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.
Kirklees planners are recommending refusal of the retrospective planning application to increase HGV moments on Cartworth Moor Road. The case goes to the Strategic Planning Committee on March 2nd. The report can be read here from page 67. This good news but likely only the start of appeals and enforcement action which may go on for months/years.
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!
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.
The new application would result in some 30 HGV’s a day accessing the quarry via Cartworth Moor Road. This road is unmade and a very popular walking, cycling and riding route through greenbelt land. Kirklees did not consider non motorised users of Bridleway 94 and Cartworth Moor Road last time around with predictable results of damage and conflict.
Comments on the application can be made here up to the 13th December 2022.
Previously on PathWatch we reported on the Sub Prime diversion proposals for Spen 24. PathWatch described the proposal as a “dogs dinner that you probably wouldn’t want to walk down”. In more considered terms a Kirklees officer describes the proposal thus “The attached proposal for Spenborough 24 doesn’t look great at first sight.The affected path forms part of the Spen Valley Heritage Trail and is of particular local interest and standing”. This a correct view of the proposal and tagging on a bit of bridleway and a link to the Greenway does not mitigate the mess about to be made of this rightly popular footpath.
Local authorities have often conflicting responsibilities between development and protecting countryside access. However in this case the agreed local plan was for a much smaller development at this site which would have had less of an effect on Spen 24. Why has that changed?
Our glorious leader and sometime hotelier Councillor Pandor was involved in controversy over allegations that a consultation by the developer was delayed until after the 2021 local elections. Coincidentally, an election that Councillor Pandor was standing in ! The scandal was reported in the Dewsbury Reporter and the Rotton Boroughs section of Private Eye.
At the present time Kirklees Council have undertaken a preliminary consultation on the diversion which ended on 28th July 2022. It was pointed out to Kirklees that carrying out such a consultation looked a bit dodgy as there was no approved planning permission affecting the path. Some 4 months later and the consultation looks very iffy as the Planning Application has been reopened for consultation until 5th December 2022 due to new documents/changes to the proposals. See here.
In effect the public have been asked to comment on a proposed diversion some 4 months before all the proposals materially affecting the footpath have been received and considered by the local authority. Great if you have a crystal ball but otherwise a situation that fundamentally undermines the process. Is this the way Kirklees officers now work? Is there some political interference here? Where is that smell coming from?
The public may be taken for fools by our council but the applicants are treated very well. The small and understaffed Prow Unit who deal with diversion applications have put in a huge amount of work to move the application forward. All free of charge of course! (Well not to the public) This FOI release shows just how much work has been done to date . No wonder there are no resources for Definitive Map work!
Please visit Save Our Spen for full information and how to object before 5th December
Previously on PathWatch we reported on the diversion order at the Morrisson’s site in Meltham. Following an objection to the order the applicant has agreed to widen and surface the section of Footpath 79 from Station Road to the store. This section is part of the Meltham Greenway and carries permissive cycling rights. It will now be 2.7m wide, the same as the original path.
The bulldozers have now moved on to Holmfirth Footpath 31 in connection with an approved planning permission for housing. Footpath 31 has always been popular with locals and is also part of the Holme Valley Riverside Way. The fields it crosses were some of the last remaining undeveloped green spaces along Woodhead Road. Although the land has long been earmarked for development it was used for silage until fairly recently and Barn Owls have hunted over the ground during recent winters. It’s always sad to see public access,wildlife habitat and local character disappear in this way.
Footpath 31 is currently temporarily closed while there are works on site. It will reopen as a tarmac path along side the housing estate and with a road crossing it. A shadow of its former self.