Some 10 weeks on the two beech trees across this popular route remain in situ. A couple of blokes with a chainsaw were on site today scratching heads and deciding it was beyond them. Fair enough, this is a job for a qualified and experienced tree firm.
Just why Kirklees have not treated this situation with a greater sense of priority is anyone’s guess. There is nothing to stop them clearing this themselves as they would if this was a vehicular highway or serving notice on the owner which would only take 3 weeks.
The trees hang over the bridleway forcing walkers to duck and blocking it completely for riders. The crowns of the trees are in the river and subject to movement with the rise and fall of the flow. The root balls sit on top of a high dry stone retaining wall with a noticeable amount of water pouring out from behind it. All looks quite precarious.
Continuing on from yesterday’s watery theme. Works to replace Blackpool Bridge are now complete. The new bridge was finished today and it looks robust and ready to carry walkers for many years to come.
The Kirklees rights of way officer involved has managed this project in a no fuss,professional manner and deserves a big thank you, as do the Trust for conservation volunteers who have worked up there in some awful conditions this last 5 weeks. Last but not least thanks to Peak & Northern Footpaths Society who picked up on the poor condition of the bridge and got something done about it as well as offering a financial contribution. 🙂
The Kirklees admiralty who are based at Wilton Park, Batley, (home to the Kirklees navy) have announced that a new Shipping Forecast Area is to be added to to the famous list in …er…Kirklees! Rear Admiral Birdseye (oh yes),one of Soothills most famous sons, told PathWatch of the exciting nautical development. “Following the loss of Whitby Fishermen the other winter on Ramsden Road it has been recognised that we need to alert seafarers to the risks of Kirklees and it’s treacherous rights of way waters”.
“The Admiralty have belatedly recognised that although Ramsden Road isn’t actually the sea, the body of water on Ramsden Road is navigable and is of such a size that the moon exerts a significant tidal pull. Spring tides here are some of the largest in UK waters due to landrovers causing further tidal movement when driving through. It’s clear to the Admiralty that the waters on Ramsden Road are a permanent and growing feature which is why we’ve squeezed it in the forecast between German Bite and Dogger” said the Admiral before heading off to Batley Working Mens Club for his rum ration.
In a generous autumn give away Kockuplees Council are throwing the troublesome but widely recognised and essential British Standard 5709 out the window and will allow any old thing to be placed on local public rights of way.
“So what’s new” said Benny Rothmans, stalwart member of Peak & Southern Footpaths Society “You’ve got to be a contestant on Who Dares Wins to get over most of the stiles & gates around here and up to date with your tetanus.”
We put this point to Les Battersby, the Councils Strategic Director of Not Giving A Toss. Les told us more about the controversial offer “Mr Rothmans certainly has a point and it is true to say that we have turned something of a blind eye to the awful mess of stiles & gates on our public footpaths since the relevant date of the year dot.However we’ve decided to be more honest and stop pretending we’re remotely interested in Rambers or anyone else who might like to enjoy a walk in the fresh air. The thing is we really don’t care. Any farmer who we have inadvertently forced to use BS5709 can contact us and will receive a very generous compensation package. This includes council staff removing the quality BS5709 gate and putting in any old crap, preferably with some barbed wire and a good wobble. We are able to offer ramblers over the age of 96 a reduced price tetanus injection with our medical partner BURPA for a small BURPA subscription of £300 a month (terms & conditions apply). I think Mr Rothmans may be eligible at 102.”
Back in the “real world” of Kirklees rights of way the council is currently running a dual system for use of BS5709 on our public paths. In some cases where the council has required removal of an obstruction the landowner is required to put in place a gate to the recognised British Standard 5709 . The process involves the usual form filling and checks by Kirklees staff. The standard is compliant with the councils Disability Discrimination Act obligations and allows the council to put conditions on such as clear signage and removal of the gate if no longer needed. In other cases landowners can put in anything they want and Kirklees isn’t bothered. The Council are unable to provide a rational explanation for this particular double standard.
Whilst it is a very poor deal for path users to be subject to sub standard and unauthorised structures which the council has no control over, it also seems unfair to landowners and farmers. There seems to be something of a BS5709 lottery here in the Holme Valley with landowners in identical situations being treated very differently.
The latest Peak District Green Lane Association PDGLA Newsletter 2019_10 reports on the new Traffic Regulation Order prohibiting motor vehicles from Wetton Hills. The newsletter provides a link to background information and committee reports at the Peak Park.
In common with Derbyshire CC at Jacob’s Ladder the Peak Park have followed due process and all the information is in the public realm. This is in stark contrast to our local highway authority, Kirklees, who cannot reference a date or any documentation to their decision to revoke the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order on Ramsden Road. The implications of this unrecorded decision would appear to go against the council’s own view that an ETRO was needed to protect Ramsden Road from damage by 4×4 vehicles and to protect any repairs from damage whilst they bedded in.
Wetton Hills currently has a temporary closure in place for these very reasons which suggests Kirklees original plan was on the money.
Dover Lane,the popular path off Dunford Road to Washpit Mills, is best left to the Hippos at the moment. The mud is boot top deep and unavoidable. A sorry mess for October.
As our regular reader will know there are few all new public rights of way problems in Kirklees. Most are recycled versions of age old issues never properly sorted by our hapless bureaucrats.
So it is with the surface of Dover Lane. Over a year ago PathWatch highlighted Washpit Mills – A Missed Opportunity .The thought of getting this path repaired and upgraded by a developer and at no public cost (which was offered but the council failed to secure) was on my mind today as my boots filled with cold black mud whilst negotiating the lane.
This path links an approved development of 50 houses to a Bus Stop on Dunford Road. Whilst the Council declares a climate emergency on the one hand its planners fail miserably to gain an improvement which would benefit locals, the new home owners and of course poor old planet earth. As it is you can’t really blame anyone living at the future Washpit Mills development for driving everywhere. Where’s the alternative?
PathWatch spoke to Johnny Morris the council’s wildlife zsar who told us “We prefer to see the state of this public footpath in a much more positive light. Whilst it may no longer be suitable for bipeds I can reveal that following an extensive fact finding visit to The Gambia, very nice at this time of year by the way, we are launching a scheme to encourage overnight stays in Holmfirth from Hippopotamuses. Whilst Dover Lane may seem to be inconveniently situated in the Northern Hemisphere there is a bus stop on Dunford Road with direct links to the rail network from Huddersfield. What Dover Lane can offer the well healed and adventurous travelling hippo is year round mud and a range of excellent farm style accommodation which includes an all you can eat silage offer.”
Well sort of… There’s not much humour in the bureaucracy surrounding public rights of way but in this fps_z4718-_14d_12_decision (1) direction from the Planning Inspectorate the reasoning seems to be the impending mortality of the witnesses. It would seem the Inspectorate are of the view a good life expectancy is essential if you are ever to get off the Kirklees “Priority Matrix” for rights of way claims. You’ve got to laugh….