This planning application at the old site of Upper Mill Shaw Farm is something of a first on the blog. An application that mentions the site is accessed by a public bridleway and crossed by a public footpath! Things go slightly downhill after this good start by the proposal that “improvements” will be made to the bridleway in the form of some surfacing with “road scalpings or sandstone” and also some widening and passing places to “improve access along the track (bridleway) for regular use by motor vehicles” So the proposal is to build around 300m of road on the bridleway . No mention at all of how these improvements for motor vehicles will affect the public users of the bridleway on foot,cycle or horse.
This is a very unspoilt bridleway with a minimum amount of agricultural traffic. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever met a vehicle up there in the past 25 years so this proposal is a big deal. Both the properties will have double garages and the only access to the road network and the rest of the world is along the bridleway.
Widening and surfacing the bridleway will ruin its current rural character which is often what attracts many of us into the countryside in the first place. It will in effect become a driveway to a little gated community on the site of the old farm. Vehicle speeds will increase drastically and conflict between vehicles and public users of the bridleway will be unavoidable. Given the scarcity of safe off road routes for riders and cyclists in Kirklees this is not a good thing and planners should avoid creating these situations.
Another worrying aspect of this proposal,if approved, is what the quality of the work on the bridleway will be like. The photograph below shows Holmfirth Footpath 146 which is at the other end of this site. As you can see the owner decided to dig up the footpath which is about 1200 feet above sea level in November to “drain” a wet area completely wrecking the path in the process. I’m told this has been put right but have not had the time to revisit. The point is the work is very unsympathetic,inappropriate for the site and will likely take a very long time to recover leaving the path vulnerable to weather damage and erosion. What sort of mess would they make of the bridleway?
Comments are open until 19th December 2017