Calderdale Capers

Proposed Extinguishment of Halifax Bridleway 483

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.

The developement which this s257 application is complete.

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.

PUBLIC FOOTPATH DIVERSION ORDER HIGHWAYS ACT 1980 KIRKLEES COUNCIL (MELTHAM PUBLIC FOOTPATH 26 (PART) AND MEL THAM PUBLIC FOOTPATH 79 (PART) AT WM MORRISON STORE, STATION STREET, MELTHAM) PUBLIC PATH DIVERSION ORDER 2022

The paths as they were in 1926.

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.

Aerial photo from 2000 and the paths have gone:-)

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

Footpaths 26 & 79 will be diverted onto these steps.

Batley Footpath 20 Lady Ann Crossing.

Lady Ann Crossing

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.

Calderdale On Naughty Step As Bridleways Built Over.

Halifax Bridleways 486 & 487 from Calderdales Online Prow Map.

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.

Holmfirth Footpath 60 Public Inquiry Adjourned Until 2022

Holmfirth FP 60

The Public Inquiry into the proposed diversion of Holmfirth Footpath 60 at Wolfstones has been adjourned until 2022. The inquiry sat for 4 days last week but ran out of time. Don’t ask.

Once the inquiry is complete the inspector will make a decision one way or the other on the s247 order. So Footpath 60 awaits it’s fate. Lets hope it fares better than Geronimo the alpaca…

Holmfirth Footpath 135. Another Good Diversion Proposal.

Holmfirth Footpath 135

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

Holmfirth Footpath 60 Wolfstones s247

Holmfirth Footpath 60

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.

Kirklees To Make Modification Order Increasing Width of Holmfirth 60 from 1.2m to 4m

Slimline version of Holmfirth 60

At the Huddersfield Planning Sub Committee on 21 April 2021 councillors voted in favour of making a modification order to the Definitive Map & Statement. The effect of the order, if confirmed, will change the width of Footpath 60 from 1.2m to between 3m and 4m.

The application came about as a result of Footpath 60 being significantly narrowed from the historical (but unrecorded) used width of 3m to 4m down to the 1.2m recorded in the current Statement. The image above illustrates the situation.

The officer report contains a useful summary and explanation of the evidence. In short there is much contemporary user evidence for the greater width which is supported by historical documents from the Inclosure Awards of 1829, successive Ordnance Survey editions, aerial photographs and today’s Google maps. The decision can be viewed here

This case is also the first public appearance of the West Riding Memo which was used to demonstrate the deliberate under recording of path widths by the local authority 70 years ago.

As so often happens with Kirklees a cock up was waiting around the corner to make things a little more interesting. As one of the links to the live streamed committee meeting didn’t work the matter will return to a future committee for reaffirmation.

Cleckheaton Path Proposals

Stopping Up & Creation Proposals, kenmore View, Cleckheaton.

The above plan shows a development site off Kenmore View, Cleckheaton. For the development to go ahead the public paths shown by solid black lines will be closed and the rather less direct dashed lines will be newly created paths. The consultation plan looks something like an entry into the Turner prize in this context. The Google screenshot below gives a little more focus showing the green nature of the site deep in the urban jungle of Cleckheaton. The bulldozers have already been there by the look of it.

Last of the Cleckheaton rain forest

An area of green space containing informal paths is priceless in an area like this. The many local objections and claims to have these paths put on the Definitive Map give an indication of local feelings. Sadly, it looks like the direct original paths will be swept away before ever being recorded to be replaced by those meandering dashes going nowhere around buildings.

Links to the plan and reason statement are below. Details of the proposal should be on the council’s website here