PathWatch usually favours cock up rather than conspiracy as far as Kirklees Council is concerned however the case of Spenborough Footpath 110 is debatable. The council made a legal order to stop up and divert part of this path to permit development on 12th March 2020. That’s the day after the World Health Organisation declared a worldwide pandemic regarding Covid 19. The council wrote to statutory consultees on 19th March 2020 asking for any comments to be made by 1st May 2020.
It could just be bad timing of course or someone in the legal department who doesn’t get out much, go on the internet or even read a newspaper but it seems an odd and inappropriate time to be making orders diverting public footpaths. During the consultation time period the Council must legally post and maintain notices on site and advertise the order in the press. An interesting use of resources in the current chaos. Of course no member of the public can go to the site to assess the pros and cons of the diversion order under the current lockdown restrictions.
The site in question belongs to Kirklees. In June 2019 Kirklees applied to itself and obtained planning permission to demolish the existing building and build a new leisure centre. This included diversion of Spen Footpath 110. Subsequently Kirklees applied to itself to stop up and divert the part of Spen Footpath 110 affected and this is the order currently being advertised.
Like I say it could be bad timing and just a fortunate coincidence that this is a great time to slip something like this through.
Link to order consultation Public Path Diversion Near Spen Valley Leisure Centre (1)