Ramsden Road

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More of a rock climb than a walk

Where to begin on this one? Let’s start with what it is. A byway open to all traffic (Holmfirth 180). This means walkers,riders,cyclists and motor vehicles have a right to pass along here. Might be worth mentioning who is responsible for the maintenance of Ramsden Road too. Well as it is recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement it is publicly maintainable by the local Highway Authority which is Kirklees Council. I can hear your groans and cries of despair dear reader but I’m just telling it like it is.

Clearly the surface of the byway is very much out of repair and hasn’t seen any maintenance of any kind for a long time,if ever. How has it got into this state? Well it would be very easy to blame 4×4 users who the byway is very popular with but I don’t think that would be fair. As a walker I’ve walked on many badly eroded footpaths where the damage has been caused by boots alone. So I’m not going to chuck the first stone of blame in the direction.

Many years ago before Ramsden Road was in this dire state but had the beginnings of these problems  there was a popular suggestion  to put a traffic regulation order on the byway which would have either stopped motor vehicle use or limited it at certain times of year. Sadly the idea was shot down in flames by local councillors who would hear none of it. The rest as they say is history and we are now left with this assault course of a byway.

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No not the famous Holmfirth Lido

It is still up to Kirklees to manage the traffic on Ramsden Road and keep the byway safe and in a condition suitable for it’s expected traffic which on the face of it doesn’t seem too challenging. However it is obvious from the neglected drains,culverts and extensive damage that the byway has been left to deteriorate and the public can take their chances when walking there.

What can be done? Path Watch has asked Kirklees to carry out some urgent emergency repairs to the worst affected sections of standing water and erosion. In the short term all that means is importing some local stone to put the surface back into a safe condition. They can then have a think about what to do in the longer term.

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Neglected cross drain

The byway has a good drainage system of ditches,culverts and cut offs which require reinstatement and of course the surface needs extensive repairs. This could be carried out over a period of time and need not break the bank.  What ever excuses come from Kirklees there is no getting away from 1. They are responsible and 2. lack of resources is no defense. Putting corporate fingers in their ears and singing LA LA LA loudly just won’t cut it.

Reports about  condition of Ramsden Road ,Holmfirth Byway 180 should be made to highways.ross@kirklees.gov.uk

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What a load of rubbish!

Our Holmfirth street is beginning to look like an updated version of the 1970’s winter of discontent. Piles of black bin bags and over flowing wheely bins line the road after our hopeless council failed to empty 4,000 bins in the area this week. Read the full story here

From a Path Watch point of view it is reassuring to see local councillors and hundreds of residents treated with the same degree of distain as the walking public. The council won’t give a reason for the bin collection cock up beyond saying “operational” issues were to blame. Now where have I heard that sort of limp reasoning before? It’s the well thumbed and dog earred Kirklees Big Book Of Excuses again! Maybe the local “Friends of the binmen” group could help out?

The bin wagon drove past the 1970’s recreation along Holmfirth’s bin lined streets this morning and could be found parked up outside a popular local butchers in Hade Edge where the occupants were enjoying a hearty breakfast. So to some degree then it’s business as usual and the operational issues must have been resolved. Good to see the council’s worked force getting their priorities right in these challenging times.

Kirklees most expensive Cd’s Huddersfield Byway 231 The Album

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Regular readers will recall the long saga of Huddersfield Byway 231. As a result of Kirklees engaging Leeds City Council to carry out historical research into the status of the Byway I now have the 2 most expensive CD’s in my collection. Five grand of council taxpayers hard earned money for these and obviously that didn’t include a decent album cover.

You might have thought our caring,sharing council would have let interested members of the public have this information as soon as it was available,given they paid for it but no a rather churlish email was sent out stating no information would be released prior to the committee report.

So I’ve dragged the hapless bureaucrats through the freedom of information process which is painful for both sides due to the prevailing culture of secrecy and disdain for the public which characterises Kirklees and today received my 2 CD’s worth of historical information.

I am aware that Leeds City Council have discovered “something” not previously found but there’s a lot of information here.

I’d like to share this information as widely as possible before the Committee date which may be as soon as 23rd November 2017 so that interested parties can form a view untainted by the powers that be as it were.

Please get in touch via the blog or Facebook if you’d like a bootleg copy. Might be worth something in the future, you never know.

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Holmfirth 146 Upper Mill Shaw.

In October I visited this lovely little path and found it obstructed by some stock fencing. Following discussions with Kirklees I was pleased to hear  last week that the landowner would be installing a pedestrian gate within a fortnight. My satisfaction was fleeting as I noticed at the weekend that someone had taken leave of their senses and gone on a  digger rampage over the footpath. The obstruction is now obstructed as it were with a big hole and piles of earth. Maybe it was the full moon last week .

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October
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November

 

 

Peak Park comes up trumps on Holmfirth Bridleways 68 & 189.

 

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Pleased to report that the Peak District National Park have written to Yorkshire Water (Keyland Developments) regarding the woeful resurfacing works on Holmfirth Bridleways 68 & 189. Whilst clearly constrained by planning law and the hapless actions of Kirklees the letter is a positive response to the concerns of the many users who have contacted the park on the issue and is in stark contrast to the complete lack of action or interest from our council. The letter was copied to me and I reproduce most of it here.

I understand that you are the surveyor at Keyland who has been dealing with the works to the Holmfirth public bridleways numbers 68 & 189, which serve the buildings at Greaves Head and Bartin.  You will be aware that the National Park Authority  has recently dealt with planning and listed building applications for proposals to reintroduce the residential use of the houses.  All four applications were refused at the Planning Committee on 13 October (please see this link for the Committee reportshttps://democracy.peakdistrict.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=132&MId=1591&Ver=4 ).

My  purpose in writing to you is to express my concern at the works that have been carried out to the track which serves these buildings.  I should say that the works are likely to be “permitted development” and would not require planning permission under Part 9 of the General Permitted Development Order 2015, which allows improvement and repair works to tracks, so we do not think that there has been a breach of planning regulations.  I am also aware that you have received permission from Kirklees Council, as Highway Authority, for the works.  I understand that this was subject to agreement on the precise stone to be used in the surfacing works.  Notwithstanding this, we have received several complaints about the extent and appearance of the work that has been carried out, particularly the colour and size of the surfacing material, which is very light and fine textured, giving an inappropriate compacted appearance covering the whole width of the track.  Given that this is a popular bridleway in a relatively wild area, these works are out of keeping with the appearance and enjoyment of the area. 

I have been advised that the works were carried out either by or on behalf of Yorkshire Water, but that you may have been involved; I do not have a contact at Yorkshire Water so I would be grateful if you would let  me know who I should contact if it is not you.  I think it is important for me to say that the works to the track do not change the National Park Authority’s position regarding the principle of  re-introducing a residential use to Greaves Head and Bartin, as the reports to Planning Committee should make clear.

Finally, I would ask that you or Yorkshire Water consider carrying out works to reduce the harsh and inappropriate appearance of the track following the resurfacing works. 

Holmfirth Bridleway 68 & 169 – “Nothing to see here now run along” response from Kirklees

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The grey concrete style stone blending in nicely.

If like me you contacted Kirklees Council this week about the resurfacing of these bridleways with a “sandstone” that has the appearance of concrete you’ll have received a classic fob off email this afternoon. It’s taken from the Kirklees Infinite Book of Excuses “Easy ways to avoid answering tricky questions” chapter. Basically select one thing you are right about and ignore everything else.

In my case I had checked with the Council about the surfacing material which looked like a dry concrete mix. The appearance is so convincing the Council had to take a sample and get reassurances from Kelder Group which included a receipt from the quarry. I never mentioned the bridleway being concreted in my email. And had clarified that point on here.

I still got this email answering a question I hadn’t asked

This email is blind copied to recipients. Thank you for contacting Kirklees council.

The Council received reports earlier in the year from the public, regarding works to the above bridleways, undertaken on behalf of the landowner. Council officers concluded that the works were inappropriate and that further work would be required. The contractor had permission from Kirklees PROW to carry out more recent works, laying a top dressing over parts of the bridleway. The specification for the recent surfacing material was 20mm to dust sandstone aggregate. Council officers have confirmation from the quarry that this is what was delivered. The specification agreed with the landowner did not include agreement to add cement, and the contractor undertaking the works for the landowner states that none has been added during the surfacing works. We have samples of the surfacing material from the site, both before and after the works.

This email is copied to officials at Peak District NPA, who have been contacted by some of you.

The “jog on pal” response ignores the questions I asked…

  1. As kelder Group have not used a local stone can the council ask them to remove all the limestone and grey stone from the bridleways?
  2. Can the Council advise Kelder Group that no further works are to be carried out on the bridleways without a full consultation with the peak park and user groups?
  3. I also highlighted the poor standard of work, the leaching of the grey stone onto adjacent land and the fact that the bridleways were not out of repair.

There’s a quarry about a mile away which could have  supplied a local stone which when weathered would match what is on the bridleway. Tingley quarry is 20 miles away and obviously produces a different quality of stone in terms of colour and texture. It simply does not fit the sensitive environment it has been placed in.

Kirklees were on the ball with their robust response to the planning applications but have  managed to snatch  defeat from the jaws of victory with the attitude taken towards these awful resurfacing works.

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The bridleways original condition

Kirklees seem to think Kelder Group are an altruistic organisation who completely out of the blue wish to resurface a public bridleway at their own expense. Meanwhile back in the real world most of us can put two and two together and see the works for what they really are. An attempt to improve vehicular access to Bartin & Greaves Farms in connection with two recently refused planning applications which may yet go to appeal.

It’s no surprise that Kirklees sides with those wishing to take advantage of public property for  private gain. It’s much easier than doing things properly  and I suspect far less scary for them to send out a “Round Robin” email to concerned members of the public telling them to get lost rather than challenge a private company.

 

Denby Dale Bridleway 102 – Langley Lane Update.

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Denby Dale Parish Council are discussing the planning application affecting this bridleway on Tuesday 31st October 2017 at their Plans Scrutiny Meeting 7pm at the Council Offices in Skelmanthorpe. There is a 15 minute slot at the start of the meeting for members of the public to raise any issues.

Now might be a good time to email the clerk of the council to raise any concerns about this application clerk@denbydale.com or indeed contact your Parish Councillors whose contact details are here 

I’ve had a great response to this issue with lots of people getting in touch and also commenting on the application. Clearly the bridleway is a much valued local amenity and people are more than willing to do something in an effort to keep it that way.