Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 3rd December, 2015 10.00 am

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

Contact: Rachel Graves 

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies


Apologies were received from Forum members Rhoda Bailey, Dale Langham and Linda Rose, and from Mike Taylor, Rights of Way Manager.


Poynton Relief Road and Woodford Aerodrome Update

Simon Bird and Rachel Whitehead, Jacobs


Simon Bird and Rachel Whitehead from Jacobs attended the Forum and gave an update on the development of the Poynton Relief Road.


The latest design for the proposed route was shared with the Forum. The outcome of the non-motorised user surveys, which had taken place at five sites along the proposed route, were presented.


It was reported that the shared use path on the west side of the road had been widened to 3.5 metres in width following discussions with user groups and that a new footpath link would be created on the east side of the road from the runway path northwards to link with existing public footpath No.80.


It had been proposed within plans for the Woodford Aerodrome development that a path could be created along the old runway and link to Public Footpath No.80 Poynton with Worth to provide access from the new houses to Poynton. However, it was noted that an existing railway bridge over Public Footpath No.80 had a low headroom height and therefore it was not feasible to have a straight route into Poynton.


The Forum asked questions about the status of the paths being created in the new Woodford Aerodrome housing development and how they would link to existing public rights of way. They also asked about segregation on the shared user paths and the type of crossing being provided at the roundabout with the A523.


The Forum commented that they were content with the design for the proposed Poynton Relief Road and that they appreciated how far Jacobs had accommodated the Forum’s requests.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 73 KB


Matters Arsing


Minutes 28 Permissive Paths on Cheshire East Council Land

It was suggested that improved signage be requested to highlight links to promoted public rights of way routes.





That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2015 be confirmed as a correct record.


Reports from Members


North West LAF Chairs' Meeting pdf icon PDF 50 KB


Bob Anderson reported on the North West LAF Chairs’ meeting, held on 15 October 2015.  A copy of his report had been included in the agenda.


The meeting had discussed the withdrawal by Natural England of funding for the Regional Co-ordinator and also the future of the Chairs’ meetings.


The Chairs’ meeting had, following discussion, voted to continue with the regional meeting. Bob stated that he had abstained on the grounds that he was unsure if the meetings were worthwhile or not - they had value for the exchange of information but were ineffective in other ways.


The Chairs’ meeting had also proposed and agreed that the Chairman should write to Chief Executives of all local authorities asking for funding of £25.  Bob reported that he had not supported this idea and had explicitly asked that the letter should not be send to Cheshire East Council as he felt less than happy about the principle of asking local authorities to pick up Natural England’s funding deficit and was dismayed by the idea of Chief Executive’s receiving a begging letter for such a derisory sum of money.


The Forum confirmed that they supported the stance taken by Bob on the two issues.



Rural Road Safety Sub Group


It was reported that it had not been possible for Linda Rose to attend the Cheshire Association of Local Council meetings due to the short notice of the meeting dates.


The Forum’s booklet on Driving Safely on Rural Roads had been printed and copies were available at the meeting to take away.  The leaflet was to be distributed widely, including in country parks, and was to be made available online and via social media.


Forum Publicity


As Carole Bentley had indicated that she would be standing down at the end of her term of office, a successor was required to lead on publicity.  It was requested if anybody was interested to let the Chair know.



Access for All Sub Group


There was nothing to report at present.


Waterways Sub Group


Pat Featherstone reported that she had been trying without success to arrange a meeting with the Canal and River Trust and would continue to pursue with the contacts she had.


Other Reports


It was reported that the A556 underpass would have a headroom height of 3 metres.  A height of 2.8 metres had originally been proposed and that at the planning inquiry the Inspector had stated 3 metres. The Forum noted it disappointment in this outcome, but noted also that the involvement of the Forum had resulted in an improvement over that originally proposed.


Members' Intention to Stay on Forum for a further 3 Year Term pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Bob Anderson


The Term of membership for the Forum was three years.  For the majority of the present members this would mean that their period of membership would come to an end in March 2016. 


Members present were asked to indicate on the form circulated if they wished to be re-considered for appointment for a further three year period.




Outline of Cheshire East Local Access Forum Presentation to Other Organisations pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Bob Anderson/Genni Butler

Additional documents:


One of the Forum’s priorities was to raise publicity and increase people’s awareness of the Forum and its work.


One suggestion for achieving this was to offer to deliver presentations to other organisations.  A draft presentation had been created which covered the role, work and priorities of the Forum.  


Genni Butler went through the slides of the presentations and asked for suggestions for improving them, and also for suggestions of possible audiences and for Forum members willing to make presentations.


Suggested amendments included the inclusion of a map of Cheshire East, location of country parks and promoted walks; inclusion of figures such as the length of public rights of way in supplementary information; contribution to rural economy; include user quotes on slides; change order of slides, and  include more pictures of flora and fauna.


Suggested audiences included Ramblers Groups, Walking Groups, U3A, WI, Rotary Groups, Tourist Businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships, and Town and Parish Councils.


Rail Diversion Orders for Public Rights of Way in Cheshire East pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Mike Taylor


Genni Butler updated the Forum on the progress of discussions with Network Rail on the diversion of Public Rights of Way which crossed railway lines by the use of level crossings.


Network Rail had adopted a policy of, wherever possible, closing level crossings and if they cannot close them, they would make them as safe as possible.  In Cheshire East there were 29 at-grade public rights of way level crossings.  The Public Rights of Way Team had held a number of meetings with Network Rail which had resulted in an agreed programme of work to promote a number of rail crossing diversions and extinguishment orders with a pilot programme for a number of paths in the Mobberley area crossing the Chester to Manchester line.   


The approach being taken by the Public Rights of Way Team would be identical to conventional Public Path Orders in that, whilst assessing proposals against the legal tests in the legislation, the Team would also try to minimise any net loss in either walking/riding experience or network length.  To date, negotiations between Network Rail and landowners in the Mobberley area had stalled.


Rail crossing orders were also proposed in the parish of Stapeley, Nantwich. At present two Public Footpaths ran parallel between Clonners Field and London Road, approximately 100m apart.  Planning permission had been granted for a bridge structure, with ramps and steps, to replace the at-grade level crossing on Stapeley Public Footpath No.2.  This was the most westerly of the two Public Footpaths and the one that would form the most likely desire line between residential areas and the town centre.  Network Rail was proposing to stop-up the more easterly at-grade level crossing on Public Footpath No.12 Stapeley and a division would be offered to connect users to the proposed footbridge.


Deregulation Act 2015 and 20126 Cut-Off Date Implications pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Mike Taylor


Genni Butler reported on sections of the Deregulation Act 2015 which relate to the use of land.


The Act had 14 parts and 116 sections, with sections 20 to 26 affecting Public Rights of Way.  Within these sections were a multitude of changes in procedure and processes which in brief intended to act as a package of legislative reform to set a start date for the operation of:


·         The provisions in Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 for the ‘cut off’ date for extinguishing certain rights of way if they were not recorded on definitive maps

·         The provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000) to prevent any additional routes being added to definitive maps as BOATs

·         The provisions of Highways Act 1980 (as amended by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and further amended by Deregulation Act) to provide a formal right to apply for certain Public Path Orders, with associated rights of appeal.

·         The provisions of the Highways Act 1980 (as amended by the Deregulation Act) to extend the power to authorise gates to apply to Restricted Byways and BOATs

·         The amendments being made by the Deregulation Act to other provisions in Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 relating to the procedure for Definitive Map Modification Orders (e.g. removal of ‘reasonably alleged’, preliminary assessment procedure, new procedure for appeals, changes in publicity, disregarding certain objections).

·         The amendments being made by the Deregulation Act to other provisions in the Highways Act 1980 relating to the procedure for Public Path Orders (e.g. changes to publicity, disregarding certain objections).

·         The provisions in Highways Act 1980 (as amended by Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000) to provide extended powers for farmers to make temporary diversions of rights of way.


Supplementary procedures were required for the commencement of the provisions referred to above  and in order implement these statutory guidance was required.  DEFRA had stated that their timetable for the production of the supplementary procedures and guidance would allow the legislation to meet its commencement target of 1 April 2016.


Rights of Way Improvement Plan Update and Draft Implementation Plan 2015-2019 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Genni Butler

Additional documents:


Genni Butler updated the Forum on the Cheshire East Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2011-2026 Implementation Plan 2015-2019.


The Cheshire East Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2011-2026 had been approved in 2011. The Improvement Plan was required to contain a statement of the action which the authority proposed to take for the management of local Public Rights of Way, and for securing an improved network of those routes.  This was set out in rolling 4 year Implementation Plans, which detailed projects through which the policies and initiatives stated in the Improvement Plan would be delivered.


The first 4 year Implementation Plan for 2011-2015 had now expired and the second Implementation Plan covering 2015-2019 was now being prepared – a draft of which was shared with members.  The new Plan assessed the delivery of the preceding Plan and set out the intentions of the Council in relation to the period 2015-2019.  Once finalised, the Implementation Plan 2015-2019 would be presented to the Portfolio Holder for Open Spaces for approval.


Proposed Dates for Next Year's Meetings

10.00 am Thursday 17 March 2016 - East Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Crewe


10.00 am Thursday 16 June 2016 – Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield


10.00 am Thursday 15 September 2016 – East Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Crewe


10.00 am Thursday 1 December 2016 – Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield


The date of meetings in 2016 were agreed as follows:


10.00 am Thursday 17 March 2016 – East Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Crewe


10.00 am Thursday 16 June 2016 – Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield


10.00 am Thursday 15 September 2016 – East Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Crewe


10.00 am Thursday 1 December 2016 – Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield