The old iron gate on Holmfirth 188 has long had a rather rustic arrangement for walkers to get through. For as long as I can remember the gate has been pegged ajar with a metal stake just wide enough for a walker to squeeze through but too narrow for a sheep or cattle. It seems to have worked pretty well for the past 30 years both for the farmer and walkers heading along this lovely part of the Kirklees Way.
Nothing lasts forever and we now have a very new gritstone obstacle course consisting of three hefty boulders placed in such a manner around the gate that it is actually impossible to squeeze through what was always a tight gap.
Now I’m not a huge advocate of british standard specifications for stiles and gates in locations such as this and enjoy the wide range of solutions farmers come up with to keep land stock proof whilst allowing walkers to pass. The new arrangement here fails that most basic standard of allowing free passage and amounts to an obstruction of the public footpath.It needs changing as soon as possible.
The most striking aspect of the work carried out here is the time and trouble gone to in sourcing the stones, getting them into this location and arranging them in such a way. It must of taken hours to do! I rather think it would have been more cost effective for the landowner to nip along to the gate with a drill, couple of new hinges and a latch to properly rehang the gate.
It’s worth pondering how anyone could have such disregard for public access along a public footpath in the Peak District National Park. The path is on the popular Kirklees Way and links the Holme Valley with the Pennine Way. I’m sure if whoever has built this obstruction had approached the Peak Park or the landowner,Yorkshire Water assistance or advice would have been given on the best course of action to maintain public access and keep the land stock proof. A kissing gate for instance?
Just a couple of footsteps along Meltham Footpath 21 and away from Huddersfield Road transports the walker into a typically English green space. A tall holly hedge full of blackbirds, butterflies amongst the uncut grass, the sound of running water from a hidden beck and shady woodland ahead.
These places are all the more valuable because of their closeness to centres of population. And they are all the more vulnerable because of that proximity and access to the roads,motorways and industry that goes with it.
I see the public footpath, hedge , beck and open space as having a value beyond money. By putting one foot in front of the other we can all benefit from these places both physically and mentally. In an increasingly angry, distressed,obese and diabetic society this stock exchange of the countryside can only rise.
The current speculative planning application to potentially build on this land is likely to lead to the loss of Meltham Footpath 21 and it’s green open space. In the greater scheme of things this is not the end of the world but look around and you will see many public green corners like this going under the bulldozer. Just a few fields walk away Meltham Footpath 26 has disappeared beneath a building site.
Will this be the fate of Meltham Footpath 21?
Comments on the application are open until 14th July 2017.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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.
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.
I took this photo of a popular bridleway in the valley above Digley on a recent evening walk. The bridleway used to serve a number of small holdings which were bought up by the water authority and closed before the construction of Digley dam. Consequently the valley and it’s network of footpaths & bridleways, along with the surrounding landscape, have remained largely untouched by modern development and are pretty much traffic free. A rare and valuable thing these days.
On my next walk here a series of planning notices had been posted advising of applications to develop the ruined farmsteads at Greave and Bartin. Now the only access to these properties (which have not been occupied for over 70 years) are Holmfirth Bridleways 68 and 189. Bartin is over 2,300 metres from the road network along these unmade and narrow bridleways.
I looked up the applications on the Peak Park Planning website and read through the forms and supporting documentation and could find no reference at all to the fact that Bartin & Greave are accessed via 2,300 metres of public bridleway. It seemed quiet an oversight to me. Public rights of way are a material consideration in the planning process. So I e mailed the planning officer to ask why the bridleways had not been mentioned either in the application or on the Peak Parks Planning website and was told-
In relation to the impact upon the access, it is for the applicant to include whatever information they consider appropriate for consideration, and so I cannot answer your question regarding why more information has not been submitted in relation to this.
Helpful? Not really is it?
Radicalised by this bureaucratic indifference I fired off my simple concerns ie that the bridleways could not withstand an intensification in vehicular traffic,that such an intensification would lead to conflict with other users and that in a traffic free valley the character of the bridleways and the publics enjoyment of them would be damaged by introducing the car.
I know this is all really dull stuff but what’s at stake here is a wonderful unspoilt area of traffic free countryside.