500 New Path Signs For Kirklees!

Path signs are a legal requirement where a path leaves the public road.

In a very positive move Kirklees Council have bought enough signs and poles to erect 500 footpath/bridleway signs across the district. These signs are vital in indicating the existence of public paths where they leave the public road. Their presence gives confidence to members of the public and encourages use.

Well done Kirklees!

(Now might be a good time to let kirklees know of any missing signs via highways.ross@kirklees.gov.uk ? )

Kirklees Make Modification Order Increasing Width Of Holmfirth 60 At Wolfstones.

Holmfirth Footpath 60

Kirklees Council have made an order to modify the Definitive Map & Statement in respect of Holmfirth Footpath 60. The order if, confirmed, would increase the width of the path to between 3 and 4 metres along the enclosed section of path off Wolfstones Road. This would reflect historical and contemporary use of the path by public users.

The order and associated documents can be viewed here

Good, Good, Good, Good Diversions.

Denby Dale 6 Proposed Diversion.

PathWatch is pickin’ up good vibrations from a couple of current proposed diversions which tidy up some long standing issues. Kirkburton 186 & 145 and Denby Dale 6 (missing from Kirklees Website ) both regularise the situation on the ground. If stile & step free, waymarked and with a decent surface these are good diversions.

Holmfirth Cricket Club Footpath

It just so happens that one of the most well used public rights of way in the Holme Valley, the path to Sands Rec via the Cricket Club, has never been recorded on the Definitive Map for Kirklees.

Following the routes obstruction a claim was made by members of the public and Kirklees made an order in 2018. Inevitable objections were made but PathWatch is pleased to report light at the end of the tunnel (or possibly an oncoming train? Ed).

The Planning Inspectorate will now decide the case via written representations. Here’s the bumf from our man at the Ministry

Kirklees To Run 4×4 Permit Scheme On Ramsden & Yateholme Lanes (?)

It’s taken Kirklees almost 4 months to answer a simple FOI relating to the proposed PSPO on Ramsden Road/Yateholme Lanes. The legal limit under legislation is 20 working days.

Answers contained in the FOI release seem to contradict the Council’s previously stated position that access to Ramsden Road/Yateholme Lanes “will be managed on the councils behalf”. The recent omnishambles of a public consultation led members of the public and the Parish Council to understand that a 4×4 representative group would undertake this role with only its members being eligible for a permit.

The Foi answers are as follows –

  1. Information on how members of the public can obtain a license to drive a vehicle in the exclusion area and what the cost of such a license will be.

A licence will be obtainable, free of charge, by contacting Kirklees Council. Information will appear on the website once it is made available.

.

  1. The costs to Kirklees Council of administering the license system and/or the costs to Kirklees Council of using a third party to administer the license system.

The cost is within the service and is not separately identifiable.

  1. Any correspondence or information held on negotiations with third parties in drawing up the licensing scheme.

The Scheme is in house.

Have the council moved away from a third party group with a few thousand members administering the scheme in favour of throwing the doors open to the 30 odd million registered vehicles in the UK and administering the permit scheme itself? I think we should be told.

Environment Bill & 4×4’s.

An interesting amendment from the pressure group Gleam to the Environment Bill.

Proposed amendment Section 7, Environmental Improvement Plan.
To assist in informing the Environmental Improvement Plan, the Secretary of State will carry out a public consultation on whether driving a motor vehicle for recreational purposes on unsealed tracks in the countryside, in particular in protected landscapes, should continue to be permitted.

Explanation of amendment.

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 protected footpaths and bridleways from use and damage by recreational motor vehicles but it left unprotected a further 3000 miles of countryside tracks. These are the nation’s green lanes. They are being used and damaged by 4x4s, motor bikes and quad bikes being driven for recreational purposes. This amendment is the first step in closing the loophole in the NERC Act which is permitting environmental damage being done to green lanes. The amendment does not
bring into question the rights of landowners or residents, the drivers of essential motor vehicles or people with disabilities who use mobility scooters.

The amendment was introduced by Lord Bradshaw.

My Lords, the stated purpose of the Environment Bill is to improve the natural environment and the 2019 Glover review of the national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty that called for radical change in the way we protect our landscape. The review stressed the need for us to take urgent steps to recover and enhance nature. One thing that is causing damage to the natural environment and to our fragile and precious landscapes is that 4×4 vehicles, motorbikes and quad bikes are allowed to be driven for purely recreational purposes on unsealed tracks all over the countryside, including in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The only reason this is allowed to happen is because the law as it stands states that a countryside track, whatever it may be, which has been used in the past by horsedrawn carts, carries a right of way for any kind of modern motor vehicle.

Parliament attempted to deal with this problem in 2006 in the passage of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act. It put a stop to the historic use of horsedrawn carts, giving rise to the use of cars and motorbikes on footpaths and bridleways, but it left unprotected over 3,000 miles of other tracks in the countryside that have no right of way classification. These are the country’s green lanes. They are all open to use and abuse by recreational motor vehicles, and as a result, great damage is being done, even on the high fells. The amendment I will seek to table does not ask for an immediate change in the law, and if passed, it would require the Secretary of State to return to the business that was left unfinished by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act and to carry out a public consultation on whether the loophole left behind by that Act should be closed.

Good luck!

Planning Inspectorate Direct Kirklees To Determine 2 Bridleway Claims.

Buttercup,the PathWatch Cow. Trigger was unavailable.

The Planning Inspectorate has recently intervened in its official Alan “Fluff” Freeman Pick of the Paths role to instruct Kirklees to determine 2 outstanding bridleway claims.

One of the claims has been in the Kirklees charts for over 25 years. It currently sits at no.3 in the Pick of the Paths Priority matrix just ahead of Paul McCartney’s dirge “Mull of Kintyre”. Rather generously, Fluff has given Kirklees a further 18 months to determine this application. So that’ll be 26 and a half years in the hit parade of inaction. This direction is for a bridleway at Moor Lane .

The second pick of the paths lies outside the Top Hundred in the miss parade at number 116. Only charting in 2017 this hit has been picked from obscurity by Fluff who has given a mere 12 months for the council to sort it out. Bit of inconsistency here from Fluff the Inspectorates top Picker of Paths or maybe the Hairy Cornflake was standing in ?

Tune in next week to see if Heckmondwike’s finest Robyn Lane can be knocked off the top spot after charting for an incredible 28 years 🙂

Extreme Rambling.

Holmfirth Public Footpath 45.

There are only 3 field paths in the Holme Valley which are across arable land. One at Netherthong which gets reinstated by sheer volume of public use, Holmfirth 135 (which Kirklees Officers have visited many times over the past 5 years without securing full reinstatement) and the Oilseed Rape Extreme Rambling Experience that is Holmfirth Footpath 45.

This is really basic public rights of way work and the fact that Kirklees cannot reach such a minimum requirement in the area speaks for itself. There seems to be a culture of the same requests from members of the public being passed to the same frontline staff on an annual basis without any effective action. The same sites and problems are visited over and over again but nothing happens.

This is not down to a lack of resources but an absence of training and proper oversight from managers. How can staff go out again and again to the same things without doing anything?

Answers on a postcard.

Holmfirth Moors Go Into Lockdown.

Full Lockdown For Ramblers.

The 17th of May 2021 saw the lifting of many lockdown restrictions. Bars, restaurants and hotels flung open their doors to weary members of the public who could now get a pint indoors and hug each other when tipsy enough.

On the same date a large swath of moorland above Holmfirth was placed into full lockdown with all public access closed for the rest of May and a chunk of June. The irony is wonderful and there really should be an award for this kind of thing.

The closure is perfectly legitimate as landowners can close access land for 28 days a year. It neatly demonstrates the short comings of the CROW access rights which fall way short of the Scottish system where this would never happen. Cheesed off ramblers can view the paper work at Natural England

So forget a bracing walk on the moors and go to the pub for a pint or three with shots of Kent,Brazilian or Indian chasers to make life both more interesting and possibly shorter.

Path Politics.

Holmfirth Footpath 105 has pinned it’s political colours to it’s roadside signpost ahead of Thursday’s local elections.

For decades the Holme Valley has had 3 tory councillors. Two years ago we elected a labour councillor who was actually in the same century as the rest of us rather than a couple behind. Councillor Davies has undoubtedly had a positive effect on improving rights of way in the valley and getting the subject on the agenda in a way that hasn’t happened here for donkey’s years.

Maybe Footpath 105 has a point?