Erringden Parish Calderdale

Erringden 13 Gate
Isn’t this a beauty?

One thing you can say with confidence about local highway authorities in West Yorkshire is that the standard of path obstruction is regular,long standing and of a very high quality. I’m not saying this is necessarily a good thing but at least there are few surprises.

Here’s a selection from the smorgasbord of problems on a 4 mile walk in Calderdale.

Erringden 2
The beginning of Erringden Footpath 2
Erringden 13
Gate or fence? Don’t worry the bog gets you before you get that far.
Erringden 13 wire
Why not just wall it up and stop pretending?
Erringden 13 wall
Long lost stile now a tank trap for walkers.
20200117_135349
Stile or fence?

Clayton Fields Public Inquiry.

 

 

IMG_9231
This green and pleasant land. Public Footpath in Kirklees.

public inquiry is to be held next week into the soup of claims and stopping ups on the paths at Clayton Fields,Edgerton,Huddersfield. A flavour of this particular disaster can be read in Clayton Fields – Peak Parody? There have been further developments since that article but even PathWatch lost track (got bored?Ed) of the councils tortuous efforts to deny public access to a popular urban greenspace and build houses on it instead.

If you are having trouble sleeping the Inquiry starts at 10.00am on 21st January 2020 at Brian Jackson House,New North Parade,Huddersfield. HD1 5JP.

Kirklees To Monitor Unauthorised Water Trough On Public Footpath – PathWatch Exclusive!

Bathtime (1 of 1)
Water trough. (played by a bath to protect its identity.)

In the topsy turvy upside down world of Kirklees Public Rights of Way, the Council, who have a legal duty to stop public paths being obstructed and to assert the public’s right to use rights of way, are going to great lengths (and expense?Ed) to ensure a water trough can stay on a public footpath rather than just ..well…move it.

It would appear that moving it to keep the path clear and avoid potential damage by animals visiting the trough is far to simple a solution  for our hapless highway authority. Instead they will  “monitor the situation and reserve the councils position regarding trough siting and operation” (we’re not making this up! Ed)

The matter has been dealt with by Karl Battersby, Strategic Director of Economy & Infrastructure. Mr Battersby recently wrote to a local ward Councillor regarding the trough and advised that the “water trough placed on the route is not authorised but again we will not take action”. (Has austerity cut so deep at Kirklees Council that the only person left to deal with such a minor public rights of way issue is a Strategic Director? .Ed)

Is Mr Battersby  condoning the obstruction of a public footpath here? The councils footpaths officer has advised Mr Battersby that the trough “may be an obstruction” and that “siting of troughs on/near public rights of way is not encouraged and its placement and use may cause problems”. How is the the public interest and the councils statutory duties to keep paths open and to assert public rights being met in this case? How are the councils wider obligations as a service provider under the Disability Discrimination Act being met by allowing an “unauthorised” structure to sit on a 1.2 metre wide footpath? Did Mr Battersby take any of these points into consideration when making his decision?

Permitting paths to be obstructed or partially obstructed in this manner does not seem to fit with the councils recently stated aim contained in it’s Climate Emergency Plan that  “The Council will continue to develop and promote sustainable and active travel and ensure that Kirklees is recognised as a great place to walk and cycle, inspiring more people to walk and cycle more often as a mode of transport, for work, leisure or for sport”. The Council also have a target of increasing walking by 20% in the plan. Will putting water troughs on footpaths help achieve this? Or will it make paths unattractive and difficult to use? Or impossible to use should you have a disability?

Sadly there is no detail in Mr Battersby’s correspondence regarding how the unauthorised trough will be monitored. Will it be visited daily,weekly or monthly by Mr Battersby? Perhaps the Prow satellite can be redirected to orbit the trough on a regular basis to see what it’s up to? Will ramblers be encouraged to befriend the trough when they can’t get down the path because of it?

Holmfirth Footpath 146 Tops New Year Charts.

HOL 146 Upper Millshaw-3
Holmfirth Footpath 146

Holmfirth Footpath 146 at Upper Millshaw first hit the PathWatch hit parade way back in 2017, path pickers, and has charted regularly ever since the original hit Baby Steps at Upper Mill Shaw – Holmfirth Footpath 146 The mega hit BS:5709. How Hard Can It Be?  was in the charts longer than Paul McCartney’s dirge Mull Of Kintyre and was equally loathed by ramblers and easy listening fans alike.

After a quiet period chart wise the path became a Christmas no.1 for 2019 and hits the new year  at the top of the charts. As you can see from the photos the public path has been obliterated by works associated with a nearby development. The legal line of the path has gone and so to the proposed diversion (new path) approved by kirklees as a splendid idea at committee in July 2019.

This could be top of the path pickers charts for months to come…. Whatever you do don’t try to walk it.

HOL 146 New Path
The proposed new path.

 

 

Christmas Magic From PathWatch

HOL 146 Upper Millshaw

The Christmas Rambler last stepped out

on the feast of Stephen,

When the mud lay round about,

deep and soft and uneven.

Brightly shone the moon that night,

though the council were cruel,

letting this bloke trash a path,

for ground source heating fuel.

Hither Rambler and stand by me

If thou know it telling:

yonder peasant who is he?

And is that his fancy dwelling?

Sire he has no common sense

And keeps us off this mountain

Have you seen his electric fence?

Get off my land I hear him shouting!

Elec Fence sign

Holmfirth Footpath 85

W Nab 2-2
December 2019 Top of the steps

One of the small jobs done by Kirklees as a result of input from Councillor Paul Davies was the clearance of long standing vegetation from a flight of steps on Holmfirth Footpath 85. As you can see from the final photo in this piece the steps were so overgrown you’d hardly know a public footpath existed. This type of long term neglect is typical in the Holme Valley.

W Nab 2-3
December 2019 bottom of the steps

The steps need some TLC themselves now that they are back with us. As you can see from the photo above there is a longstanding  drainage issue at the bottom of the steps completely obstructing further passage. This still needs addressing a year after making the Highway Authority aware.

HOL 82 veg and drainage
November 2018 Top of the steps