Marsden is a great place to go walking. From the canal and valley up onto wide open moorland there’s something for everyone here. The village has some good pubs and cafes for a bit of refuelling afterwards too.
There’s an active Walkers are Welcome group and you can see some of their work,plans for the future and vote for funding for the group here
Until fairly recently this field which is crossed by Holmfirth Footpath 31 produced an annual crop of silage around this time of year. The neighbouring fields were stocked with cattle and the public enjoyed walking here amongst land that has hardly changed since farming came to the valley. Agriculture has stopped now and this little green oasis off Woodhead Road is likely to be paved over and built on.
In the planning void which currently exists in Kirklees provisional open land like this is prey to developers. The council is in a wilderness of it’s own making caught between an out of date Unitary Development Plan and a new Local Development Plan. The council cannot demonstrate a five year housing supply and so land such as this is picked off by developers like wolves nailing a sickly deer out in the open.
The plan for this field and Holmfirth Footpath 31 is to build 70 houses here. You can’t blame the wolves for doing what comes naturally but you have to ask how has our local council allowed this situation to happen?
These green spaces and public rights of way are valued by many and this path is well used by locals. I walked the path today in warm August sunshine, surrounded by trees and with a view to Castle Hill. Swallows were feeding in the air above and there was a real sense of place, tranquility and amenity.
The path will still be there when the houses are built but the green grass,views and rural character will be gone. The path will be a ghost of it’s former self, contained by retaining walls, overlooked by residents who don’t want it, littered with garden waste probably and forced into a tunnel beneath a new road. The amenity and character of the path will be lost forever.
The plans can be viewed here but the deadline for comments is tomorrow!
These applications are not now to be considered by the Peak planning committee on 8th September.
There seems to be much going on behind the scenes. Keyland Developments Ltd (Yorkshire Water) have commissioned consultants to produce various reports on the structural,highway,archeological,heritage,birds and landscape effects of the proposals.
Credit to the Peak Park archeology, heritage and landscape sections who argue against the proposals as they are going ahead. Kirklees Rights of Way Unit stand up for the bridleway very well making some good points and an objection. The reports from Keyland Developments and counterpoints from the peak park are worth a read (honestly). Find them here
The bird survey is fascinating and confirms what a rich environment this area is for the likes of Curlews,Lapwings, Woodcock,Snipe etc. Both Bartin and Greave have Little Owls nesting in them but there’s no sighting of either Ring Ouzel or Sandpiper which I’ve observed here each summer. The bird surveyor believes there will be little disturbance from vehicles associated with the developments as access is so bad residents would wish to avoid driving along the bridleway as much as possible! Ironic as the application states that access is fit for purpose!
There’s nothing in these reports about how the public value,connect and enjoy the landscape as it is now. And that’s the big question isn’t it? Just what is that worth?Not just to us now but to those future generations who may never get to experience the solitude and sense of history a walk up this valley offers.
The NHS is creaking with diseases caused by affluence and inactivity. Rather than trashing our countryside and national parks we should be helping people make a connection with the outdoors that takes them beyond the fridge and diabetes clinics.
There’s a groundswell of support locally against the proposals with many people hitting the keyboard and sending in objections. Good to see the landscape and bridleway is valued by those who live here and enjoy it.
Clearly the corporate wolves are circling and what seemed to be a poorly prepared attack on this beautiful valley is now becoming more organised. Perhaps if they can’t make a kill first time by gaining planning permission they will try and finish things off on appeal?
Who’d have thought this would have run to 4 blog posts? I’m beginning to think this could go to a second series.
Yorkshire Water have previously confirmed that the land belongs to them and that as long ago as 4th July 2017 they asked their tenant to remove the boulders. That’s a full 8 weeks ago. I wonder why it is taking so long?
It’s interesting to compare this lack of activity on Yorkshire Water’s behalf with the situation at Bartin & Greaves Planning Applications which are a just a few hundred metres away . Having met a lot of well argued objections to these proposals Yorkshire Water (Keyland developments) have submitted some 6 reports/letters, compiled by consultants Wardell Armstrong to peak park planners in an attempt to justify the planning applications see here. One can only imagine the resources involved to produce these reports in such a small space of time. The planning consultations ended on 16th June and the reports arguing against the consultees are dated July. So it’s likely that a polite request to remove a simple obstruction from a public path on Yorkshire Water land has already taken up more time but produced no results. Why not put a kissing gate here ? Stock proof and pedestrian friendly. Kissing Gate Spec
Yorkshire Water has 2 tenants in this area and they are clearly capable people who run businesses and can meet deadlines. This is demonstrated by the fact that between them they claim over one hundred thousand pounds in public money via the CAP payments scheme. A condition of receiving such payments is that all rights of way on the land associated with the claim are open for public use. See here Cross Compliance
Unlike the hapless Kirklees Council Ceredigion County Council do things differently. Fair enough give someone a chance to do the right thing but if they don’t then use all the legal powers available. Here in Kirklees the council eagerly appease law breakers as a first and only option. Doing things right is cheaper, more effective, gives the public confidence and is of course what the council should be doing!
Following on from yesterday’s episode we contacted Yorkshire Water again to highlight the lack of progress.
I have walked this path again today and no attempt has been made to clear the boulders.
Could you please clarify if Yorkshire Water itself are responsible for the land and obstruction or whether it is entirely the Tennant’s responsibility?
I have also reported the issue to Kirklees Council but have heard nothing.
As such I believe I can myself serve a notice on the Council for removal of the obstructions and they are obliged to serve notice on the persons responsible hence my query above.
The issue would ultimately be resolved at Huddersfield Magistrate Court should the obstructions remain.
The following response was received this morning. As is the way with official bodies it doesn’t answer what was asked but seems slightly panicky and defensive.
Thank you for notifying this.
I have made numerous attempts to the tenant and still nothing has been done.
Myself and another colleague are looking into this. As we will need to take action on this matter.
So Yorkshire Water are “looking into this” and “will need to take action”. That’s a little disappointing considering the length of time this difficult obstruction has now been in place and the degree of inconvenience which is being caused to the public.
We contacted Yorkshire Water directly as the Highway Authority, Kirklees Council, seems to have disregarded its own legal obligations with regard to public rights of way and enforcement. The hope was that Yorkshire Water would be able to sort out this relatively straightforward issue in a timely manner by speaking directly to its Tenant.
However Kirklees Council, who are responsible for the footpath and for keeping it open and available for public use were informed on 17th July 2017 of the obstruction. They very helpfully and gave us our own unique reference number.
Your unique reference number is: 3578243 Your request will be dealt with as soon as possible. Kind regards, Kirklees Council
Since we’ve heard nothing further we contacted Kirklees Council again today and they very helpfully gave us another unique reference number!
Your unique reference number is: 3590269 Your request will be dealt with as soon as possible. Kind regards, Kirklees Council
The point of all this is to demonstrate how under valued and increasingly forgotten our public rights of way network is becoming. No one wants to know. There is no self remedy here. The boulders need a machine to move them and most walkers don’t carry that kind of kit!
Kirklees Council is super keen at the moment on people volunteering in its parks,open spaces and public rights of way Natural Kirklees. It seems to be a one way street with the council happily taking free labour and publicity but refusing to carry out the work which volunteers cannot do such as removal of illegal obstructions. You can of course have as many unique reference numbers as you wish!
This original approach to obstructing a public footpath,Holmfirth Footpath 188 on the Kirklees Way and in the Peak District National Park,was discovered and reported to the landowner Yorkshire Water on 4 July 2017. Yorkshire Water got back to us the same day with a straightforward and positive response.
“This is YWS land and I have emailed the Tenant asking him to remove the obstruction.”
Job sorted then? You’d have thought it would only take a matter of minutes to drive down with the machine that placed the stones there and remove them?
Unfortunately not. It seems it is a relatively easy task to source large boulders from the old quarry nearby, to move them one by one down a rough track and place them neatly in order to completely block a public footpath. But not so easy to shove them aside.
As the path was still obstructed on 12th July despite Yorkshire Water’s positive response we contacted them again to be told.
“I have contacted the landowner today to ask him to remove the obstruction. However this may take a few weeks.”
We walked the path again this afternoon (quite a few weeks later) to find the boulders still in place.
It does make Yorkshire Water’s invitation on their website to “come and explore” ring a little hollow.
As one of Yorkshire’s biggest landowners, Yorkshire Water take care of 72,000 acres of stunning countryside and invite you to come and explore it.
Whether you fancy a gentle stroll around a reservoir, a bike ride with the family, a bit of pony trekking or an afternoon’s fishing or sailing, there’s plenty to choose from.
Opening up our land for you is part of our Blueprint for Yorkshire, our plan to take even better care of our little part of the world.