Bartin & Greave Planning Update 1

Bartin (1 of 1)
Bartin

The heather’s in bloom on Goodbent Moor and the old farmstead of Bartin is part of this beautiful landscape.

We’re told by the Peak Park planners that the applications (Bartin & Greaves Planning Applications) to “develop” the sites at Bartin and Greave Farms will now be decided at the Planning Committee in Bakewell on 8th September 2017.

Useful information should you wish to attend.

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 democratic.services@peakdistrict.gov.uk.”

The cost of doing nothing 2

Byway 221 obstruction 1 (1 of 1)

Kirklees Council continues to tie itself in knots over Huddersfield Byway 231. The recent planning applications at Nether Moor Farm illustrate the council’s duplicity on the issue.

Back in October 2015 the Director of Place, Jacqui Gedman suggested in an email to one of the 50 members of the public who have reported the byway blocked that –

As you are aware the status of this route is disputed by the landowners, who have not accepted the classification of Byway Open to All Traffic, and feel that it is in fact a permissive route that they now wish to withdraw permission from.

As such the land owners have put up a number of obstructions and placed signage that supports that view.

Regards

Jacqui Gedman

This has been the Council’s position for the past two years and has been relied on as an argument for permitting  the closure of Byway 231.

Surprisingly  the council also hold the view that Huddersfield Byway 231 at Nether Moor Farm does in fact exist and is not in dispute. This has been shown through the planning consultation process and is available for anyone to see at Huddersfield Byway 231 Planning process

As can be seen in the Planning Notice below (signed by the very same Jacqui Gedman, Director of Place) there is a clear and unambiguous footnote which refers to  Byway 231 and advises the applicant   that “public byway 231 must not be interfered with or obstructed”.

Here’s an extract from the Notice –

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 PLANNING PERMISSION FOR DEVELOPMENT
Application Number: 2016/62/92802/W

Note:Public footpath HUD/233/10 and public Byway HUD/231/20 must not be interfered with or obstructed, prior to, during or after development works. The Council’s Public Right of Way unit may be contacted at Civic Centre 3, Huddersfield or by telephone no. 

Dated: 28-Oct-2016
Signed:
Jacqui Gedman Director of Place

The information which this footnote is based on comes from advice from the council’s public rights of way section . This is what they said when consulted on 17th October 2016. Again it is very clear and  unambiguous – Huddersfield Byway 231 at Nether Moor Farm does exist and should not be obstructed. No mention of any doubt as to its status.

2016/92802 & 2016/92803 Nether Moor Farm – PROW

No objection from public rights of way to the development proposal, please add to any consent the usual PROW FOOTNOTE regarding obstruction and interference of public rights of way (public byway open to all traffic Huddersfield 231 and public footpath Huddersfield 233).

PathWatch has contacted the council to ask for for an explanation regarding how the council can hold these two opposing views and in particular where has the council obtained information which proves the byway does exist? And why is it spending up to £10k of public money with Leeds City Council to investigate a status issue it seems to know the answer too? We didn’t just ask anyone we asked Jacqui Gedman (now Chief Executive) who has said the route is in dispute ( email of October 2015) but has also said categorically the route exists and should not be obstructed (Planning Notice October 2016)

As is the council’s way our questions were passed to someone more junior who had not written the email of October 2015 or signed the Planning Notice in 2016 and so perhaps was not the ideal person to answer. This first response  largely ignored the questions asked but instead answered imagined queries which justified the status quo –

“There is no irreconcilable conflict between the current temporary abatement of enforcement action and the standard informative footnotes provided in planning decision notices”

Eventually the council owned up to the following.

“KC PROW would appear to have considered Hud/231 to be a BOAT over some decades. It has been referred to as a BOAT over many years. Officers were advised that it was appropriate for the council to consider it a BOAT. The way is described as a BOAT in the definitive statement. This is part of the legal advice received which we have already identified to you as privileged.” 

NB BOAT is a byway open to all traffic

Clearly the Council has legal advice (which it will not make public) which states that the council should treat the Huddersfield Byway 231 as a byway. There is no element of doubt or challenge in that advice. The Council appear to be accepting that advice for purposes of the planning process but ignoring it when asked by the public to reopen the byway.

The Council should be far more transparent with the public on it’s dealings with Huddersfield Byway 231. It should –

  1. Publish all costs to date associated with the case.
  2. Publish the legal advice it has received on the matter.
  3. Explain fully why it holds two opposing views on the status of the byway.
  4. Agree an action plan with the public and user groups to reopen the byway quickly and at minimum cost.
  5. Investigate the landowners claims of status in a timely and efficient manner.
  6. Apologise for it’s performance to date.It’s worth noting that the taxpayer has footed the Council’s bill to date on this case to the tune of some £19,000 to £24,000 which we think is likely to be a fairly conservative figure. The landowner at this site has received some £12,776 of public subsidy for the years 2015 and 2016 whilst the byway has been obstructed. Cap Payments 2015

    Cap Payments 2016

When is a gate not a gate?

 

Gate (1 of 1)
Holmfirth 188 and the new rockery.

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?

Meltham Footpath 21

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Meltham Footpath 21

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.

MelthamFP21(3) (1 of 1)
Meltham Footpath 21

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.

Development (1 of 1).jpg
Meltham Footpath 26. No more walking to school dodging cowpats and puddles.

Will this be the fate of Meltham Footpath 21?

Comments on the application are open until 14th July 2017.

Comment here.

Meltham Footpath 21 under threat

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A Meltham Rainbow

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 application can be viewed here.

Meltham Footpath 21 Planning Application 

Comments are open until 13th July 2017

Bartin & Greave applications to be determined at Committee on 11th August

Bartin Greave 6 (1 of 1)
Bartin

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 democratic.services@peakdistrict.gov.uk.”

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.

 

Petition to create a bridleway in Honley Woods

DandyField (1 of 1)

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.

Sign Kirklees Bridleways Groups petition here.

Myers Group: Create a bridleway in Honley Woods