Agenda and minutes

Countryside and Rights of Way Panel
Friday, 6th April, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Ivanovo Room - County Buildings. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

28.

Declarations of Interest in Accordance with Standing Order 16.2

Minutes:

Nil

29.

Minutes of meeting held on 9 February 2018 pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 February 2018 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.

 

30.

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Section 53 Modification Order Applications - Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Joint Local Access Forum

Oral report of the Chairman of the Forum

Minutes:

The meeting was attended by Mr. John Mills, the Chairman of the Staffordshire and Wolverhampton Joint Local Access Forum (JLAF) who had recently written to the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Panel regarding the backlog of applications under Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for Modification Orders to be made to the Authority’s Definitive Map of Public Rights of Way, awaiting determination.

 

The Chairman invited Mr Mills to address the Panel regarding the JLAF’s concerns.

 

Mr. Mills explained that the County Council’s backlog of 241 applications had been discussed at the JLAF meeting on 27 February 2018 following receipt of a written question by a Member of the Public regarding advice they might be able to offer the Authority with a view to reducing the backlog. He said that whilst the JLAF were aware of the financial constraints faced by the Council, their view was that positive action was urgently required in order to reduce the number of outstanding applications. Furthermore the current rate of determination (approximately one application per year) was unacceptable.

 

Continuing, he referred to additional work which might be generated by (i) the Government’s 2026 deadline for recording Rights of Way created prior to 1949; (ii) appeals submitted by applicants/landowners following decisions made by the County Council and (iii) Judicial Review proceedings being sought by interested parties following the Authority’s failure to deal with Directions issued by the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. He therefore strongly recommended that the County Council consider a comprehensive report on the situation which set out possible ways forward, as soon as possible.

 

The Chairman then thanked Mr. Mills for his attendance and conveying the views/concerns of the JLAF.     

 

31.

Proposed Extinguishment of Public Footpaths Nos. 1R/2231, No. 22(b) and No. 23(b) Great Wyrley Parish pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Report of Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Families and Communities regarding the proposed extinguishment of Public Footpaths Nos. 1R/2231, 22b and 23b, Great Wyrley Parish under Section 118 of the Highway Act 1980.

 

Public Footpaths Nos. 1R/2231, 22(b), and 23(b) ran through the grounds of Moat Hall Primary School and did not connect to any other Public Right of Way. Whilst the definitive lines of the paths had not been available for use by the public for several years, their existence presented security concerns for the school.

 

An alternative route existed on the eastern side of an adjacent brook which also provided connections to the wider Rights of Way network. However, whilst this path was not a Public Right of Way, it crossed land owned by South Staffordshire District Council and maintained by them for public access.

 

Members noted that the proposals had been subject to informal consultation and advertisement on site and no objections had been received from either the Ramblers Association, Peak and Northern Footpaths Society or Open Spaces Society. In addition they were supported by South Staffordshire District Council.

 

The cost of making and advertising the Order was to be met in full by the County Council’s Property Team.

 

In the discussion which ensued, the ‘Local’ Member for the area confirmed that she supported the proposals. However, she sought clarification of the status of (i) a small section of path at the southern end of Public Footpath No. 1R/2231 which she said was frequently used by parents of children attending the school and; (ii) the bridge at point E on the plan attached to the report. In reply, the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Families and Communities said that section of path referred to was not a public right of way and therefore its status would be unaffected by the proposals. Furthermore, the bridge would remain the responsibility of the current owner.


 

RESOLVED – (a) That the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Families and Communities be authorised to make an Order under Section 118 of the Highways Act 1980 to extinguish the full lengths of Public Footpaths Nos. 1R/2231, 22(b) and 23 (b) Great Wyrley Parish.

 

(b) That provisions be included in the Order such that it is also made under Section 53A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to amend the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way in consequence of the coming into operation of the extinguishments of the full lengths of Public Footpaths 1R/2231, 22(b) and 23(b) Great Wyrley Parish.                 

 

 

32.

Proposed Diversion of Public Footpath No 38 (Part) Stafford Town pdf icon PDF 207 KB

Report of Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Families and Communities regarding the proposed diversion of Public Footpath No. 38 (Part) Stafford Town under Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980. The proposed Order was being promoted by the County Council in order to safeguard the rights of the public and ensure that a safe, well maintained route was available for their use. The current line of the path was narrow, uneven and obstructed by dense vegetation.

 

Public Footpath No. 38 Stafford Town ran between Castle Street and Byway Open to All Traffic No. 37 Stafford in the Castlefields area. The path provided access to a recreation area used by Members of the Public and connection to the wider Rights of Way Network.

 

The effect of the Order was to divert that section of path marked A–B on the plan attached to the Order to a line marked A-C-D which ran along the northern side of a pond located to the south of the original line.

 

Members noted that the proposals had been subject to informal consultation and advertisement on site and no objections had been received. In addition, Stafford Borough Council owned the majority of the land crossed by the proposed diverted route and had provided written confirmation of their agreement to the proposals.

 

The cost of making and advertising the proposed Order was to be met in full by the County Council owing to the issues with the definitive route having developed over a number of years and the advantages of the proposed new route in providing a safe access for members of the Public.

 

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

 

(b) That the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Families and Communities be authorised to make an Order under Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980 to divert part of Public Footpath No. 38 Stafford Town, as set out in the report.

 

(c) That provisions be included in the Order such that it is also made under Section 53A of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to amend the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way in consequence of the coming into operation of the diversion of part of Public Footpath No.38 Stafford Town.                        

 

33.

HS2 Rail Link

Verbal update by the Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Place

Minutes:

There was no update available at the meeting on the HS2 Rail Link.

 

The Panel requested to be kept updated on developments with regard to HS2 as it impacted on the Rights of Way network in the County and having regard to their Terms of Reference.

 

34.

Exclusion of the Public

The Chairman to move:-

 

“That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) indicated below.”

 

 

PART TWO

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) indicated below.

 

 

PART TWO

35.

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Section 53 Modification Order Application - Alleged Public Footpath from Gallowstree Lane to Public Footpath 21, Mayfield Parish

(exemption paragraphs 1 and 2)

 

Report of the Director of Strategy Governance and Change

 

NB. Copies of all the User Evidence Forms submitted in connection with this application have been placed on deposit in the Members’ Library and will be available at the meeting.  

Minutes:

(exemption paragraphs 1 and 2)

 

Members said that owing to the report not following the County Council’s Corporate Housestyle they had insufficient assurance to be able to consider its contents and make recommendations regarding the Modification Order application under 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 relating to an alleged Public Footpath from Gallowstree Lane to Public Footpath 21, Mayfield Parish, at the current time.        

 

RESOLVED – (a) That the report be re-drafted using the County Council’s Corporate Housestyle and submitted to an additional meeting of the Panel to be arranged for mid to late May 2018.

 

(b) That the Director of Strategy Governance and Change (or an appropriate officer) be in attendance at the above-mentioned meeting in order to present the report and ensure that the Panel were properly briefed so that they may determine the application.    

36.

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Section 53 Modification Order Application - Alleged Public Bridleway (Public Footpath No. 73) Longdon Parish

(exemption paragraphs 1 and 2)

 

Report of the Director of Strategy Governance and Change

 

NB. Copies of all the User Evidence Forms submitted in connection with this application have been placed on deposit in the Members’ Library and will be available at the meeting. 

Minutes:

(exemption paragraphs 1 and 2)

 

Members said that owing to the report not following the County Council’s Corporate Housestyle they had insufficient assurance to be able to consider its contents and make recommendations regarding the Modification Order application under 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 relating to an alleged Public Bridleway (Public Footpath No. 73) Longdon Parish, at the current time.        

 

RESOLVED – (a) That the report be re-drafted using the County Council’s Corporate Housestyle and submitted to an additional meeting of the Panel to be arranged for mid to late May 2018.

 

(b) That the Director of Strategy Governance and Change (or an appropriate officer) be in attendance at the above-mentioned meeting in order to present the report and ensure that the Panel were properly briefed so that they may determine the application.