Agenda and minutes

Countryside and Rights of Way Panel
Tuesday, 5th December, 2017 10.00 am

Venue: County Buildings, Stafford

Contact: Jonathan Lindop  Email: jonathan.lindop@staffordshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

14.

Minutes of meeting held on 13 October 2017 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2017 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

 

15.

Proposed Diversion of Public Footpath No 34. Loggerheads Parish pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Families and Communities

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities regarding the proposed diversion of Public Footpath No. 34 Loggerheads Parish under Section 119 of the Highway Act 1980. The proposed Order was being promoted by the owner of the land crossed by the path owing to their property being blighted.

 

Public Footpath No. 34 commenced at a point on The Dale (shown marked ‘A’ on the Plan attached to the report) running in a generally northerly direction to a point on Gravelly Hill (marked ‘B’ on the Plan). The effect of the Order to was to divert the entire length of the Path from a point commencing to the west of the original line on The Dale (shown marked ‘C’ on the Plan attached to the Order in a generally north easterly direction to a point on Gravelly Hill east of the original line (marked ‘E’ on the Plan).

 

The Definitive line of the Path had been unusable for over 50 years owing to a steep heavily wooded embankment at the rear of No. 103 The Dale and the applicant’s property, Woodside. However, an alternative ‘footpath’ was laid out to the west of both properties was available on the ground and this has been used by the public for many years.  This is the route of the proposed diversion.

 

Members noted that the proposals had been subject to informal consultation and advertisement on-site and that whilst one objection had originally received from Mr. Tim Wakelin, an adjacent land owner, on 30 October 2015 there had been no further correspondence received from him. Whilst the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society and Open Spaces Society had not raised objections to the proposal they had requested that work be undertaken to widen the Path to a width of two metres and install steps at The Dale end of the new route.

 

The owner of the majority of the land crossed by the proposed new route had provided their written approval for the path to be diverted. However, a short section of path crossed over unregistered land and special dispensation had been sought from the Secretary of State for the Environment in accordance with paragraph 3(c) of Schedule 6 of the Highways Act 1980 to erect notices, in an attempt to establish the ownership prior to the proposed Order being made. Members noted that no such persons had come forward during the consultation period.

 

It was proposed that the cost of making the Order was to be met by the County Council.

 

During the discussion which ensued the Chairman sought clarification of the efforts made by the Deputy Chief Executive to (i) establish the ownership of the unregistered land crossed by the proposed new route and (ii) contact Mr. Wakelin with a view to confirming whether or not he wished to maintain his informal objection to the proposed diversion.


 

 

Discussion also ensued on whether the applicant should be responsible for meeting the costs of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Rights of Way Review - Update

Oral report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Families and Communities

Minutes:

The Panel received an Oral report from the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities updating them on progress with regard to the County Council’s Rights of Way Review.

 

Although demand for County Council services was increasing, income received from external sources was declining. It was therefore necessary to identify significant savings from non-essential service areas including the Rights of Way function.

 

In order to help achieve the targets set out in the County Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), the Rural Development and Access team were undertaking a comprehensive review of their work which included consideration of the following workstreams:-

 

·         An appropriate route hierarchy and system for prioritising path enquiries, maintenance and Public Path Orders;

·         Roles and responsibilities of staff;

·         The suitability of supporting systems;

·         The role of users and stakeholder groups;

·         An Enforcement Protocol;

·         Income fees and charges. 

 

Currently the service area’s annual cost was £717,000 and the MTFS target was a saving of £290,000 by 2020/21.

 

A stakeholder consultation had been launched on 16 September 2017 in order to give interested parties an opportunity to shape how Rights of Way service would be managed in the future. The overarching aim was to focus the limited resources available on those routes and activities that were important to communities. The consultation deadline was 25 December 2017 and the results were to be incorporated into final proposals for consideration in early 2018.

 

During her presentation of the report, the Deputy Chief Executive emphasised that under the proposed new scheme, the County Council would not be disregarding its statutory responsibility in respect of Public Rights of Way designated as category C.

 

Whist it may take longer for issues on category C routes to get resolved - as this will happen when work is being carried out on nearby A or B routes or when issues can be clustered together in a particular area – all routes remain important. Where an issue poses an imminent danger, likely to result in a significant accident or injury, it will be dealt with quickly, irrelevant of the route’s category.

 

Members paid tribute to the Rural Access and Development Manager and her team for the good progress which had been made in conducting the Rights of Way Review to date.

 

RESOLVED – (i) That the report be received and noted.  

 

(ii) That a copy of the PowerPoint slides be forwarded to all Members for information.  

 

17.

HS2 Rail Link pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Verbal update by the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Place

Minutes:

The Panel received a briefing note from the Director of Economy Infrastructure and Skills updating them on recent developments with regard to HS2 – the proposed high speed rail link between London and north.

 

RESOLVED – That the briefing note be received and noted.

 

18.

Date of Next Meeting - Friday 9 February 2018 at 10.00 am

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the date of their next meeting be noted.