Kirklees have recently confirmed that they have identified suitable gates for Ramsden Road and the adjoining Yateholme lanes at a cost of £44K. There is budget for this which must be spent by the end of March 2023. The clear implication is that the botched Public Space Protection Order may be resuscitated around this time if a pulse can be found. Time will tell.
The council also say that agreement has been reached with Yorkshire Water regarding drainage off Ramsden Road onto Yorkshire Water land. Tellingly, there’s no mention or even a hint of a timescale for repairs in their latest missive.
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.
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!”
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. 🙂
Saturday morning saw a stolen and burnt out land rover left up on Ramsden Road. It was recovered quickly by the police and taken away. Credit to Kirklees for cleaning up the debris on the Monday morning.
Part of the consultation on the Glover Landscapes Review (questions 14 to 17) concern the possibility of additional restrictions on motor vehicle use on so called “green lanes”. Think of the atrocious damage to Ramsden Road and other local unsealed highways. The countryside would be a much better place with public motor vehicles legislated out of existence on these routes. The consultation provides a once in a lifetime chance to get across to the government the damage and nuisance these vehicles cause. The questions are cut and pasted below for information.
The survey itself is here Dead line 9th April 2022. You know what to do 🙂
14.Should we give National Park Authorities and the Broads Authority and local highway authorities additional powers to restrict recreational motor vehicle use on unsealed routes? YES/NO/UNSURE 15.For which reasons should National Park Authorities, the Broads Authority and local authorities exercise this power? • Environmental protection • Prevention of damage • Nuisance • Amenity • Other [PLEASE STATE] 16.Should we legislate to restrict the use of motor vehicles on unsealed unclassified roads for recreational use, subject to appropriate exemptions? Yes – everywhere/ Yes – in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty only/Yes – in National Parks only/No/Unsure 17.What exemptions do you think would be required to protect the rights and enjoyment of other users e.g., residents, businesses etc?
The decades long mismanagement of Ramsden Road continues apace into 2022. Kirklees committed to close the road to damaging 4×4 vehicles and to repair it in 2018. It cocked up the legal order (after spending £10 grand on it) and ran away. A year ago it came up with a quick and cheap fix in the form of a public space protection order to be implemented in Spring 2021. This order has not yet come into force, largely because Kirklees don’t know what they are doing and seemingly have no mechanism for making such orders .
Had the order now been in place no vehicles would be permitted at all on Ramsden Road throughout the winter months. As it is so called “responsible” laners continue to use the road in all weathers and seasons. Lets be honest here, anyone driving a vehicle or motorbike on Ramsden Road in it’s current condition is irresponsible and is actively contributing to the continued destruction of the road to the detriment of non motorised users, residents and the environment. Predictably, the damage continues at an alarming pace and the road is now beyond any simple cost effective repair.
Fun fact, byways were originally recorded on Definitive Maps as routes mostly used by the public for the purposes of footpaths and bridleways ie walking and riding. Although the status acknowledged historical vehicular rights this was not the main public usage and of course the convoys of modern 4×4 vehicles now afflicting such lanes was unforeseeable in 1949.
A safe prediction for 2022 is that Ramsden Road will be worse by the end of it. The year has already started off badly with the Ruts R Us brigade extending their off piste activities into a new area on Footpath 175 just above Tinker Well – a private water supply. Another safe bet is that Kirklees Council, the Highway Authority with a statutory duty to maintain the Road, will do nothing. Having more or less exchanged bodily fluids with Ruts R Us over the past 3 years their position is more knackered than Ramsden Road itself.
In addition to the new Ruts R Us off piste facility a fuel or oil leak has left a rainbow of filth washing down Ramsden Road. Attentive readers may recall that in addition to private water supplies in the area there are 2 public reservoirs below Ramsden Road into which run off from the road inevitably ends up. Quiet rightly, Yorkshire Water are requiring any repairs to the road include a sealed drainage system to ensure run off from the road cannot enter the public water supply as it can do now. That will be an incredible cost to the public to construct and maintain.
The only reason any of this happening is because Kirklees failed to follow the correct procedure when making an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order in 2018 which would have taken all public motor vehicles off Ramsden Road. This mistake has spawned a cock up pandemic without end.
Last Christmas Kirklees came up with the improbable wheeze of putting a Public Space Protection Order on Ramsden Road and the Yateholme Lanes. According to officers, senior directors and local Councillors it was a brilliant idea! It was cheap, fast and not subject to too much public scrutiny. In addition a public spirited 4×4 membership group were happy to manage very limited vehicular access costing the council nothing.
What could possibly go wrong?
Beyond the usual cock up variants that afflict kirklees a number of foreseeable plot obstacles seem to have scuppered things. The legislation which governs these orders is the Anti Social, Crime and Policing Act 2014. This legislation isn’t mentioned in the Kirklees scheme of delegation and therefore officers do not have authority to make such orders which is what the council was proposing. This was pointed out to the council at an early stage. They ignored it.Only very recently have Kirklees admited they have to carry out some “delegation of powers”. oh dear.
Interestingly anyone who has been fined under one of the many other PSPO’s in force in Kirklees may well be entitled to a refund if the orders have been made without proper authority.
The Green Lane Association were originally the group who were to administer limited vehicular access for their members. This has changed. The council will administer the 30 something vehicle permits a week but anyone of the 30 million registered UK vehicles can apply for a permit! Unsurprisingly no department within Kirklees has volunteered for this task. It’ll be a long wait.
The Council has balked at the cost of the 4 barriers required to close the lane but will not release the figure. The much smaller barrier on the Castle Hill Byway cost £20k. So you are probably looking at 2 years rights of way maintenance budget.
At best the PSPO looks like an unwanted Christmas present and at worst yet another cock up which has mutated to evade any degree of competence or professionalism.
Previously on PathWatch we’ve highlighted the 2020 works to “repair” a flat section of Ramsden Road and install a lateral drain about 1000m long. The poorly specified works have never really worked effectively.
Culverts were built with nowhere for the water to go and the level of most of the road was left below the drains. The only spectacularly “successful” section was the drain left open to pour water down the hill. This has worked very effectively in causing an increased rate of erosion on the rest of the downhill surface. So, credit where it’s due on that one!
In the 14 months since the lateral drain was constructed large sections of it have predictably disappeared beneath new vegetation growth, rendering it pretty useless as a form of drainage.
There appears to be no plan in place to maintain the £15k drainage & surfacing paid for by the public. As ever the council appears to act like a forgetful goldfish constantly swimming around the same problems like it’s never seen them before….
As ever our hapless council brushed off the genuine concerns of residents and non motorised users with a nonchalant “This track leading up through Cheese Gate Nab has been in this exact same condition for 20+ years and has caused little to no issue over that period. An answer it took 2 years to think up!
However some doughty public campaigners and a local councillor who was up for re election last May seem to have got the bureaucratic oil tanker to turn course.
PathWatch has been aware of a potential Temporary Closure of the route for some time and last week we received reports of concrete blocks and road closed signs been put in place 🙂
Although we’ve not had sight of the legal order closing the route it all looks very promising and shows the power of e mails and councillors up for re election.
The closure is made under the guise of needing to “carry out repairs” but Cheesegate Nab Side will likely never be subject to 4×4’s use ever again. The temporary closure can be extended almost indefinitely or be followed by a full TRO or a pound shop PSCO.
Whilst not the beginning of the end for 4×4’s in the valley it could well be the beginning of the beginning of the end as Mr Churchill might say.
Of course this all rather begs the question, why not do the same on Ramsden Road?