Kirklees position on green lanes in the Holme Valley has under gone a “road to Damascus” type conversion since last Monday. In late February Kirklees reopened a number of closed lanes and put out a “Come and trash our countryside” sign to the 4×4 brigade. Earlier this week the Head of Highways at Kirklees was advising locals and walkers not to be so sensitive about 4x4s wrecking the Kirklees Way or Holme Valley Circular Walk. Photo above shows 2 vehicles on the Kirklees Way which may or may not have public vehicular rights. There’s not much of it left anyway.
However, there has been a huge public outcry from residents and non motorised users of these lanes. The 3 ward councillors now appear to be working together on the issue and following meetings this week have advised that TRO’s will be placed on the lanes.
This is positive news but early days and much remains unclear at present. Kirklees have a poor record in this area and messed up big time with Ramsden Road Lets hope they’ve learnt from that expensive debacle and proceed with a degree of professionalism & competence that’s previously been absent.
The snow, frost and rain of the past days has claimed a popular path on the Holme Valley Riverside Way just before the campsite at Brockholes. A couple of trees have slipped into the River Holme taking a section of path with them. There have been previous landslips at this location over the years and putting this right looks tricky.
Report it to firstname.lastname@example.org Holmfirth Footpath 31/10.
While the public are now denied the use of Cartworth Moor Road for the harmless activity of wandering about it remains open for HGV’s and these monsters.
Truth be told the closure seems to be more of an arse covering exercise from our hapless council to protect it against public liability claims. The road closed sign has disappeared at one end and if you join the road off one of the many linking paths there’s nothing to alert you to the closure.
The good news is that todays Strategic Planning Committee turned down the application to increase HGV use of Cartworth Moor Road and the expansion of Windy Hill Quarry.
The bad news is that Kirklees have closed Cartworth Moor Road to the public until August 2023. The reason for the closure is public safety. HGV’s can continue to use the road ! So legal use of the road is banned but HGV use in breach of planning can continue for now.
So the Highway Authority with legal obligations to both maintain and prevent obstruction of the public highway has managed to close Holmfirth Bridleway 94 for a year and now closes Cartworth Moor Road for at least 6 months. The quarry operator responsible for the damage continues with business as usual.
Rather than stop an illegal operation of the quarry in a timely fashion Kirklees have again been spectators until it is to late to effectively protect the public highway.
Planning are taking enforcement action but it’s 18 months behind time.
Back in October 2020 PathWatch reported on the complete destruction of Meltham Bridleway 50. Kirklees and the Peak District National Park as Highway and Planning Authorities bestowed those responsible with the usual largess. Between them they managed to turn a blind eye for over 2 years.
When pushed Kirklees still preferred not to take the enforcement action required but allowed the responsible party time to submit a planning application to the Peak Park. This, supposedly, will sort things out and the landowners will get a vehicular road over the bridleway as a bonus.
Kirklees have made assurances that the bridleway will be reinstated by the end of June 2023 but this looks increasingly unlikely given the pit falls of the planning process.
The planning application is now live for public comment. This is the only opportunity to influence reinstatement of the bridleway and make it more bridleway less road.
There’s seemingly nothing our hapless council won’t do to assist the destruction of the local environment and in particular public rights of way and green lanes.
Previously on PathWatch we reported on the closure of Cheesegate Nab Side, Scar Hole Lane and Scaly Gate. Three popular lanes used and abused by 4x4s. The lanes were closed for “repairs” which have never been carried out. The sub text here was that the lanes were closed closed. You know a bit like going “out out”. So a permanent closure to follow the temporary ones was expected and committed to by Kirklees.
Yesterday council vehicles came up from Honley depot and went around all the lanes to remove the concrete blocks and reopen the routes to 4x4s. Clearly there has been a challenge to Kirklees use of temporary closure orders. Rather than using the closure period to place Public Space Protection Orders on the lanes to ban 4x4s Kirklees have again cocked up in fine fashion. The mistakes are so entrenched in this organisation that it is not fit for purpose.
The Ramsden Road debacle has been recreated just a few miles away by the same set of hopeless bureaucrats.
The removal of these closures is causing a lot of anger and frustration locally and of course brand new damage is already being caused to the lanes. There are various fairy tales coming out of Kirklees in an attempt to explain away the issue but in the next few days PathWatch will publish council emails that clearly undermine the duplicity on show.
If you care at all about these lanes and quiet enjoyment of the countryside please politely express your views to ward Councillors email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
In the meantime here are some images of new damage to the lanes by vehicles. Enjoy! This is what your council tax is paying for.
Previously on PathWatch we bemoaned the lack of an objection from Kirklees Prow to the increase in HGV movements on Cartworth Moor Road. Since that report there has been a change of heart and a very good objection to the proposal has now been put in by the Prow Unit. The objection can be seen here . This seems to have been as a result of public pressure and reports about the current damage to the road and conflict between HGVs and non motorised users. It’s very welcome!
First the good news. 4 new gates have been fitted to Ramsden Road and the Yateholme Lanes to stop 4×4 vehicles. The not so good news is that at the moment they are all unlocked. This is Kirklees, so everything is done in the most expensive and inefficient way.
The gates have cost £44K and have been put in ahead of any closure order. This, despite the fact that Kirklees knew they had money for the gates (which had to be spent by March 2023) back in the middle of 2022. Why a PSPO could not have been put in place to coincide with the gates going in is a mystery. So we have a cart before the horse situation for now.
For the record Kirklees have now spent £71K on Ramsden Road and the Yateholme Lanes since 2018. This will be a considerable under estimate as it does not include costs of the failed PSPO or the many officer hours spent on the case. The routes are in a considerably worse condition now than in 2018. A great example of how not to manage byways and unmade roads.
PathWatch will update you when they get things the right way around.
Previously on PathWatch we’ve highlighted the destruction of Holmfirth Bridleway 94 which a year later still remains closed for “repairs” and also the retrospectiveplanning application to increase HGV moments to 30 (previously 8 then 16) a day on Cartworth Moor Road. Cartworth Moor Road is unmade in character and it’s main use is recreational by cyclists, riders and walkers. It’s part of the Kirklees Way and Holme Valley Circular Walk. A lovely place to watch and listen to Curlew and Lapwing in the spring.
The Planning Application will result in Holmfirth BW 94 no longer being used as access to Windy Ridge Quarry but this is meaningless as the HGV traffic is and will continue to cause the same problems for walkers, riders and cyclists on Cartworth Moor Road.
The road has been badly damaged already by vehicles and what was once a lovely quiet walk in the countryside is now becoming unusable and hazardous to non motorised users. That the Prow Unit are unable to articulate this in an objection is extremely disappointing.
The final paragraph of the Prow Units comments show what anyone who cares about good quality green access for the public is up against. “Basically, chuck some road plannings down, make a couple of passing places and let vulnerable users take their chances. Bollocks to the countryside while we’re at it”
The PROW team shares the concerns raised by the British Horse Society (BHS) regarding the increased number of HGV movement above that currently (from 16 to 30), including the potential impact on the surface of this route and the potential for conflict between vulnerable users and vehicular traffic. However, we stop short of objecting to this increase should the suggested passing places and other surface improvement be carried out.
Kirklees should be doing everything it can in this case to protect the greenbelt and the public’s enjoyment and safety on this lovely old road.
PathWatch is delighted to announce the launch of a new scheme to waymark every path in Kirklees with recycled budget class waymarkers.
Our bargin basement bureaucrats have signed a deal with Poundland, Huddersfield for an exclusive 10 pack of marker pens direct from the stores super cheap stationary department.
Strategic Director of Felt Tips at Kirklees , Mr. Parker Jotter-Biro told PathWath “This is an exciting new partnership with a leading private sector player and a massive vote of confidence in terms of our plans as an administration to waymark Kirklees rights of way. It shows that we are prudent, we are visionary, we are ambitious, but at the same time we are very careful in how we manage taxpayers money as we’ve only spent a pound!
The Prime Minister of Kirklees, Councillor Pandor, added “Pounland is a big name and it just shows the kind of investors we are attracting into Kirklees. It’s amazing that we’re going to get this up and running by 2024.”