Previously on PathWatch we reported on the Sub Prime diversion proposals for Spen 24. PathWatch described the proposal as a “dogs dinner that you probably wouldn’t want to walk down”. In more considered terms a Kirklees officer describes the proposal thus “The attached proposal for Spenborough 24 doesn’t look great at first sight.The affected path forms part of the Spen Valley Heritage Trail and is of particular local interest and standing”. This a correct view of the proposal and tagging on a bit of bridleway and a link to the Greenway does not mitigate the mess about to be made of this rightly popular footpath.
Local authorities have often conflicting responsibilities between development and protecting countryside access. However in this case the agreed local plan was for a much smaller development at this site which would have had less of an effect on Spen 24. Why has that changed?
Our glorious leader and sometime hotelier Councillor Pandor was involved in controversy over allegations that a consultation by the developer was delayed until after the 2021 local elections. Coincidentally, an election that Councillor Pandor was standing in ! The scandal was reported in the Dewsbury Reporter and the Rotton Boroughs section of Private Eye.
At the present time Kirklees Council have undertaken a preliminary consultation on the diversion which ended on 28th July 2022. It was pointed out to Kirklees that carrying out such a consultation looked a bit dodgy as there was no approved planning permission affecting the path. Some 4 months later and the consultation looks very iffy as the Planning Application has been reopened for consultation until 5th December 2022 due to new documents/changes to the proposals. See here.
In effect the public have been asked to comment on a proposed diversion some 4 months before all the proposals materially affecting the footpath have been received and considered by the local authority. Great if you have a crystal ball but otherwise a situation that fundamentally undermines the process. Is this the way Kirklees officers now work? Is there some political interference here? Where is that smell coming from?
The public may be taken for fools by our council but the applicants are treated very well. The small and understaffed Prow Unit who deal with diversion applications have put in a huge amount of work to move the application forward. All free of charge of course! (Well not to the public) This FOI release shows just how much work has been done to date . No wonder there are no resources for Definitive Map work!
Please visit Save Our Spen for full information and how to object before 5th December
Previously on PathWatch we reported on the diversion order at the Morrisson’s site in Meltham. Following an objection to the order the applicant has agreed to widen and surface the section of Footpath 79 from Station Road to the store. This section is part of the Meltham Greenway and carries permissive cycling rights. It will now be 2.7m wide, the same as the original path.
Currently Kirklees Council has 248 outstanding claims for modifications to the Definitive Map & Statement. Some 16 of these claims are subject to directions from the Secretary of State to get on with it (Kirklees largely ignore these directions). Kirklees has a legal duty to keep the Definitive Map up to date and is very much struggling to do so.
The number one case on the Priority List is a claim for a Footpath at Kilpin Hill, Heckmondwike. The claim was received in 1993! There are several claims from 1988! (The extinguishment order began life in 2021 for comparison)
Throughout 2021 and 2022 not one historical case from the Priority List has been put before either the Huddersfield Planning Sub Committee or the Heavy Woolen Planning Sub Committee.
How then does our beloved council have the officer time and resources to carry out a consultation and subsequently put a report to the Heavy Woolen Sub Committee (page 61) recommending making of an order to extinguish Denby Dale Footpath 82? Presumably the council also have resources available for a public inquiry too?
In the context of the amount of outstanding DMMO claims going back to the 1980’s, this report and recommendation is perverse and goes against the public interest. How can an extinguishment application take precedence over both the councils statutory duty to keep the definitive map up to date and the growing backlog of directions from the Secretary of State? I think we should be told.
Resources for definitive map work in Kirklees are not even the bare minimum to maintain the status quo let alone make headway on the 248 outstanding claims. Much of that resource appears to be tied up on diversions for developers with next to nothing going to committee which would reduce the outstanding claims.
Calderdale are currently advertising an informal consultation to extinguish Halifax Bridleway 483 under s257 of The Town & Country Planning Act 1990. Unfortunately for them the development at Maltings Road which they approved in 2006 is complete! Therefore this legislation should not be used. Back to the drawing board for them on this one then.
There’s some shoddy practice going on here in attempting to simply remove a bridleway which they themselves have allowed to be built over. This little area is a goldmine for this type of cock up.
Interestingly since this site was given planning permission in 2006 the adjacent green and wooded area has been identified as a potential development site. One can only wonder if the Bridleway extinguishment and this are related? Obviously, I think we should be told.
Kirklees are advertising a diversion order for Meltham Footpaths 26 & 79 at what is now the Morrisons store at Station Road, Meltham. This is the third attempt at diverting the two paths and is over 20 years on from an original Kirklees cock up. So, nicely matured but not in a good way.
The site was cleared by a developer in the late 1990’s. Kirklees granted a temporary closure for this work but looked the other way when the bridges carrying Footpaths 26 & 79 were removed along with all traces of the paths themselves. Kirklees continued to look the other way as planning permission for the store, carparks etc were fully implemented. Any complaints from the public about what was happening were ignored. Granting of the planning permission for this site did not give any legal authority for the removal of public footbridges and paths. This should have happened after a diversion order had been granted not before.
Of course development of the site has been both a great success and benefit to the area and of course both public footpaths needed to change to permit this. The question is why wasn’t this done to a high standard and with the public interest in mind 20 odd years ago?
The main issue with the diversion is that both footpaths 26 and 79 are being diverted onto an extensive flight of steps. In contrast both original paths negotiated this slope via footbridges and ramps in a much more direct manner. Footpath 79 is also diverted onto the Meltham Greenway which is shared with cyclists. The current width of Footpath 79 is 2.7 metres. The proposed new (shared) width is 2.5 metres. Arguably, these facts make the proposed new routes substantially less convenient than the original paths. You could have pushed a pram along either path in 1926 but not now in 2022.
In contrast Kirklees Council accepted in the case of Spenborough Footpath 110 (Spen Valley Leisure Centre) that a short flight of steps on the proposed diversion should be removed in favour of an improved gradient of not less than 1:12. Interestingly the council repeated the mistakes of the late 1990’s here by granting a temporary closure and then building on Spen 110. The diversion order has not yet been confirmed. Come back in 20 years 🙂 .
At a time when active travel is a priority it seems wrong to be making a barrier (the steps) on a traffic free route to a supermarket both legal and permanent which is what this order will do.
Any representations about or objections to the order may be sent or delivered in writing addressed to Harry Garland, Kirklees Council, Legal Services, PO Box 1720, Huddersfield, HD1 9EL no later than 29 April 2022. You should quote reference HG/D112-340 and state the grounds on which your objection/representation is made. Harry.Garland@kirklees.gov.uk
Previously on PathWatch we have reported on the rat run style diversion of Batley 20. The diversion is sought under s257 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 in connection with this planning application .
Both the planning application and diversion application were at the Heavy Woollen Sub Committee on 17th March. Both items were deferred after a long discussion which largely missed the point of the awful, indirect, long and inconvenient proposed new path. Instead Councillors seemed happy to be getting a few crumbs from Westminster and were keen to find out if West Yorkshire Police or British Transport Police would be responsible for the anticipated rise in crime on the purpose built diversion for crime and anti social behaviour. No one knew!
Not to worry. Councillors were also keen to get clarity on provision of lighting and cctv so that crime could be recorded rather than prevented. There was also a helpful suggestion to install a few barriers to slow the baddies down.Though that particular Councillor hadn’t thought that one through.
Once again the aspirations for people that live in the area and actually walk were spectacularly low.
Bridleways are like hens teeth in West Yorkshire. As multi user routes they are (theoretically) open to a much wider range of users. You might imagine they’d be protected or enhanced during the planning process. You would, of course, be wrong.
In a classic example of not paying any attention at all planners and highways officials at Calderdale have allowed 2 bridleways to have estate roads,footways,gardens,driveways and even a house built over them. The development (at Fountain Head Road) was granted planning permission in 2005 and there is little to show how public rights of way across the site, which also include a footpath, will be dealt with in the planning documents. Don’t forget public rights of way are(theoretically) a material consideration in the planning process.
There is mention of rights of way being a limitation and a plan showing the bridleways and footpath along with the development. Some 16 years later the plan more or less reflects where the houses and roads have been built over the rights of way. Presumably, the plan should have had the opposite effect?
These bridleways are now lost for ever but not because the developer has built over them. The local planning & highway authority, Calderdale Council, have failed to consider the bridleways as part of the 2005 planning process. Subsequent to this they have failed to prevent the stopping up of the bridleways by the development.
They are fully aware of what has happened at this site but the council’s shoddy performance continues in how it is now dealing with the obstructed footpath. More on this story later.
Another diversion proposal from Kirklees which tidies up a long standing issue on an intriguing little section of path. All of these old routes have an intrinsic value in themselves and it’s good to see this one being treated properly.
View the proposal here or on the Kirklees website . Comments are open until 2nd September 2021
The public Inquiry into the proposed stopping up and diversion of Holmfirth 60 takes place on 23rd of August. The Department of Transport publish documents relating to the inquiry here and it is regularly updated.
This process is funded by the taxpayer. So if you want to see what your money is spent on, are interested in the path or just can’t sleep, it’s worth a read.