Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 10th September, 2015 10.00 am

Venue: East Committee Room - Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe, CW1 2BJ. View directions

Contact: Rachel Graves 

No. Item


Welcome, Apologies and Introductions


Apologies were received from Dale Langham and Pat Featherstone.


The Forum welcomed two new members – Maurice Palin and Gemma Roberts, to the meeting.


Poynton Relief Road

Simon Bird, Jacobs


Simon Bird and Rachel Whitehead from Jacobs updated the Forum on the development of the Poynton Relief Road.


The Plans for the proposed route of the Relief Road were shared with the Forum, who asked if the housing development on the Woodford Aerodrome site could be included on the plans as this would allow for better understanding of the scale of future demand and the line of travel for non-motorised users from the site to Poynton.


It was reported that two surveys of non-motorised users had been carried out in August and a further two would be carried out shortly.


The Forum was interested in the results of these surveys as they showed the usage of these paths by the local community, especially by cyclists and pedestrians.  However the Forum was concerned that the method used to collect the data did not collect information on disabled users as not all disabilities were visible and that interviews with users would be determine this better.


It was proposed that two bridges be built for the Public Rights of Way affected by the Relief Road.  The Forum requested that these bridges be designed to the British Horse Society specification for new bridges.   It was noted that the path which was to be created on the runway of Woodford Aerodrome would be bisected by the Relief Road and the Forum asked why an additional bridge could not be provided at this location as this was likely to be the main route between the Woodford housing development and Poynton town centre. 


The Forum noted that it was proposed that the shared user route would only be on the western side of the Relief Road and asked it this could be redesigned so that it was on both sides of the road, as it was on the Alderley Edge bypass.


The Chairman thanked Jacobs for attending and invited them to a future meeting to give an update on the points raised by the Forum.


Access to Canal Towpaths

Marcus Chaloner, Canal and River Trust


Marcus Chaloner, National Urban Design Team Manager at the Canal and River Trust gave a presentation to the Forum on towpath access.


He informed the Forum that there was 1,500 miles of towpaths, which were used by boaters, walkers, joggers, cyclist, anglers and naturalists.  To encourage better shared towpath use, the Trust had published guidance - “Better Towpaths for Everyone”.  Towpaths were not segregated between users but pedestrians had right of way and cyclists encouraged to give two rings on their bell when passing.


The Trust wished to develop canals as a place to visit.  For example they had produced a leaflet about the canal in Nantwich which listed things to do and the facilities available.

The Trust had developed a National Towpath Design Guide for towpath resurfacing projects following user group consultation.   The Guide set out a clear context led process to follow and highlighted areas to be taken into consideration such as the local context, user requirements and path design. 


A National Access Plan was being developed which would record the conditions of towpaths, with information being collected by volunteers using technology developed by the Trust.  Information on the state of the path surface, what it was made up of, accessibility points and obstructions would be recorded on the Trust’s GIS system.  Once all the information had been collected a strategy would be developed on how the public could access this information. 


The Forum asked questions on the maintenance of towpaths, cutting of hedges and brambles, access to towpaths and water access for canoeists, the recording of towpaths as public rights of way, use by horse riders, and highlighted the need for access links between towpaths and public footpaths.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 11 June 2015 and Matter Arising pdf icon PDF 76 KB


Matters Arising


Minute 15b – Rural Road Safety Group


Kathleen Nixon attended the meeting to speak to the Forum on verge obstructions.  She had seen an article in the local press regarding this issue and stated that she had been issued with white posts by the Council for the verges outside her home due to problems with large agriculture vehicles causing damage. 


The Chairman responded that the Forum recognised that this was a problem, it was drawing attention to the fact that verges provided a safe haven for non-motorised users and should not be obstructed.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2015 be confirmed as a correct record, subject to the following amendment:


Minute 16 – Canoeing and Waterways Access – the Forum’s Potential Role

The second to last sentence of the third paragraph be amended to read as follows:


“Less than 4% of rivers in England and Wales have undisputed public access or have a statutory right of navigation.”


Recent Recruitment Exercise: Response and Ideas for Co-option of More People

Bob Anderson


The Chairman reported on the recent recruitment exercise for Forum members, which had resulted in the appointment of two new members, with a third member not taking their place at the present time. 

Forum members were asked for ideas on what else the Forum could do to increase the membership and for suggestions of people who could be co-opted.


Review of Current and Future Activities of Sub Groups pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Bob Anderson


The Forum reviewed their current activities and considered ideas for future sub group’s activities.


It was noted that Carole Bentley had indicated that she would be standing down when her term of office ended and therefore a volunteer was required to lead on publicity. 

To help promote the Forum, a pull up banner had been designed and was shared with the Forum, who suggested a number of changes.  The banner would be available for any event that Forum members were attending.

The issue of road safety was being handed over to parish councils, under the lead of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils.

The More Walks for All booklet was due to be received from the printers shortly and members were asked to let Genni Butler know if they required any copies.

Suggested future activities included access to towpaths and waterways, and involvement in the development of Cheshire East Local Plan.


Permissive Paths on Cheshire East Council Land pdf icon PDF 285 KB

Genni Butler


Following discussion at previous Forum meetings on the recording of permissive routes on Cheshire East Council’s on-line Interactive Mapping system,  a report was received which attempted to estimate the scale of the work involved to record permissive routes on Cheshire East Council land.


A total of 193-Council owned sites had been identified as potenitally having permissive paths.  A decisions would need to be made as to what constitutes a permissive path. This would involve corporate level agreement with all relevant departments, including external Council-owned companies in order to identify them and  would require significant officer time to map and collate the data.


It was also noted that there were a considerable number of routes around the Borough which had the appearance of being Public Rights of Way but were not recorded as Public Highway on any of the Council’s records - the Definitive Map and Statement or the Highway department’s List of Streets. 


As part of the Deregulation Act 2015, it was expected that the cut-off date of 2026 would come into force for Definitive Map and Statement applications based on historical evidence.  It was not certain how large an increase in the number of applications this would lead to being submitted before the deadline came into force.


It was suggested that the Forum may wish to do consider publicising the deadline to ensure that historical evidence on unrecorded paths are submitted ahead of the 2026 cut-off date. 



Rights of Way Improvement Plan Update pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Genni Butler


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

·         Knutsford Footpath No.14 and 15

·         Congleton Bridleway No.31

·         CAMS Web Portal

·         Middlewood Way and station access path

·         Public Health funded circular walk in Crewe


Reports from Members


It was reported that Cheshire East Council was currently carrying out consultation on its draft Cycling Strategy.


Date of Next Meeting

10.00 am on Thursday 3 December 2015 in the Silk Room, Macclesfield Old Town Hall, Market Street, Macclesfield, SK10 1EA


The next meeting will be held on Thursday 3 December 2015 in the Silk Room, Macclesfield Town Hall.