The humble traffic regulation order in action on a byway in the Dales. The photos above were taken on The High Way in the Parish of High Abbotside where the way splits into two. Byway 20.93/2 heads south back into the valley whilst Byway 20.93/1 stays high and heads south east. It doesn’t take a genius to work out which one has a Traffic Regulation Order prohibiting motor vehicles and which one doesn’t.
It’s also a unique example of two byways next to each other. One clearly showing the positive effect of a TRO and the other exhibiting the obvious negative effects of damage caused to the route by vehicles.
Of course here in Kirklees it is completely different. Motor vehicles do not damage byways (less gravity here? Ed) and the Council are happy to pump in public cash to repair byways not damaged by vehicles and there’s no need for a TRO because well vehicles don’t…
There’s long experience in the Dales of the National Park putting TRO’s on these byways BEFORE repairing them and keeping the TRO in place to protect the surface from future vehicle damage. The added bonus to this approach is safe,unspoilt off road routes for non motorised users.
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.
In a moving example of the local community pulling together in troubled times a group of public spirited fly tippers have recently collaborated to restore a much loved local bridleway. PathWatch has spoken to Albert Steptoe of the new group, known as Tip Kirklees, about their efforts.
Albert told the blog “It’s great to be part of Tip Kirklees and to put something back. All to often fly tippers are seen as anti social petty criminals who don’t care about the environment. Through Tip Kirklees we hope to break down the stereotypes of crooks in white vans dumping toxic crap all over the byways and bridleways of Kirklees”
PathWatch asked Albert about the new surfacing technique Tip Kirklees are using on Harden Hill Road, a much loved bridleway in Meltham. “Although the tip is only a mile away we’ve sent our fleet of feral vans and flat back trucks up the bridleway on a series of “tip days”to repair the 20 years of erosion that Kirklees have ignored. Tip Kirklees are donating tons of granite kitchen worktops in a range of colours to repair the bridleway surface” continued Albert with a completely straight face.
When we asked Albert where all this waste had come from, how much Tip Kirklees were saving in tip fees and whether slippy, shiny, hard and sharp edged granite work tops were really the best surface for a bridleway he got quite agitated. “I know where you live” he said. Unsure if this was a threat or an offer to tarmac the PathWatch driveway we left it at that.
Some breaking news from PathWatch. The double double stile step problem on Holmfirth Footpath 131 has finally been resolved!
Whilst we’re not ones for fake positivity here a few cartwheels have been spun around PathWatch HQ for the end of this long saga. For 28 months the council has played a tortuous game of Twister with itself over what was a blindly obvious bit of crap that blocked the path and shouldn’t be there.
Thanks are due for the work of the frontline staff involved.
Here is a recent video posted on youtube that perhaps gives a clue as to how Ramsden Road has been wrecked
It’s easy to see how those large lakes have formed so quickly (in 18 months) on the flat section when you watch how these vehicles drive through them. Kirklees Council will be spending a significant sum of taxpayers cash (they won’t tell PathWatch how much) to “repair” these potholes in April.
How deep does Kirklees have it’s corporate neck buried in the sand? Does it really believe that simply placing and rolling in sandstone will stand up to the kind of use shown in this video?
And lets remember here the councils recently declared aim to increase walking by 20% and to ensure Kirklees is a great place to walk in. Both pledges made in the very recent Climate Emergency Plan. Ramsden Road could lead the way here if only the council meant what it says.
The route could be motor traffic free,repaired and maintained to a bridleway standard and the surrounding damaged land given a chance to recover. Instead the council is enabling 4×4’s to continue the destruction of the one part of our environment it directly controls.
Holmfirth Footpath 57 has featured on PathWatch before here and here . Following service of a s56 notice on Kirklees the route was extensively repaired in 2018. It was then allowed to become badly overgrown in the summer 0f 2019. So much so that the area repaired became invisible and unwalkable within a year of those repairs (subsequently strimmed).
As can be seen from the top photo the path has a new problem in the form of a broken culvert beneath the surface flooding the path.
What this all neatly demonstrates is the need for regular inspection and cyclic maintenance of our public rights of way.
It’s good to report that within a few days of the new water feature being reported Kirklees have done some temporary work to drain the immediate problem and a permanent repair to the culvert below is now planned.