If like me you think what has been done to Holmfirth Bridleways 68 & 189 is out of order you could email the Chair of the Peak District National Park Planning Committee Councillor Paul Ancell , Head of Planning at the Peak District National Park John Scott and the man in charge of Rights of Way at Kirklees Rob Dalby and tell them what you think and what you’d like them to do. It’s what we pay them for so don’t be shy.
Last Friday 13th October 2017 the planning applications for Bartin and Greave farmsteads were refused by the peak park planning committee at Bakewell. One of the concerns discussed by the committee was the access which is entirely along Holmfirth bridleways 68 & 169 and the negative effects the increased traffic would have on the recreational users of the bridleways. The committee were also very concerned about the potential negative effects of the developments on the wider unspoilt surrounding landscape.
This week the bridleways have been regraded and resurfaced with what appears to be a dry concrete mix(update from Kirklees who took a sample of the material – it isn’t concrete although it has that colour/appearance) over large areas of the 2km length. This work has ruined what was an unspoilt and unchanged sandstone surfaced bridleway. It has created a visible scar in the landscape which the planning committee were so conscious to protect last Friday. Clearly the intention is to create a roadway into Bartin & Greave but who would do such a thing?
I have asked Yorkshire Water Estates if they have any information as to who has carried out the works,whether it has planning permission or permission from the highway authority, Kirklees Council and await their reply.
In the meantime enjoy some more images of this wonderful piece of work in our oldest national park.
In the latest round of cuts our council has been given the particularly tricky turd of closing children’s playgrounds across Kirklees to put a shine on. That’s a tall order but the Council’s Play Strategy Report does a job Mr Sheen would be proud of.
Amongst other things it outlines how Kirklees has far more play areas when compared to neighbouring authorities (something that’s never been an issue in the past & surely a good thing?), how taking your toddlers to the swings isn’t really as good for them as opportunities to”play beyond enclosed areas” ( what? ) and of course beneath the turd polishing the truth that the council needs to sack staff who inspect and maintain play areas, shut the swings and seesaws to replace them with “wildplay” and volunteers from the “Friends of everything the council used to do” groups. There’s even a suggestion in this report that public rights of way might be used for “wild play” which I think might be a little bit too wild. Poor little mites would run the risk of being built over or blocked in by barbed wire and caravans.
When my kids were little going to the swings on a Saturday morning was an integral part of family life. Contrary to what is said in this report it is not a sterile experience on outdated equipment. Thankfully kids have something that bureaucrats have removed when they sign up – an imagination. So that swing or seesaw is a rocket, a boat, a horse or pretty much anything on any given visit. The whole playground world is not as it seems when you’re a child. That rusty metal work and soggy bark are a fantasy world of play and discovery.The hooped fencing so maligned in the report keeps the the dogs out so parents don’t need to polish those particular turds at home.
Thinking back to our many family visits to Victoria Park and Sands in Holmfirth along with dozens of other random swings and seesaws throughout the UK I could never have foreseen a time when any local council would be proposing closure of such facilities. Yet here I am in 2017 reading a report suggesting just this. The galling thing is that anyone would want to put any kind of turd polish on such a piss poor proposal. But there you go, that’s what elected members and senior council management think is an appropriate presentation of such an idea. It’s the classic “shit sandwich” approach of hiding something very unpalatable amongst bureaucratic smiles and big words.
So kids, parents and grandparents make the most of those last few trips to the swings. Store up the memories of happy, childhood play at the parks and playgrounds of Kirklees.
Soon they’ll be gone and you’ll be invited to play beyond these “enclosed areas” in a “wild play” puddle sponsored by Toys R Us or on a water filled tyre down some overgrown footpath kindly supplied by Kwik Fit. Terms & conditions apply. Puddles are subject to availability. Tyres only available in black.
Turned out to be a Friday 13th horror show for the developers as both applications to reinstate the ruins of Bartin and Greaves farm houses were turned down at the Peak District National Park planning committee last Friday. This was a good decision made for the right reasons.
Path Watch has followed the Applications from the beginning and submitted detailed comments on the plans and encouraged others who use Holmfirth Bridleways 168 and 89 to comment too. In all there were some 31 public objections to the plans.
I attended the meeting on Friday 13th at the national parks Bakewell office and spoke for my allotted 3 minutes highlighting my concerns for the future of the bridleways and the wider effects on the landscape should these plans be approved. The national park planning officers had put a good case together for refusal which in a nutshell said that the benefits of saving these two listed buildings through the proposed plans would harm the nature of the buildings themselves and the wider landscape in which they sit.
There followed a long and, I felt intelligent and considered debate amongst the 12 members and I did feel the decision could go either way. There was a vote to defer the decision which was lost and finally the proposals were voted out with 6 members voting for refusal, 3 supporting the proposals and 3 abstentions.
I imagine an appeal will be likely but there is a consistent history over 20 years at these sites of planning applications of this nature being turned down because of the negative effects on the wider landscape, the poor access, negative effects on recreation, the bridleways and unsympathetic treatment of the buildings themselves in the scale of works proposed. Wouldn’t it be great if Kelder Group accepted this and spent some money repairing both buildings to a basic standard and allowing continued low level agricultural use?
Planning application 2017/60/93326/W is the twin of this brute which proposes to confine the lovely cross field path of Holmfirth 31 between gardens retaining walls and beneath a tunnel to allow the construction of 72 houses.
The second application is for a further 62 houses on two further fields adjacent to the walled lane section of Holmfirth 31(Robinson Lane). The application proposes to build the adopted estate road for these 134 houses across Holmfirth Footpath 31(Robinson Lane). So what is now an historic,characterful,peaceful and traffic free lane will be crossed by a road carrying every car,delivery and service vehicle etc into an estate of 134 houses.
The application lacks any detail as to how this crossing point will be constructed and how Footpath 31(Robinson Lane) will be accommodated at this point. Nor is there any detail as to how both legs of footpath 31 will be treated during the construction phase. In fact there is very little said in the application beyond –
“A public right of way (footpath) runs through the Western field diagonally to link Woodhead Road with Robinson Lane, this route along with Robinson Lane is to be accommodated and retained as part of the proposals (Kirklees ref Hol131/40).”
“Accommodated” simply means both legs of Footpath 31 will be changed to fit the development and whilst the public will still be able to pass from A to B when the development is complete all the rural character and amenity value will disappear. Gone will be the green cross field footpath where you might walk a dog or have a picnic. Gone will be the historic and characterful Robinson Lane. Both replaced by something much less appealing and user friendly.
The application proposes that the estate road joins Woodhead Road close to where Holmfirth Footpath 31 (Robinson Lane) also joins Woodhead Road. There is no consideration in the application as to how this additional hazard in terms of increased traffic and turning/exiting vehicles is to be mitigated for pedestrians exiting Footpath 31 and crossing Woodhead Road at this point. It is simply ignored.
I believe there are grounds for a reasonable objection to the application in relation to a lack of detail in considering how Holmfirth Footpath 31(Robinson Lane) is treated, both in regards to the estate road being built over it and in terms of an increased hazard to pedestrians caused by the new junction on Woodhead Road .
There is no need to cut Holmfirth Footpath 31(Robinson Lane) in two with an estate road. This roadway should be put beneath the public footpath to retain the path’s it traffic free condition and save some of the it’s rural and historic character.
A pedestrian crossing is required where the path joins Woodhead Road to allow safe passage for pedestrians over this busy road and new hazardous junction.
Comments are open on the application until 25th October 2017.
I’ve had confirmation this week that Friday the 13th October 2017 is the date for the Bartin & Greaves Planning Applications to go before the Peak Park Planning Committee in Bakewell. Also received a request from the peak park planners to use some of my photographs in their presentation to the committee which illustrate the unspoilt isolation of Bartin & Greave.
As mentioned previously if you have commented on the applications you can speak at the meeting. Details of what to do here
On another planning issue the application mentioned here to replace a set of illegal gates on a Huddersfield path with some big shiny new illegal gates has been withdrawn. A step in the right direction.
On the issue of gates on public footpaths the law is very clear. Any gate can only be authorised under Section 147 of the Highways Act 1980 for agricultural purposes or some other identified statute. Mr Justice Cranston further clarified the law in this judgement Yet from my discussions with Kirklees this week it seems this isn’t clear enough.