Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 4th December, 2014 10.00 am

Venue: The Tatton Room - Town Hall, Macclesfield SK10 1EA. View directions

Contact: Rachel Graves 

No. Item


Welcome, Apologies and Introductions


Apologies were received from Pat Featherstone, Gillian Herdman and Dale Langham.


Congleton Relief Road Update

Dominic Flynn


Dominic Flynn and Paul Griffiths updated the Forum on the development of the Congleton Relief Road. 


It was reported that a survey of non-motorised users had been carried out. The data would be used for the environmental assessment and to inform the design of the road.  A map was shared with members showing the location of public footpath, bridleway and cycle routes and how the new road would affect them. 


A Pegasus crossing would be provided at the Manchester Road junction.  This was confirmed as an important crossing for cyclists and horse riders.


It was noted that it was proposed that a section of Public Footpath No.2 Eaton was to be stopped up, with users diverted to use the existing footpath on the verge of Manchester Road.  Concern was expressed over this proposal as the footpath was used for recreational use and it was asked if a footbridge or underpass could be provided.  It was considered that this Public Right of Way would be even more important following the development of the area between the new road and the existing town, and would form a key access to the countryside for residents.


It was confirmed that National Cycle Route 73 would be retained on Chelford Road as provision would be made for the route to cross the new Link Road via an overbridge.  The cycle route had been included in the non-motorised users survey.  The Forum was pleased to see the retention of this important link.


The proposed shared use path along side the new road would only be on one side (south) of the Link Road due to the number of junctions on the route and crossings needing to be provided.  It was proposed that this shared use path be available for pedestrians and cyclists, but the Forum commented that horse riders would no doubt also wish to use the route.  The Road was designed as a local bypass road, which would provide access to future development areas.


The requirement was raised for any bridge parapets to be designed and constructed to a standard suitable for equestrian usage, including parapet height and solid kickboard.


It was requested that any further comments be sent to Genni Butler who would forward them to Dominic Flynn.




Reports from Members


Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 11 September 2014 pdf icon PDF 33 KB




That the minutes of the meeting held on 11 September 2014 be agreed as a correct record.


Rural Road Safety Group


Linda Rose reported that a workshop had been arranged for 14 January 2015 to which Parish and Town Councils had been invited to send a representative to discuss rural road safety and identify hot spots and put forward potential feasible improvements. It was hoped that a representative of Cheshire East Highways would be able to attend. 


Forum Publicity


Carole Bentley reported on the articles In the local papers, copies of which had been circulated to all members and that the she would be involved in publicity of the Rural Road Safety Sub Group’s workshop.


Access For All Sub Group pdf icon PDF 1 MB


The Council was preparing a new leaflet More Walks for All, which the Forum had been assisting with by putting forward suggestions for accessible walks and undertaking initial surveys to gather information. 


Twelve routes had been identified for possible inclusion in the new leaflet.  These routes were being surveyed and permission was being sought from landowners for the inclusion in the leaflet. 


Genni Butler thanked the Forum members for their route suggestions and survey work to help produce the leaflet.


North West Chairs' Meeting


The Chairman had attending the North West Chairs’ meeting on 14 October 2014 and had previously circulated a note of the meeting.  The meeting had discussed the English Coastal Path; the situation with LAFs in the Greater Manchester region; collaboration with Local Nature Partnerships and Local Enterprise Partnerships; Training, and the venue for the 2015 national conference.


The Chairman reported the Forum was now a member of the Cheshire East Rights of Way Consultative Group and that he had attended the meeting in November.  The Group met twice a year and he would attend the meetings in Crewe and Pat Featherstone would attend the meetings in Macclesfield.




Forum Volunteers: Co-opting and Recruitment pdf icon PDF 25 KB

Bob Anderson


At the last meeting the Forum had discussed the co-opting and recruiting of members.


A report was received which detailed the Regulations governing Local Access Forums and the cost of advertising and recruiting members. 


Due to the costs and time involved the idea of rolling membership, with one third standing down each year and the opportunity to appoint new members annually, was deemed impractical.  The Forum did however have the powers to co-opt, so it would be able to co-opt individuals if the need arose. 


It was noted that the three year appointment cycle could lead to the entire Forum leaving at one time and it was therefore suggested that members indicate six months ahead of the end of their term if they wished to stand.


The Rights of Way team used volunteers for specific tasks and it was suggested that volunteers be sought when dealing with a specific issue/task for which they may have expertise. 


Forum 'Half Term' Evaluation

Bob Anderson


The Chairman asked Members for their views on the progress made by the Forum since its formation in April 2013.


It was felt that after an initial hesitant start, the Forum had started to work together and this had led to the identification of priority work areas.  Sub Groups had been established on Rural Road Safety, Access for All and Publicity to take the work areas forward. 


The work of the Sub Groups was seen a strong and proactive point of the Forum. Publicity had been successfully generated on the activities of the Forum in the local press and this in turn had led to an invite to lead a workshop at the Northern LAF Conference.  The Access for All Sub Group had been involved in the creation of a new leaflet of walks by identifying and surveying the routes.  The Rural Road Safety Group was working towards holding a workshop with Parish Councils and User Groups to identify rural road safety hotspots and put forward potential, feasible improvements. 


The Forum had also been consulted on the provisions for non-motorised users on a number of new road schemes and had been successful in influencing the facilities being provided through discussions and letter communications.


Turning to the future, it was considered that perhaps the Forum should take a broader view on countryside access issues – not just focusing on public rights of way.


It was suggested that the Forum link into health issues and promote the use of public rights of way for health and exercise.


In relation to publicity it was discussed whether the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, could be used to further highlight the Forum’s work, and also that responses to consultations be publicised.


It was felt that the Forum should not just offer advice to Cheshire East Council but to other public bodies such as the Health and Wellbeing Board, the Local Enterprise Partnership, Local Nature Partnership and to the Department for Transport and Department of Health.  The Forum could also develop links with other Local Access Forums and consider opportunities for joint working.


Update on Cheshire East Council Restructure affecting Public Rights of Way and Countryside Ranger Service

Mike Taylor


Mike Taylor reported on the review of the Public Rights of Way Team and Countryside Management Service, which was undertaken to decide on the most appropriate location for the teams within the Council’s structure and delivery models.


A three month review had been undertaken into the work of the two services, with the consultants spending time with officers looking into what they did and how the services operated.


The outcome of the review was that Public Rights of Way and the Countryside Management Services would remain together and become part of the Council’s Visitor Economy, Culture and Tatton Park service. The Team would still be based at the Municipal Buildings, Crewe.


Public Rights of Way Resources pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Mike Taylor


The Forum received details of the financial and staff resources of the Public Rights of Way Team.   Forum members commented on the maintenance cost per km and the decreasing revenue budget and asked about the impact of wet weather on the network.


Draft Deregulation Bill - Progress Through Parliament

Mike Taylor


Mike Taylor reported on the progress with the Deregulation Bill.


The Bill proposed changes to the Definitive Map Modification process and other legal processes relating to Public Rights of Way. The Bill had been through the House of Commons and was now progressing through the Committee stage in the House of Lords. A lot of changes had been made to the Bill as it had progressed through Parliament and an update on those affecting Public Rights of Way would be given at the next meeting.  It was expected that the Bill would come into being in April 2015. 


Update on Brereton Bridleway No.31 River Erosion Issue

Mike Taylor


Mike Taylor updated the Forum on progress with Brereton Bridleway No.31 and reported that a number of options were being considered by the Council’s legal department on moving the legal line of the bridleway.  Once a decision had been made a further report would be brought to the Forum.


Rights of Way Improvement Plan Update pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Genni Butler


Genni Butler reported on the progress with the current projects in the Cheshire East Rights of Way Improvement Plan.  These included:


·         Dane Meadow, Holmes Chapel

·         The Carrs, Wilmslow

·         Crewe Footpaths No.3 and 36 upgrade to cycle track

·         Cranage to Holmes Chapel proposed off road link

·         Middlewood Way and station access path, Poynton

·         High Legh off road link to school from housing area

·         Funding from Public Health Transformation Fund for development and promotion of local circular walk in Crewe


New Matters Arising



Cheshire East Council Parks Strategy


Cheshire East Council was consulting on a draft Parks Strategy.  A copy had been circulated to Forum members for comments.  The closing date to complete the on-line survey was 5 December 2014.


Members commented that there was no mention of cyclists, horse riders or carriage driving in the document despite the fact the Parks listed were widely used by these groups.  There was no mention of who the park users were and it was suggested that a paragraph was required at the beginning clarifying this point.  It was also noted that there were no mention of user groups being included in the development of individual Park management plans.  It was queried if the CABE Space best practice guidance for open space strategies had been used to develop this Strategy.


It was agreed that Linda Rose, Chris Driver and John Handley would liaise with Genni Butler to draft a response to the consultation.





Dates of Meetings in 2015

Thursday 12 March 2015 – 2.00 pm in the East Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, CW1 2BJ


Thursday 11 June 2015 – 10.00 am in the Silk Room, Macclesfield Town Hall, Macclesfield, SK10 1EA


Thursday 10 September 2015 – 10.00 am in the East Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, CW1 2BJ


Thursday 3 December 2015 – 10.00 am in the Silk Room, Macclesfield Town Hall, Macclesfield, SK10 1EA




The date of meetings in 2015 were agreed as follows:


Thursday 12 March 2015 at 2.00 pm in the East Committee Room, Municipal Building, Earle Street, Crewe, CW1 2BJ


Thursday 11 June 2015 at 10.00 am in the Silk Room, Macclesfield Town Hall, Macclesfield, SK10 1EA


Thursday 10 September 2015 at 10.00 am in the East Committee Room, Municipal Building, Earle Street, Crewe, CW1 2BJ


Thursday 3 December 2015 at 10.00 am in the Silk Room, Macclesfield Town Hall, Macclesfield, SK10 1EA