Meltham Bridleway 68 & other hard to see rights of way.

CastleHill (1 of 1)

Another example of rights of way being invisible by applicants in the planning process. Application number 2017/92986 is for a farm workers dwelling, access for which is along Meltham Bridleway 68.

Public rights of way are a material consideration in the planning process yet the professional agents who have drawn up this application state that access is “Private”. Odd that as it takes all of 30 seconds on the internet to find that the status of Deer Hill End Lane is in fact a public bridleway. The agents ought to have had a bit more work to do in considering how to deal with the bridleway in the context of the planning application. Instead it’s just not mentioned.

There’s an opportunity here for our cash strapped council to think creatively and secure some “planning gain” in terms of new and better signage of the bridleway and also some signage to make drivers aware of the bridleway and horses crossing on both Blackmoorfoot Road and Slaithwaite Road. These sort of improvements are perfectly reasonable but difficult to achieve when applicants “ignore” rights of way and planners have a tendency to overlook such detail as it’s all too much trouble.

This rights of way invisibility is a common occurrence in the planning process and has been evident in several applications recently in the Colne Valley and Huddersfield. One particularly amusing  application  is to replace some (illegal) gates on a public footpath with wrought iron electric gates. Again an application drawn up by a professional company but no mention what so ever that the gates would obstruct Huddersfield Footpath 433. To add further irony Kirklees Highways (the highway authority  for Footpath 433) consider the proposal “acceptable from a highways point of view”. Comedy gold unless of course you want to walk the footpath or begin to untangle the mess created.

An application affecting over half a mile of Colne Valley Footpath 188 (called an “access track” by the applicant’s professional) receives a cursory standard footnote from Kirklees despite the application stating the track (Footpath 188) will be improved. A missed opportunity in these austere times to improve things for the public or at least to make sure things are not made worse!

Carr Farm Gates Holmfirth 71 (1 of 1)
Acceptable from a Highways point of view.

 

 

 

 

Battle of the green fields – Scholes

sign (1 of 1)
Footpath off Cross Lane Scholes

Kirklees planners and councillors reached a new low at the Planning Sub Committee (Huddersfield Area) on 31st August 2017 approving a development of some 39 homes at a greenfield site at Scholes in the Holme Valley.

The attitude of councillors and planners towards local residents genuine concerns and their ignorance of the value of green public open spaces for public health and well being caught my eye.

This is another case of sharp suited wolves picking off green space aided and abetted not just by the council’s planning policy vacuum  but by turning a blind eye to a further nearby  greenfield site where some 140 houses could be built. Only a fool would consider the effects of the two sites separately.

The webcast of the meeting is revealing. Chair Cllr Terry Lyons is in a very grumpy mood and votes in support of the proposal. It will be interesting to see how Cllr Lyons votes when a similar proposal affecting a greenfield site and a public footpath in his own backyard comes up before the committee.

In contrast to the reasonable,articulate and well made arguments of  local residents members of the committee seemed slightly annoyed and disinterested, voting predictably along tribal party lines instead of the details and merits or otherwise of the application. Sadly this is how it works in Kirklees. Typical labour councillors from Batley or Dewsbury do not have a grasp on the public value of green spaces or rights of way.

Tellingly one Labour councillor dismisses the value of green space completely saying “I do think we’re getting to a stage where we’re paying more attention to public open space than we are to bigger issues such as highways issues.What I would say is put  money where it’s really needed in highways”  The highways referred to are of course the ones gridlocked with cars rather than the footways,cycle lanes ,footpaths and bridleways which the council is also responsible for but routinely ignores.This attitude infects the council,it’s management,officers and decision making processes.

It’s staggering that a councillor could be so dismissive of public open space where children,parents and grandparents can spend quality car free, healthy time together. Over half the population in Kirklees is obese yet the committee puts £140k of developers money into roads rather than green space or public rights of way which offer an alternative to the epidemic of inactivity costing the country so much.

The council should be looking to improve the green infrastructure and with it public health at every opportunity rather than continually pouring money into roads. £140k would enable a lot of basic maintenance works to be undertaken on the Council’s neglected public rights of way network. Such an idea seems beyond the imagination of planning officers or councillors. Instead this money will  fill in a few hundred potholes or a few nights winter gritting.

 

There’s an account of the meeting in the Examiner

The webcast of the meeting is here

 

Bartin & Greave Planning Update 2

Bartin (1 of 1)
Bartin

These applications are not now to be considered by the Peak planning committee on 8th September.

There seems to be much going on behind the scenes. Keyland Developments Ltd (Yorkshire Water) have commissioned consultants to produce various reports on the structural,highway,archeological,heritage,birds and landscape effects of the proposals.

Credit to the Peak Park archeology, heritage and landscape sections  who argue against the proposals as they are going ahead. Kirklees Rights of Way Unit stand up for the bridleway very well making some good points and an objection. The reports from Keyland Developments and counterpoints from the peak park are worth a read (honestly). Find them here

The bird survey is fascinating and confirms what a rich environment this area is for the likes of Curlews,Lapwings, Woodcock,Snipe etc. Both Bartin and Greave have Little Owls nesting in them but there’s no sighting of either Ring Ouzel or Sandpiper which I’ve observed here each summer. The bird surveyor believes there will be little disturbance from vehicles associated with the developments as access is so bad residents would wish to avoid driving along the bridleway as much as possible! Ironic as the application states that access is fit for purpose!

There’s nothing in these reports about how the public value,connect and enjoy the landscape as it is now. And that’s the big question isn’t it? Just what is that worth?Not just to us now but to those future generations who may never get to experience the solitude and sense of history a walk up this valley offers.

The NHS is creaking with diseases caused by affluence and inactivity. Rather than trashing our countryside and national parks we should be helping people make a connection with the outdoors that takes them beyond the fridge and diabetes clinics.

There’s a groundswell of support locally against the proposals with many people hitting the keyboard and sending in objections. Good to see the landscape and bridleway is valued by those who live here and enjoy it.

Clearly the corporate wolves are circling and what seemed to be a poorly prepared attack on this beautiful valley is now becoming more organised. Perhaps if they can’t make a kill first time by gaining planning permission they will try and finish things off on appeal?

 

Bartin & Greave Planning Update 1

Bartin (1 of 1)
Bartin

The heather’s in bloom on Goodbent Moor and the old farmstead of Bartin is part of this beautiful landscape.

We’re told by the Peak Park planners that the applications (Bartin & Greaves Planning Applications) to “develop” the sites at Bartin and Greave Farms will now be decided at the Planning Committee in Bakewell on 8th September 2017.

Useful information should you wish to attend.

If a planning application is going to be considered by our planning committee, the authority’s public participation scheme allows anyone who requests to speak at the meeting to make their points directly to the people who make the decision (called the members).

You can ask a question, make a statement or hand in a petition on any item on the committee agenda. You will be allocated a time slot of three minutes and you may be asked questions about what you say.

You need to make a request by 12 noon two working days before the meeting by contacting Democratic Services by telephone on 01629 816 362 or 01629 816 382 or email democratic.services@peakdistrict.gov.uk.”

Bartin & Greave applications to be determined at Committee on 11th August

Bartin Greave 6 (1 of 1)
Bartin

The Bartin & Greaves Planning Applications for developing the two farmsteads which affect long stretches of Holmfirth Bridleways 69 and 189 will be determined by the Peak District National Park Planning Committee on 11th August 2017.

Members of the public can speak at planning committee and have 3 minutes to make a point! This is the process for attending as shown on the park’s website

If a planning application is going to be considered by our planning committee, the authority’s public participation scheme allows anyone who requests to speak at the meeting to make their points directly to the people who make the decision (called the members).

You can ask a question, make a statement or hand in a petition on any item on the committee agenda. You will be allocated a time slot of three minutes and you may be asked questions about what you say.

You need to make a request by 12 noon two working days before the meeting by contacting Democratic Services by telephone on 01629 816 362 or 01629 816 382 or email democratic.services@peakdistrict.gov.uk.”

The planning committee meets at Aldern House Baslow Road Bakewell Derbyshire DE45 1AE which makes it a bit of a day out from Holmfirth 🙂

The consultation period was extended for a month due to an “administrative error” which led to the required press adverts not being placed.

 

Greave & Bartin Consultation Extended

Bartin Greave 6 (1 of 1)
Bartin from Goodbent Lodge

Without any explanation the Peak District National Park has extended the consultation period for these planning applications to the 16th June 2017. The application numbers are NP/K/0317/ 0323 & 0324 & 0325 & 0326 and there is already a wealth of thoughtful comment which shows how this area and it’s public access is valued by walkers,cyclists,riders and conservationists. If you were going to comment but thought you’d missed the deadline do comment now via this link . Type in Bartin or Greave to get the applications.

Peak Planning Link

Pathwatch will be contacting the Peak Park to find out what is going on but it would have been helpful if the Park had put a simple explanation up with the applications. Most of us are not experts and it’s hard enough to get to grips with the process and ensure that comments are made in good time and are appropriate to the applications. It’s easy to get the feeling the authorities would rather not know what the public thinks.

Bartin & Greaves Planning Applications

This is the post excerpt.

Bartin Lane (1 of 1)
Holmfirth Bridleway 189. White Wells Road

I took this photo of a popular bridleway in the valley above Digley on a recent evening walk. The bridleway used to serve a number of small holdings which were bought up by the water authority and closed before the construction of Digley dam. Consequently the valley and it’s network of footpaths & bridleways, along with the surrounding landscape, have remained largely untouched by modern development and are pretty much traffic free. A rare and valuable thing these days.

On my next walk here a series of planning notices had been posted advising of applications to develop the ruined farmsteads at Greave and Bartin. Now the only access to these properties (which have not been occupied for over 70 years) are Holmfirth Bridleways 68 and 189. Bartin is over 2,300 metres from the road network along these unmade and narrow bridleways.

Bartin Greave 5 (1 of 1)
Bartin & the bridleway

I looked up the applications on the Peak Park Planning website and  read through the forms and supporting documentation and could find no reference at all to the fact that Bartin & Greave are accessed via 2,300 metres of public bridleway. It seemed quiet an oversight to me. Public rights of way are a material consideration in the planning process. So I e mailed the planning officer to ask why the bridleways had not been mentioned either in the application or on the Peak Parks Planning website and was told-

In relation to the impact upon the access, it is for the applicant to include whatever information they consider appropriate for consideration, and so I cannot answer your question regarding why more information has not been submitted in relation to this.

Helpful? Not really is it?

Radicalised by this bureaucratic  indifference I fired off my simple concerns ie that the bridleways could not withstand an intensification in vehicular traffic,that such an intensification would lead to conflict with other users and that in a traffic free valley the character of the bridleways and the publics enjoyment of them would be damaged by introducing the car.

I know this is all really dull stuff but what’s at stake here is a wonderful unspoilt area of traffic free countryside.

Notices (1 of 1)
Notices at Greaves

View and comment before 11 May 2017 at https://pam.peakdistrict.gov.uk/

Application numbers NP/K/0317/0323 & 0324 & 0325 & 0326

Bartin Greave 6 (1 of 1)
Bartin from Goodbent Lodge
Bartin Greave 9 (1 of 1).jpg
Greaves Farm