This is a cheeky little effort affecting Meltham Footpath 21 and the lovely green field which the footpath crosses. The Meltham Greenway also borders one side of the site and the field is designated as provisional open land in the Kirklees Unitary Development plan and would not normally be subject to development. The developers justifications for the site do make interesting reading and once again it would appear that Kirklees is failing to do things properly which in turn leads to threats to countryside access.
The planning permission applied for is for an access only to the site from Huddersfield Road and appears in reality an attempt to establish the principle of development on the site. There is no serious consideration of Meltham Footpath 21, the Greenway or loss of the open space.
The Bartin & Greaves Planning Applications for developing the two farmsteads which affect long stretches of Holmfirth Bridleways 69 and 189 will be determined by the Peak District National Park Planning Committee on 11th August 2017.
Members of the public can speak at planning committee and have 3 minutes to make a point! This is the process for attending as shown on the park’s website
“If a planning application is going to be considered by our planning committee, the authority’s public participation scheme allows anyone who requests to speak at the meeting to make their points directly to the people who make the decision (called the members).
You can ask a question, make a statement or hand in a petition on any item on the committee agenda. You will be allocated a time slot of three minutes and you may be asked questions about what you say.
You need to make a request by 12 noon two working days before the meeting by contacting Democratic Services by telephone on 01629 816 362 or 01629 816 382 or email email@example.com.”
The planning committee meets at Aldern House Baslow Road Bakewell Derbyshire DE45 1AE which makes it a bit of a day out from Holmfirth 🙂
The consultation period was extended for a month due to an “administrative error” which led to the required press adverts not being placed.
Honley Wood is one of the jewels in the Holme Valley countryside and does enjoy extensive public access on foot. However bridleway access for riders and cyclists is very limited and mostly operates on an informal basis.
For years there has been talk of creating something better at this site for riders in the form of a properly surfaced and maintained bridleway network. The area is something of a hub for riders with a thriving local livery on the edge of the woods.
Kirklees Bridleways group have done a lot of work here to raise funds for the scheme and get active support from local councillors but it seems Myers Group the landowner has got cold feet and hence a petition.
Regular readers will already be aware of the sorry and obstructed state of Huddersfield Byway 231The cost of doing nothing. Kirklees Council’s poor performance in asserting and protecting the publics legal rights to use the byway have effectively led to its stopping up.
A planning application ( 2017/62/91733/W) has been submitted to Kirklees council for the conversion of agricultural buildings to form 4 dwellings adjacent to the byway. The applicant is the owner of Nether Moor Farm who has admitted responsibility (with the council’s implicit encouragement I would argue) for obstruction of Huddersfield Byway 231. See here Huddersfield Byway 231 Obstructions
The only access to Nether Moor Farm and the proposed development is from Sandy Lane along Huddersfield Byway 231. This Western end of the byway is open to provide farm access but is blocked immediately after the farm.
The planning application’s Design & Access Statement refers to Huddersfield Byway 231 as “an unsurfaced accommodation road”. No direct mention is made to it’s public status.
If you’ve been paying attention you will know that public rights of way are a material consideration in planning applications and as such ought properly to be considered by any applicant and in due course the planning authority. If public rights of way information is not included then logically any such application is lacking and a full public consultation impossible.
Placing a development of 4 dwellings on an unmade public byway will have an impact in terms of a greatly increased flow of traffic and subsequent conflict with pedestrians,riders and cyclists. It will also adversely affect the publicly maintainable unmade surface. Furthermore it is likely to impact negatively on the publics enjoyment of the byway. All perfectly reasonable points which should be brought out and discussed fully in the public consultation.
Perhaps in the case of Huddersfield Byway 231 the applicant believes the byway is now permanently and legitimately closed? Perhaps Kirklees Councils indifferent performance in carrying out it’s simple statutory obligations has given this impression? How can Kirklees Council fairly judge this planning application which omits key information on public rights of way? Is Kirklees Council fit to judge this application when it has itself acted ouside of it’s statutory Highways Act duties for some two years in allowing the stopping up of this popular route?
Without any explanation the Peak District National Park has extended the consultation period for these planning applications to the 16th June 2017. The application numbers are NP/K/0317/ 0323 & 0324 & 0325 & 0326 and there is already a wealth of thoughtful comment which shows how this area and it’s public access is valued by walkers,cyclists,riders and conservationists. If you were going to comment but thought you’d missed the deadline do comment now via this link . Type in Bartin or Greave to get the applications.
Pathwatch will be contacting the Peak Park to find out what is going on but it would have been helpful if the Park had put a simple explanation up with the applications. Most of us are not experts and it’s hard enough to get to grips with the process and ensure that comments are made in good time and are appropriate to the applications. It’s easy to get the feeling the authorities would rather not know what the public thinks.
Huddersfield Byway 231 is a delightful green lane across unspoilt farm land right on the edge of Huddersfield. It’s been enjoyed by local walkers,riders and cyclists for decades. A couple of years ago the landowner made an excellent job of blocking it off completely with piles of manure,branches,tree trunks, barbed wire and a caravan.
The Council served several statutory notices on the landowner (based on legal records showing the byway on the Definitive Map & Statement) entiltling them,as highway authority, to remove said obstructions and reclaim the costs. So that means the Council could clear the public right of way on behalf of the 50 plus members of the public who reported the blockage but at no cost to the public!
A no brainer you’d have thought? You’d be wrong!
In fact the Council has decided to leave the bridleway closed (in direct conflict with its’ legal duty to do the opposite) for almost two years. Even the threat of being taken to court by a local riding group could not move the Council to fulfill it’s legal obligations.
Path Watch has written to both the Director and Assistant Director of Place (the senior managers responsible for rights of way at Kirklees) asking for an explanation. The reasons given include “The council is now considering its position as to how best meet its statutory obligations whilst still balancing actions in light of the wider public interest.”which seems odd given the Councils’ explicit legal duty to keep public rights of way open. What more is there to consider?Another reason given is ” the Council percieves that any future works to clear the obstructions would simpley be replaced by other new obstructions to the route” (Yes they really did say that). Again an odd justification, a bit like letting serial criminals off the hook because they’ll only do it again?
Sadly it gets worse. The Councils’ actions are not “cost neutral”(thier buzzword) but have in fact cost the public some £14,000 in unspecified legal fees and a further £5,000 to £10,000 payable to Leeds City Council for hiring a member of staff to “investigate the status of byway 231”. So the best part of 20 to 24 grand to look at something Kirklees already know the answer too. These investigations are almost open ended and in the meantime Kirklees Council advise no action will be taken to reopen the byway which is in direct conflict with it’s statutory duties.
I think it’s reasonable to ask why Kirklees council is taking this approach? Why is it taking no action to open a public byway that 50 members of the public have reported is obstructed? Why has it spent £14,000 on legal fees and up to £10,000 on an “external resource” to research the status of this byway when it already knows the answer? Why has it served several legal notices but not followed this through with enforcement action?