That might just be the most underwhelming headline you ever read.
I can report that following reports from the public the offending pallet on Holmfirth Footpath 150 has indeed been removed by Kirklees.
Whilst other issues are still outstanding thanks are due to the Council for acting so swiftly and sending out the right message.
There’s no doubt this kind of thing can be a thankless task. Having served notice on the landowner after a long period of informal discussions failed it must be galling to see the path deliberately blocked again so soon.
Of course the actions of one person in blocking the path have cost the tax payer and wasted council staff time. In a world of diminishing public resources these costs should be fully recovered from those acting illegally. It might make them stop and think next time.
The hopes of a nation died in extra time last night as Croatia dumped a plucky England side out of the world cup. Kirklees Council admitted this morning the result will have dire consequences for public rights of way in the district.
The Council’s Strategic Director of Make Believe, Cinderella Grimbottom, told the blog that all hopes of future well signed,waymarked and maintained paths vanished with England’s defeat. Ms Grimbottom explained “Kirklees had picked up on reports of fairies carrying out work on paths near Holmfirth due to a mysterious and poorly understood psychic phenomenon last seen in 1966. Obviously this was a great opportunity to get something for nothing so myself and the Council’s Mythical Creatures Liaison Officer took the first flight to La La Land to meet the fairies as the semi final took place.”
“Negotiations got off to a very positive start with Trippier’s superb free kick and England’s positive first half performance. Although my Mythical Creatures Liaison Officer did raise her concerns about Harry Kane’s missed chances and our slender half time lead.”
When asked what went wrong Ms Grimbottom told us “No one could blame John Stones for the state of Kirklees public rights of way but he did switch off for the Croatian winner. Sadly when Mandzukic made it 2-1 the psychic link with the fairies vanished along with the hopes of our great footballing nation and of course our detailed plan for maintaining rights of way in Kirklees”
Ms Grimbottom admitted the Council were running out of ideas.”Following the failure of our original plans to use volunteers on footpath work, and now losing the fairies who won’t be available for another 4 years at least (the Euros don’t have the same effect – Ed) things are looking bleak for rights of way” she said. “We were very surprised that the public didn’t fancy working 40 hours a week,paying taxes and then doing our jobs for nothing on a weekend” confided Ms Grimbottom “We really thought that idea was the way forward but we just couldn’t sell it to the public for some reason”
When asked what the Council would do next Ms Grimbottom went on to say “With the help of the Red Cross,Sports Direct and Greggs we are bringing in emergency measures today. Around 70% of the Kirklees population is already overweight so the Council have decided to concentrate on the remaining 30% who will be provided with 2 pairs of extra large elasticated waistband tracksuit bottoms and two extra extra large white T shirts along with a life times supply of 2 for 1 vouchers at Greggs. These items are being dispatched by the Red Cross as we speak.”
“The measures are designed to disable the healthy 30% of our population to such a degree that walking in the countryside is no longer possible.The need for public rights of way will vanish almost overnight like those bloody fairies”
There is a legend around these parts of secretive and rarely seen Path Watch Fairies. Said to inhabit the depths of the most overgrown and obstructed public rights of way they are invoked when a certain number of legs have been nettled, clothes snagged on barbed wire and walks abandoned. They say a mysterious connection exists between sightings of the fairies and the England Football Team.
Rumour has it that the Path Watch Fairies have been at work on a nettle infested path near Cartworth Moor. Bernard Rowbottom from Choppards told the blog “it doesn’t mek any sense lad. I walked ‘ome last neet after t’ England game and got nettled t’ death. This mornin’ thee were all gone! Nowt there but a bit of that there fairy dust and the essence of Nobby Stiles side burns”. “Nowt” repeated Bernard staring into the middle distance. “Paths reet as rain now”
In something of a groundhog day moment I received reports yesterday that Holmfirth Footpath 150 has been “reobstructed” so to speak. This long obstructed footpath was only opened up in April 2018 following pressure from user groups and the public. Kirklees Council served several notices on landowners here to clear the path yet it is now mysteriously blocked again.
Either some misguided member of the public has decided to lug a hefty pallet and a plastic thing up there for reasons only they know and understand or,more probable perhaps, those same landowners just can’t help themselves and have blocked the path again.
The path needed some maintenance works such as strimming and a sympathetic pruning of a holly tree which Kirklees had undertook to carry out but this has not been done. From the images I’ve seen the path is again in a right state and pretty much unwalkable.
Perhaps if the council took a more robust approach to enforcement, prosecuting more often and recharging it’s costs where it can this sort of thing would be less common? Perhaps if the council had gone up to strim the path,cut back the holly and waymark the route an impression of giving a toss could have been cultivated?
It’s not like Kirklees don’t have any spare cash for this kind of work,they do! Cllr Graham Turner is quoted in the local paper on 2nd July 2018 saying they have some £6 million they didn’t know they had!
Perhaps it’s time they put some serious resources back into public rights of way in Kirklees?
Kirklees claims to have over 150 walking,running & cycling routes listed on it’s website. They are described as “great” in the quoted tweet but I suppose that depends on what you’re into. I walked on one of these “great” routes just a couple of weeks ago and found it to be obstructed by a mountain of manure and thick waist high vegetation.
I suppose if you have a keen interest in dung and getting nettled this would make a “great” route but I didn’t find it that agreeable to be honest. This combined dung and nettle experience is available on the Colne Valley Circular as a non optional extra.
It seems odd to say the least that any organisation would share information and encourage the public to use footpaths where there are known longstanding problems which will cause the public difficulties. Even odder when that organisation is the self same one that has all but abandoned regular maintenance and inspection of these paths over an 8 year period. It would seem the council want to shout about what a great walking area this is whilst at the same time largely ignoring it’s statutory duties to maintain the actual paths.
Looks good in a corporate tweet and on the council website but the reality on the ground, on even a council promoted route, is less attractive.
In the latest edition of “Kirklees Together”, the councils newsletter, there is some confusing and arguably risky advice from the council on the current acute threat of moorland fires in West Yorkshire.
The council advises members of the public to –
Only light fires or barbecues in designated areas using facilities provided. Always take extra care if using a barbecue, even in designated areas
don’t leave camp fires or barbecues unattended and extinguish them properly after you have finished using them
The implication here is that it is actually ok for members of the public in the current conditions to have a barbie or even a campfire on the moors. Most of the West Yorkshire Moors are a site of special scientific interest and special protection area and I’m not aware of any “designated areas” where barbecues or campfires are permitted. Certainly such areas do not exist on the public rights of way network or open access land where most members of the public visit. Surely the council advice should be much clearer and include the message that barbies and fires are not permitted on open access land. Perhaps it ought to have included a list of “designated areas” just to be clear.
There are signs at all access points to the moors warning of the fire risk and clearly stating “No Smoking or Naked Flames” The council’s advice appears to undermine this very clear message.
The Peak Park’s view is that “Fires of any kind should not be started in moorland areas,regardless of the time of year” and “At times of high fire risk do not use barbecues”
Repairs to the top section of Ramsden Road are complete. The lane has never looked so good! All the deep potholes and the infamous lake have been filled in and the surface is now much more user friendly.
Lets hope the council will now maintain the lane to at least this standard.
In other news footpath signs have also gone up or been replaced on Holmfirth Footpaths 44,83,85 and 128 and an obstructing fence/vegetation cleared from Holmfirth Footpath 130. Obstructions on Kirkburton Footpath 155 and Denby Dale Footpath 82 have also been removed by the council. I can also report that the problems on Holmfirth 146 have been rectified which is extremely good news and hopefully a good quality diversion benefiting both walkers and the landowner can now go ahead.
Thanks are due to Kirklees staff for their work in resolving these problems.