Virgin Knackers.

Deceased stile.

A ladder stile on the popular Colne Valley Circular Walk has been out of repair for so long it has now largely decomposed in situ. A stark reminder of how seriously the council takes maintenance of public paths. This particular deceased stiles decline has been reported regularly over many years.

Perhaps there’s a role for private enterprise here in the form of a prow knacker man who could take fallen stiles and paths away for a small charge? Such a role would keep the countryside tidy and remove any signs of public access at the same time. Maybe Richard Branson could be persuaded to step in? “Virgin Knackers” has a certain ring to it…

Lack Of Maintenance Ramsden Road Drains

Lockdown haircut needed.

Previously on PathWatch we’ve highlighted the 2020 works to “repair” a flat section of Ramsden Road and install a lateral drain about 1000m long. The poorly specified works have never really worked effectively.

Culverts were built with nowhere for the water to go and the level of most of the road was left below the drains. The only spectacularly “successful” section was the drain left open to pour water down the hill. This has worked very effectively in causing an increased rate of erosion on the rest of the downhill surface. So, credit where it’s due on that one!

In the 14 months since the lateral drain was constructed large sections of it have predictably disappeared beneath new vegetation growth, rendering it pretty useless as a form of drainage.

There appears to be no plan in place to maintain the ยฃ15k drainage & surfacing paid for by the public. As ever the council appears to act like a forgetful goldfish constantly swimming around the same problems like it’s never seen them before….

Cheesgate Nab Side Closed To 4×4’s.

Cheesegate Nab Side

Previously on PathWatch we reported on the hammering the lovely Cheesegate Nab Side was getting from 4×4’s

As ever our hapless council brushed off the genuine concerns of residents and non motorised users with a nonchalant โ€œThis track leading up through Cheese Gate Nab has been in this exact same condition for 20+ years and has caused little to no issue over that period. An answer it took 2 years to think up!

However some doughty public campaigners and a local councillor who was up for re election last May seem to have got the bureaucratic oil tanker to turn course.

PathWatch has been aware of a potential Temporary Closure of the route for some time and last week we received reports of concrete blocks and road closed signs been put in place ๐Ÿ™‚

Although we’ve not had sight of the legal order closing the route it all looks very promising and shows the power of e mails and councillors up for re election.

The closure is made under the guise of needing to “carry out repairs” but Cheesegate Nab Side will likely never be subject to 4×4’s use ever again. The temporary closure can be extended almost indefinitely or be followed by a full TRO or a pound shop PSCO.

Whilst not the beginning of the end for 4×4’s in the valley it could well be the beginning of the beginning of the end as Mr Churchill might say.

Of course this all rather begs the question, why not do the same on Ramsden Road?

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.

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 .

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 ? )

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.

Planning Inspectorate Direct Kirklees To Determine 2 Bridleway Claims.

Buttercup,the PathWatch Cow. Trigger was unavailable.

The Planning Inspectorate has recently intervened in its official Alan “Fluff” Freeman Pick of the Paths role to instruct Kirklees to determine 2 outstanding bridleway claims.

One of the claims has been in the Kirklees charts for over 25 years. It currently sits at no.3 in the Pick of the Paths Priority matrix just ahead of Paul McCartney’s dirge “Mull of Kintyre”. Rather generously, Fluff has given Kirklees a further 18 months to determine this application. So that’ll be 26 and a half years in the hit parade of inaction. This direction is for a bridleway at Moor Lane .

The second pick of the paths lies outside the Top Hundred in the miss parade at number 116. Only charting in 2017 this hit has been picked from obscurity by Fluff who has given a mere 12 months for the council to sort it out. Bit of inconsistency here from Fluff the Inspectorates top Picker of Paths or maybe the Hairy Cornflake was standing in ?

Tune in next week to see if Heckmondwike’s finest Robyn Lane can be knocked off the top spot after charting for an incredible 28 years ๐Ÿ™‚