Sub Committee Highlights Featuring Denby Dale FP 82 Extinguishment.

Councillor Steve Hall in good form.

Councillor Steve Hall got to be Chair of the Sub Committee for the day and brought his own no nonsense common sense approach to proceedings.

Councillors were falling over each other to approve the extinguishment of Denby Dale 82. Steve Hall led the way by saying “It looked pretty straight forward”.

Councillor Firth asked if the applicants had ever though of opening a cafe as they’d have a path straight to it. Comedy gold.

No reports were put before the sub committee from the Prow list of definitive map modification order applications There are 248 applications on the list. The number 1 priority case was received by Kirklees in 1993. There are also some 16 directions from the Secretary of State which set a deadline for determination. None of these were put before the committee.

Kirklees uses the well worn “lack of resources” excuse to both the public and Secretary of State for the lack of any meaningful progress on the 248 outstanding applications. Odd that it has resources for an extinguishment then?

Cllr Eric Firth

Planning Applications Affecting Prows In Kirklees

This one had no planning permission!

Kirklees publish a weekly list of planning applications affecting public rights of way. They are required to do this under the Town & Country Planning (Development Control Procedure) (England) Order 2015 Notice Under Article 15. Often the effects of these applications on prows is fairly minor and at other times it can be the end of a lovely well used rural or semi rural path. This procedure is the public’s opportunity to comment. PathWatch will endeavour to share the list on a regular basis. Have a look, there may be a path you use on here. Commenting is free and who knows they might take it on board.

This weeks paths are as follows. Huddersfield FP 390 Birkby Hall Road. Huddersfield FP 298 Bull Green Road. Huddersfield FP 62 Dalton Bank Road. Holmfirth FP 139 Butt Lane,Hepworth. Huddersfield FP 343 New North Road. Denby Dale FP 61 Cliff Hill (Major development). Dewsbury FP 107 Heckmondwike Road. Spen 41,44,46 Hunsworth Lane. Batley FP 37 Hanging Heaton. Mirfield FP 12 Northorp Lane.

No Bull – Thanks Kirklees

Re homed to a field without a footpath

Previously on PathWatch we reported on a lone bull in a field crossed by Colne Valley Footpath 102. Having no female company the bulls presence was contrary to section 59 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

The issue has been dealt with swiftly and effectively by Kirklees and the bull moved to a field without public access. Thanks to the council for this 🙂

Denby Dale Footpath 82 Extinguishment Given Priority Over 248 Outstanding DMMO claims :-)

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.

A new low has been reached.

Colne Valley Footpath 102 – Progress.

Progress 🙂

The fence obstruction across Colne Valley Footpath 102 had been there so long it had been waymarked!

Alas, this quirky bit of countryside furniture is no more. The obstruction has been removed and replaced with an easy to use gate.

It has taken a stream of emails and threats of notices to shift Kirklees into action but act they have. Thank you.

This path seems to suffer a lot of abuse. The new gate is but a few metres away from the infamous ladder stile which took a similar level of voluntary effort to spur the authorities into action.

The bull is also on this path in the next field. So do shut the gate if it’s not breathing down your neck 🙂

Beware Of The Bull!

It’s true to say that “Beware of the Bull” signs out number actual bulls in the English countryside. A surprise then to come across a bull in a field without any signs or the legally required female company.

Instead of Tinder bulls have section 59 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which requires them to have female company (cows/heifers) with them in any field crossed by a public right of way.

The bull may benefit from section 59 but the real reason for this clause is to protect ramblers from bulls. As well as cows and heifers bulls must be over 2 years old and not a dairy breed. The combination of age,females and being a beef breed usually keeps an equilibrium between bull/rambler. Rambers can enjoy a walk. Bulls can enjoy the female company.

At the time of writing there is a beef bull alone in a field crossed by Colne Valley Public Footpaths 102 and 103 at Grid Reference SE 074 151. Footpath 102 is part of the Colne Valley Circular Walk and we’re just into the school holidays.

Footpath 102 has featured on PathWatch before with the problem ladder stile.

Kirklees are aware of the bull.

Batley Footpath 5 – How Not To Get An Obstruction Removed.

Locked Gate On Batley 5

Back in 2014 half a dozen members of the public reported locked gate obstructions on Batley Footpath 5. Some 8 years later and these obstructions remain in place. This is despite Kirklees Council serving s143 notices on the landowners responsible for the obstructions in 2018! Yes, you read that right 2018. We’re all for giving people plenty of time to remove obstructions but four years and counting?

For the record here are the notices

The notices were obtained via a freedom of information request which Kirklees refused to answer for some 6 months. Legally,they should respond within 20 working days! It was only after the Information Commissioners Office became involved that the full sad tale of Batley 5 became apparent.

For whatever reasons the internal mechanisms within Kirklees which should kick in when a member of the public reports an obstruction do not seem to work (really?Ed).

Issues of enforcement are dealt with by a separate department from Prow and work is duplicated. Prow officers visit the site several times and this is repeated by enforcement officers when the matter is passed over for “enforcement action”. Some 6 Kirklees officers, 2 landowners, 1 Leeds officer, 1 third party solicitor, and 1 Highways Agency officer have been involved in the case. Land searches have been carried out, research into past side road orders which affect the path has been undertaken and extensive liaison with the neighboring authority of Leeds. The public of course pick up the substantial tab for all this.

The 4 obstructions are still there.

There is no overall management of enforcement cases and it seems all to easy for cases like this to disappear .

The council will now have to start the process again and incur some of the same costs a second time over.

Meltham Bridleway 50 Update.

Back in 2020 PathWatch reported briefly on some dodgy doings to the surface of Meltham Bridleway 50. In short the lovely and rightly popular bridleway had been dug up and poorly reinstated with large sized aggregate. Lots of users from all groups reported the matter as it was happening.

The Peak Park who are the planning authority visited the site and concluded that planning permission was needed for the works. Nothing has been heard from them since. Kirklees visited and did manage to halt any further work. That was the peak of their activity and interest.

So almost 2 years later and nothing has been done to put this bridleway back into a usable condition for the public to enjoy . Regular readers will recognise the pattern here. It goes like this. Damage or obstruction to a public right of way. Flurry of complaints from the public. Visits from numerous council staff (and in this case the national park). Then nothing.

PathWatch will be back in 2 years with a further update. Probably a cut and paste job.

Sub Prime Diversion Proposal For Spen 24

The long winded diversion.

Kirklees are currently consulting on the proposed diversion of Spen Footpath 24 in relation to this planning application. The planning application (for a rather large Amazon distribution centre) has yet to be approved. Kirklees are advertising this consultation under s257 of the Town & Country Planning Act. This section is for orders where a planning application has been approved. In fact orders for diversions ahead of full planning permissions being granted ought to be under s257 (1A). The impression this consultation gives is that the development is approved and it is not. Details of the consultation should be here

Needless to say it’s a dog’s dinner and something you’d probably never want to walk down. For further information the Save Our Spen is a must visit.