first excuse was the “costs are being absorbed into an existing contract” but when asked to do better they came up with “disclosure is not in the public interest”. Aye, right. It must be around £40k by now? There are actually 5 PSPO’s in force on Castle Hill and one can only wonder just what anti social behaviour remains up there?

Lastly, it appears that Kirklees are about to place a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order on Cheesegate Nabside, banning 4×4’s. More on this in due course.

Holmfirth Footpath 73 Barbed Wire Removed.

Holmfirth 73 July 2020
Holmfirth 73 July 2021

It doesn’t look much but it represents 52 plus weeks of effort to get a nasty little 2 strand barbed wire fence removed from this delightful path. Don’t be fooled by the insulation over the wire, this was a real arse ripper.

However, it is now gone thanks to Kirklees who have cleared it completely and also strimmed the remainder of the path to make it accessible and easy to follow. This obstruction appeared shortly after an older obstruction was removed last summer.

500 New Path Signs For Kirklees!

Path signs are a legal requirement where a path leaves the public road.

In a very positive move Kirklees Council have bought enough signs and poles to erect 500 footpath/bridleway signs across the district. These signs are vital in indicating the existence of public paths where they leave the public road. Their presence gives confidence to members of the public and encourages use.

Well done Kirklees!

(Now might be a good time to let kirklees know of any missing signs via highways.ross@kirklees.gov.uk ? )

Kirklees Make Modification Order Increasing Width Of Holmfirth 60 At Wolfstones.

Holmfirth Footpath 60

Kirklees Council have made an order to modify the Definitive Map & Statement in respect of Holmfirth Footpath 60. The order if, confirmed, would increase the width of the path to between 3 and 4 metres along the enclosed section of path off Wolfstones Road. This would reflect historical and contemporary use of the path by public users.

The order and associated documents can be viewed here

Good, Good, Good, Good Diversions.

Denby Dale 6 Proposed Diversion.

PathWatch is pickin’ up good vibrations from a couple of current proposed diversions which tidy up some long standing issues. Kirkburton 186 & 145 and Denby Dale 6 (missing from Kirklees Website ) both regularise the situation on the ground. If stile & step free, waymarked and with a decent surface these are good diversions.

Holmfirth Cricket Club Footpath

It just so happens that one of the most well used public rights of way in the Holme Valley, the path to Sands Rec via the Cricket Club, has never been recorded on the Definitive Map for Kirklees.

Following the routes obstruction a claim was made by members of the public and Kirklees made an order in 2018. Inevitable objections were made but PathWatch is pleased to report light at the end of the tunnel (or possibly an oncoming train? Ed).

The Planning Inspectorate will now decide the case via written representations. Here’s the bumf from our man at the Ministry

Kirklees To Run 4×4 Permit Scheme On Ramsden & Yateholme Lanes (?)

It’s taken Kirklees almost 4 months to answer a simple FOI relating to the proposed PSPO on Ramsden Road/Yateholme Lanes. The legal limit under legislation is 20 working days.

Answers contained in the FOI release seem to contradict the Council’s previously stated position that access to Ramsden Road/Yateholme Lanes “will be managed on the councils behalf”. The recent omnishambles of a public consultation led members of the public and the Parish Council to understand that a 4×4 representative group would undertake this role with only its members being eligible for a permit.

The Foi answers are as follows –

  1. Information on how members of the public can obtain a license to drive a vehicle in the exclusion area and what the cost of such a license will be.

A licence will be obtainable, free of charge, by contacting Kirklees Council. Information will appear on the website once it is made available.

.

  1. The costs to Kirklees Council of administering the license system and/or the costs to Kirklees Council of using a third party to administer the license system.

The cost is within the service and is not separately identifiable.

  1. Any correspondence or information held on negotiations with third parties in drawing up the licensing scheme.

The Scheme is in house.

Have the council moved away from a third party group with a few thousand members administering the scheme in favour of throwing the doors open to the 30 odd million registered vehicles in the UK and administering the permit scheme itself? I think we should be told.

Environment Bill & 4×4’s.

An interesting amendment from the pressure group Gleam to the Environment Bill.

Proposed amendment Section 7, Environmental Improvement Plan.
To assist in informing the Environmental Improvement Plan, the Secretary of State will carry out a public consultation on whether driving a motor vehicle for recreational purposes on unsealed tracks in the countryside, in particular in protected landscapes, should continue to be permitted.

Explanation of amendment.

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 protected footpaths and bridleways from use and damage by recreational motor vehicles but it left unprotected a further 3000 miles of countryside tracks. These are the nation’s green lanes. They are being used and damaged by 4x4s, motor bikes and quad bikes being driven for recreational purposes. This amendment is the first step in closing the loophole in the NERC Act which is permitting environmental damage being done to green lanes. The amendment does not
bring into question the rights of landowners or residents, the drivers of essential motor vehicles or people with disabilities who use mobility scooters.

The amendment was introduced by Lord Bradshaw.

My Lords, the stated purpose of the Environment Bill is to improve the natural environment and the 2019 Glover review of the national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty that called for radical change in the way we protect our landscape. The review stressed the need for us to take urgent steps to recover and enhance nature. One thing that is causing damage to the natural environment and to our fragile and precious landscapes is that 4×4 vehicles, motorbikes and quad bikes are allowed to be driven for purely recreational purposes on unsealed tracks all over the countryside, including in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The only reason this is allowed to happen is because the law as it stands states that a countryside track, whatever it may be, which has been used in the past by horsedrawn carts, carries a right of way for any kind of modern motor vehicle.

Parliament attempted to deal with this problem in 2006 in the passage of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act. It put a stop to the historic use of horsedrawn carts, giving rise to the use of cars and motorbikes on footpaths and bridleways, but it left unprotected over 3,000 miles of other tracks in the countryside that have no right of way classification. These are the country’s green lanes. They are all open to use and abuse by recreational motor vehicles, and as a result, great damage is being done, even on the high fells. The amendment I will seek to table does not ask for an immediate change in the law, and if passed, it would require the Secretary of State to return to the business that was left unfinished by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act and to carry out a public consultation on whether the loophole left behind by that Act should be closed.

Good luck!