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.
Previously on PathWatch we reported on Kirklees buying some 500 new Footpath signs . These signs are now being put up across the district and they are very noticeable on the many poles which have been missing signs for some time. Plans are also being made to erect new poles and signs. Paths need to be visible so this is good news indeed.
Front line staff operate in difficult conditions.This work will be appreciated by many users. Thank you 🙂
The old box top Public Footpath sign and pole at the start of Holmfirth Footpath 66 has been half inched this week. These signs are some of the originals from the 1950’s and 60’s. Part and parcel of West Yorkshire paths. Shame someone would nick it 😦
Holme Valley Parish Council have been involved for several years in an attempt to improve the Ramsden Road area for residents and users who are suffering from 4×4 misuse. Kirklees appear to be largely ignoring the genuine approach by the Parish Council. So much so that the council has felt it necessary to write a letter asking if there is anybody there at Kirklees.
The item is on the Parish Council agenda for 31st October and is copied and pasted below. It will be interesting to see if a response is received from the “other side”, so to speak.
Planning Committee Meeting – 31/10/2022 Page 4 of 5 v. Ramsden Road
As reported previously, Cllr Wilson wrote 26 August 2022 to Will Acornley who is the Kirklees Director overseeing the implementation of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) and the physical installation of barriers. Cllr Wilson received no response. Hence, 14 October 2022 he wrote to the Kirklees Chief Executive, Jacqui Gedman; Kirklees Strategic Director, Colin Parr; and Kirklees Service Director, Julie Muscroft to ask if Will Acornley was still in post and to ask for an update. At the time of this agenda being posted, Cllr Wilson had yet to receive a reply. Cllr Wilson to report. To consider any further actions at this time.
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.
PathWatch can reveal a new status of public right of way has evolved in the petri dish of cock ups that is Kirklees Council. The new status is known as “Relief Bridleway”. The Frankenstein status has come about through a rogue planning condition subsequently discharged by planning officers.
The resulting horror (pictured above) has led to the tarmacking of the legal bridleway.The “relief bridleway” is crudely stitched on like an ill fitting, unusable limb. Neither creation is particularly attractive or user friendly.
Previously on PathWatch we featured the dreadful damage to Holmfirth Bridleway 94 at Windy Hill quarry (here and here )
The bridleway was shut in early August with an emergency closure order which was subsequently extended with a 6 months closure to allow for reinstatement works. The observant reader will notice that the closure doesn’t apply to cyclists!
Although the bridleway is still closed it is possible to see works to reinstate the route from the road below and it looks encouraging. Hopefully the bridleway will soon be reopened for public use.
This case has been dealt with by the council’s “Complex Enforcement Officer” who seems to have access to a wider range of council resources than either Prow or “normal” enforcement staff.
Whilst things do look encouraging it’s best not to count any eggs or even assume the hens are laying with Kirklees but PathWatch lives in hope.