Kirklees position on green lanes in the Holme Valley has under gone a “road to Damascus” type conversion since last Monday. In late February Kirklees reopened a number of closed lanes and put out a “Come and trash our countryside” sign to the 4×4 brigade. Earlier this week the Head of Highways at Kirklees was advising locals and walkers not to be so sensitive about 4x4s wrecking the Kirklees Way or Holme Valley Circular Walk. Photo above shows 2 vehicles on the Kirklees Way which may or may not have public vehicular rights. There’s not much of it left anyway.
However, there has been a huge public outcry from residents and non motorised users of these lanes. The 3 ward councillors now appear to be working together on the issue and following meetings this week have advised that TRO’s will be placed on the lanes.
This is positive news but early days and much remains unclear at present. Kirklees have a poor record in this area and messed up big time with Ramsden Road Lets hope they’ve learnt from that expensive debacle and proceed with a degree of professionalism & competence that’s previously been absent.
There’s seemingly nothing our hapless council won’t do to assist the destruction of the local environment and in particular public rights of way and green lanes.
Previously on PathWatch we reported on the closure of Cheesegate Nab Side, Scar Hole Lane and Scaly Gate. Three popular lanes used and abused by 4x4s. The lanes were closed for “repairs” which have never been carried out. The sub text here was that the lanes were closed closed. You know a bit like going “out out”. So a permanent closure to follow the temporary ones was expected and committed to by Kirklees.
Yesterday council vehicles came up from Honley depot and went around all the lanes to remove the concrete blocks and reopen the routes to 4x4s. Clearly there has been a challenge to Kirklees use of temporary closure orders. Rather than using the closure period to place Public Space Protection Orders on the lanes to ban 4x4s Kirklees have again cocked up in fine fashion. The mistakes are so entrenched in this organisation that it is not fit for purpose.
The Ramsden Road debacle has been recreated just a few miles away by the same set of hopeless bureaucrats.
The removal of these closures is causing a lot of anger and frustration locally and of course brand new damage is already being caused to the lanes. There are various fairy tales coming out of Kirklees in an attempt to explain away the issue but in the next few days PathWatch will publish council emails that clearly undermine the duplicity on show.
If you care at all about these lanes and quiet enjoyment of the countryside please politely express your views to ward Councillors firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime here are some images of new damage to the lanes by vehicles. Enjoy! This is what your council tax is paying for.
And so it was told in the Book Of Big Excuses 14:22-33 (and that council email the other day) “Behold Rambler, Scar End Lane,New Mill. The great sea of Neglect rises forth each winter. Do not be afraid. It has been a long walk into the night. Fear not the storms. For it is maintained in character only. But have ye faith. For we will not repair it. Nor will you be forgiven your trespass into the next field. Step forth and come to me. Walk on the water.
Somewhere in the hierarchy of local authority highways records there are hidden highways. Between those highways considered “fully adopted”and on the Street Register and the bum fluff of highways known as “public rights of way” shown on the Definitive Map lie mongrel and unloved public roads.
These poor creatures are often tucked away on a tatty card index and in most of West Yorkshire referred to as “maintained in character only”. More often than not they are old roads which when everything else was black topped were not considered important enough. Accordingly they have been left to decay for nearly 70 odd years.
Any self respecting highways engineer would deem such routes as beneath their pay grade. Public rights of way officers would be delighted it is not their problem. And so you have the perfect storm of not giving a toss.
Depending on your point of view the Holme Valley is blessed or cursed with a good number of these routes. They are invaluable to walkers but suffer the twin scourge of Council neglect and heavy 4×4 usage.
Scar Hole Lane near Hepworth is one such example. A washed out, potholed and cratered old road it has wonderful views for anyone brave enough to venture along it on foot.
Kirklees are in the usual muddle over a request for maintenance on the road. They state it is “maintained in character only” as a reason to do nothing. This is a meaningless phrase as all highways are maintained in character. The M62 is “maintained in character” as a motorway for instance.
Scar Hole Lane is a publicly maintainable highway “maintained in character” as an unsealed all purpose highway. At present it is “maintained in character” as a large lunar crater through the summer and deep inland sea through the winter. By any standards it is way out of repair and in need of some TLC.