More Off Road Chaos In Kirklees.

Live scenes from the middle of nowhere.

Kirklees have received a claim for an unrecorded Byway following an incident on the moors above Holmfirth. Emergency services were called when a large vehicle became stuck in one of the areas notorious peat bogs.

To the surprise of his would be rescuers the driver claimed to be enjoying an ancient pack horse route across the Pennines. The driver, a foreign national from the small Kirklees protectorate of Heckmondwike (like the Caymen islands but shit), insisted on continuing his journey in the hoof steps of pack horse ponies across the misty moors. “My 42 ton wagon does no more damage than walkers or horses because it has tyres” he said. “I’ve every right to be stuck here” he continued.

Kirklees have now commissioned external consultants at a cost of £289488529 per minute to investigate the drivers seemingly preposterous claims. A spokesperson from the council said “we treat all rights of way users equally, whether they drive polluting, damaging vehicles or just enjoy a quiet walk without bothering anybody. This approach has been very successful on Ramsden Road especially for vehicles!”

Heckmondwike
Caymen Islands

Popular 4×4 Routes Closed Around Holmfirth.

Scaly Gate.

A swath of “green lanes” in the Holme Valley have recently been closed to 4x4s by Kirklees. The 3 closures are on a popular circuit for damaging 4×4 vehicles but this Bank Holiday Monday all is quiet. Scaly Gate, Cheese Gate Nabside and Scar End Lane are now physically blocked off and have temporary closure orders placed on them.

It is hoped that these closures will become permanent and that they will be shortly extended to cover Ramsden Road and the Yateholme Lanes. This is a positive development for the area and those that enjoy non motorised use of the lanes or live nearby. It seems Kirklees are at last acknowledging the damage and nuisance caused by 4x4s and are now prepared to do something. 🙂

Kirklees Councillors Can Be Recycled From Today

From today Kirklees residents can recycle unwanted local politicians in the green bins. Councillor Mather, Cabinet Member for the Environment said “This new service marks a big milestone in our aim to make Kirklees a pioneer in green practices that help sustain the environment. Many local politicians contribute to global warming by their unsustainable emissions and they can hang around in the environment for decades causing irritation and annoyance to ratepayers. From today they can be popped in any green bin in Kirklees and made into something useful. We will no longer be holding any local elections as we anticipate a 100% recycling rate.”

National Weed Appreciation Day

Social Media

Did you miss it? Yes, Monday was National Weed Appreciation Day! This unhelpful Kirklees tweet (above) used the opportunity to get green fingered residents to sign up and put their weeds in brown bins to be taken away. This seems to fall well short of appreciating weeds but should be expected from a council that has a £258K Weed Killing Services Contract

All the weed killing service actually does is turn green flowering plants which support wildlife into dead brown plants alongside paths and roads. The public then ring up to complain about them!

Kirklees Tourism Strategy

Kirklees are currently running a survey on their 3 year Tourism Strategy. It’s an odd questionnaire and from a PathWatch perspective predictably disappointing as it doesn’t mention one of Kirklees finest assets – it’s countryside.

Most residents of Kirklees can’t just go out and buy a George Hotel like Cllr Pandor but access to the countryside is free and the rights of way network links the towns to this asset. How could these links be improved? How can we encourage more residents and visitors into the countryside and the benefits associated with it?

As readers of this blog may suspect management of countryside access in Kirklees is chaotic at best. So residents will drive elsewhere and visitors will steer clear. Both groups miss out on some fine walking,cycling and riding as a result.

If nothing else it’s worth doing the survey for question 11. Describe Kirklees in 3 words! Do keep it polite 🙂

SBS In Action – 4×4 Seized On Local Lane.

The elite SBS (like the SAS but for bridleways) have been in action in the Holmfirth area seizing an illegal 4×4 with only their bare hands and elderly pit ponies from Barnsley.

Sgnt. Harvey “Blunty” Smith who leads the crack squad told us “We were the only squad with the capability to operate in this weeks 300 mph winds. Equipped as we are in all weather leotards we sent out our heaviest officer PC Enormous Haystacks on his two pit ponies. PC Haystacks grappled the 4×4 onto our break down truck and it was job done. The two pit ponies did blow away but were found the next day in a shed near Marsden”.

Sub Committee Highlights

Kirklees HQ

An occasional PathWatch column from our special political correspondent Doris Kunsberg-Bottom of the Heckmondwike Courier.

A fairly quiet Huddersfield Planning Sub Committee this month with only one minor rights of way issue. Item no.7 was introduced by the Chair and ex coal carrying champion Cllr Terry Lyons with a rather tart ” I think we’ve discussed this more than enough”. The item relates to Holmfirth 60 at Wolfstones and the proposed verge improvements which were always the reddest of red herrings in the diversion proposal. Kirklees won’t be taking up the applicants offer to tart up the verge after all. Incredibly this was an “emergency decision” taken by the council’s Strategic Director, Colin Parr. The Courier were hoping to do a “day in the life of a Kirklees Strategic Director” but there wasn’t enough material.

The main item on the agenda were the “improvements” to Holmfirth town centre which involve the demolition of Holmfirth Market Hall and construction of a car park and small public area in it’s place. A fair swap?

The original proposals would have turned the whole of Holmfirth into an inner ring road for Plevin wagons but such was the level of objection these were shelved. Relieved at saving the town centre the public have perhaps taken their eye off the ball and accepted a shoddy proposal without too much scrutiny.

Local shopper Shirley Spendthrift who loves a bargain told the Courier “The market hall has been deliberately run down by Kirklees who’ve been happy to see a once thriving building die. All the easier to get rid of it when the time came. That time is now. As a sop they’ve granted a market licence to a third party, surely knowing an outdoor market here will never succeed, and have agreed to modify the plans so that volunteers can fish shopping trolleys from the river more easily and …er …yes that’s it!”

The courier also spoke to Kevin McCloud a well respected architect who told us. “There’s no need for more parking or cars in Holmfirth. The market hall could have been replaced with something smaller and designed as an attraction like the crook barn at Penistone market. Along with complimentary public space and real riverside access this could have formed an attractive and lively public area. The lack of imagination and aspiration here speaks for itself.”

The real highlight of the sub committee meeting was local ward councillor Donald Firth who rang in from the middle ages to object to the proposal, talk about rats, ducks, people he didn’t know and insult several members of the public who had spoken very eloquently in favour of the proposal. In one of the wonders of the modern world 7,000 people voted to re elect him to Kirklees Council last year. You might well say Holmfirth only has itself to blame.

Councillor Nigel Patrick played a minor cameo. As ever typecast as a sinister Victorian mill owner he warned of economic catastrophe and large scale unemployment should the supply of baps to the bakers and Daily Mails to the newsagents be disrupted by having to cross the road.

One thing that really struck me is that if Kirklees can’t run a market in Holmfirth at a cost of £15k a year how is it going to manage a hotel in Huddersfield where the bill is already at £11 million? Doris Kunsberg-Bottom, Political Correspondent, Heckmondwike Courier.

Environment Bill & 4×4’s.

An interesting amendment from the pressure group Gleam to the Environment Bill.

Proposed amendment Section 7, Environmental Improvement Plan.
To assist in informing the Environmental Improvement Plan, the Secretary of State will carry out a public consultation on whether driving a motor vehicle for recreational purposes on unsealed tracks in the countryside, in particular in protected landscapes, should continue to be permitted.

Explanation of amendment.

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 protected footpaths and bridleways from use and damage by recreational motor vehicles but it left unprotected a further 3000 miles of countryside tracks. These are the nation’s green lanes. They are being used and damaged by 4x4s, motor bikes and quad bikes being driven for recreational purposes. This amendment is the first step in closing the loophole in the NERC Act which is permitting environmental damage being done to green lanes. The amendment does not
bring into question the rights of landowners or residents, the drivers of essential motor vehicles or people with disabilities who use mobility scooters.

The amendment was introduced by Lord Bradshaw.

My Lords, the stated purpose of the Environment Bill is to improve the natural environment and the 2019 Glover review of the national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty that called for radical change in the way we protect our landscape. The review stressed the need for us to take urgent steps to recover and enhance nature. One thing that is causing damage to the natural environment and to our fragile and precious landscapes is that 4×4 vehicles, motorbikes and quad bikes are allowed to be driven for purely recreational purposes on unsealed tracks all over the countryside, including in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The only reason this is allowed to happen is because the law as it stands states that a countryside track, whatever it may be, which has been used in the past by horsedrawn carts, carries a right of way for any kind of modern motor vehicle.

Parliament attempted to deal with this problem in 2006 in the passage of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act. It put a stop to the historic use of horsedrawn carts, giving rise to the use of cars and motorbikes on footpaths and bridleways, but it left unprotected over 3,000 miles of other tracks in the countryside that have no right of way classification. These are the country’s green lanes. They are all open to use and abuse by recreational motor vehicles, and as a result, great damage is being done, even on the high fells. The amendment I will seek to table does not ask for an immediate change in the law, and if passed, it would require the Secretary of State to return to the business that was left unfinished by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act and to carry out a public consultation on whether the loophole left behind by that Act should be closed.

Good luck!

Path Signs In The Snow.

Holmfirth 68. Went missing in the first lockdown but now reunited with it’s path.
Holmfirth 112 gets a pasting from the north.
Holmfirth 68. A box top beauty from the 1950’s
Holmfirth 105. All aboard for Cartworth Moor.
Holmfirth 177. This way to the best path in the valley?
Holmfirth 178. This was regular “turn arounder”
Holmfirth 165. Winter wonderland sign at Cartworth.
Holmfirth 108. Free tractor.
Holmfirth 95. Wot’s not to like.
Colne Valley 92. An honorary entry from over the hill. Nice too.