At yesterdays Heavy Woolen Planning Sub Committee members gave authority for an order to divert a short 17 metres of Batley 20. The effect of the order would turn the short section of path into an elongated marble run of ramps and steps totaling some 355 metres.
The order relates to a planning permission to construct a footbridge over the railway line so that the current manned level crossing can be closed. The matter received little scrutiny in terms of the length and inconvenience created by the proposals and was passed unanimously with councilors fully supporting the Network Rail proposals over the interests of the many people who regularly use this path.
Councillor Steve Hall was in good form and expressed his view on the proposal as “I don’t see any reason to spend to much time debating it”.
Kirklees will now make the order to divert Batley Footpath 20 which will be advertised and objections or comments can be made at that time. The council will forward the order to the Secretary of State should objections be made but will not argue for confirmation at any public inquiry. That will be Network rails job.
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.
Batley isn’t perhaps the first town in the borough you might go looking for a rural idyll but Lady Ann Crossing on Batley Footpath 20 is a bit of the Railway Children hanging on in the 21st century. Question is, for how much longer?
At the moment the signal box is staffed and path users can cross when it’s safe to do so. The signaler unlocks the gates and waves you through. A near perfect way to cross a live railway line. However, the fat controller wants to remove the current level crossing and staff as part of plans to “upgrade” the line which involve electrification and more trains.
There is currently a planning application for the works associated with removing the crossing and building a footbridge over the line which involves the rather fanciful diversion of Batley 20. See plan below.
The diversion proposal involves turning a straight forward 17m walk over the crossing into a convoluted marble run of 255m via steps or 355m via ramps. The inconvenience speaks for itself here and requires little further illumination.
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