Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 17th March, 2016 10.00 am

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

Contact: Rachel Graves 

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies


Apologies were received from Carole Bentley, Chris Driver, Pat Featherstone and Gemma Roberts.


A500 Widening (A5020 to M6 Junction 16)

Rachel Whitehead, Jacobs


Rachel Whitehead and Karen Huxley from Jacobs attended the Forum and gave a presentation on the widening of the A500 from the M6 Junction 16 to the A5020 roundabout.


At this time it was only a proposal to widen the road to dual carriageway and Jacobs were looking at three options on how this could be done.  The proposals would affect a number of public footpaths and National Cycleway Network R70.   If it was decided to go ahead with the road widening  a non-motorised users context report, survey and audit would be carried out.  The Forum noted that usage of the Public Footpaths now would likely be supressed due to the road crossings involved.


The Forum welcomed, in principle, the replacement of at-grade crossings of the road with proposals for diversions of the Footpaths to bridge structures.  The Forum was concerned however that where Barthomley Public Footpath Nos.33 and 7 met to cross the A500 to join Public Footpath No.18 there was no proposal for a foot bridge and that it was instead proposed that these paths be diverted to cross the road using the two road bridges.  The Forum requested that the construction of a new footbridge be considered at this location.


It the road widening went ahead the two road bridges into Barthomley would be rebuilt.  The Forum asked that the parapets be built to the British Horse Society standard.  The Forum considered that widening the bridge structures to provide non-motorised use facilities just for the length of the bridge would be nonsensical.  The Forum considered that the construction of a new footbridge would be of greater benefit to users.


The Forum also asked if the possibility of public footpaths being upgraded to bridleway be investigated, but recognised that this would be outside the scope of the road scheme.


The Forum requested that future plans be presented to the Forum overlaid with Ordnance Survey information so that the wider context of proposals could be ascertained.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 79 KB


Matters Arising


Minute 34 – Minute 28 Permissive Paths on Cheshire East Council Land

It was agreed that the Chairman would write to user groups asking for locations of additional signage to highlight links to promoted rights of way routes.



The Chairman reported that he had written to Councillor Sam Gardner, Cabinet Member for Open Spaces to record the Forum’s appreciation of the support received from Cheshire East Council and that to date had not received a response.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2015 be confirmed as a correct record.


LAF National Conference pdf icon PDF 60 KB

Pat Featherstone


Pat Featherstone had attended the Local Access Forum National Conference (North), which had taken place on 1 March 2016 in Leeds.   A copy of her report on the event had been included in the agenda.


The Disabled Ramblers had given a presentation which included the use of Trampers.  The Chairman reported that he had previously visited a site in Lancashire which offered Trampers for hire and was advised that it was best if staff were based permanently at the hire venue to deal with any issues. Cheshire East Council did not have staff based permanently at any of its country parks.  It was understood that Trampers were available for use on the Ashton Canal towpath and Genni Butler undertook to contact the Canal and River Trust to see how their scheme operated.


It was noted that Lancashire County Council was consulting on a proposal to no longer provide non-statutory services and were proposing to cease providing the provision and maintenance of countryside sites in April 2016. 


Cheshire East Landscape Scale Partnership Workshop

John Handley


John Handley reported on the Cheshire East Landscape Scale Partnership Workshop he had attended at Quarry Bank Mill in January 2016. 


The aim of the workshop was to identify significant landscape characteristics and what was special, distinctive and valued about the area in order to provide a collective voice to influence land management, change and decision making. 


The starting point for discussions had been a briefing paper by Christopher Widger of the National Trust which outlined why the Cheshire East landscape was special, the cultural significance of the area, growth opportunities and development pressure and the importance of visitor economy to the area.


The information collected from the workshops and statements submitted to the project would be collated to create a document which it was hoped could be adopted as supplementary planning document.


It was suggested that Christopher Widger be invited to a future meeting of the Forum.



Consolidation of the Definitive Map and Statement and the Deregulation Act

Mike Taylor


Mike Taylor reported that the secondary legislation and guidance in relation to public rights of way arising from the Deregulation Actwas still awaited and expected to be published in July 2016.  There could be resource implications for the Service arising from the changes to procedures expected to be brought in under the legislation.


Work would be required to consolidate the Definitive Map and Statement.  The original Map and Statement would need to be updated to include the vast number of legal changes that had been made to the network since the Map was created.  Also errors and anomalies identified would need to be resolved.  The description details of the rights of way in the original Statement were sparse and would need to be amended to include more detailed description of the routes.  On completion of this work the new map would become the legal version of the Definitive Map and Statement.  Mike Taylor reported that he would like to undertake this work but lack of resources available prevented the Service from doing so at present. 


Reports from Members


Rural Road Safety Working Group


Linda Rose reported on the Pass, Wide and Slow campaign, which had been started by Debbie Jones to encourage motorists to pass horses wide and slow after having had numerous run-ins with motorists going too fast on lanes around Penzance.  A petition calling for it to be made a legal requirement when passing horses had been had been launched online to seek its debate in Parliament.


It was agreed that the Forum would look into supporting this campaign and, if appropriate, the Chairman would send a letter of support.


The Forum commented on where the Wheelock Rail Trail crossed the A534 Sandbach to Crewe Road that it was difficult to cross as traffic was busy and travelling fast and that no safe crossing point was provided.  Genni Butler commented that there had previously been an investigation to look at providing a bridge or underpass but no funding had been available and that this issue was included in the Rights of Way Improvement Plan.  It was agreed that the Chairman would write to the Council asking them to investigate if a central refuge or crossing could be installed.


Forum Publicity and Presentations to Outside Groups


Gemma Roberts had agreed to take on the role of publicity for the Forum.  She had met with the Chairman and Carole Bentley to discuss the role and exchange information. 


The Forum recorded their appreciation of the work Carole had undertaken in relation to publicity and it was agreed that the Chairman, on behalf of the Forum, would send a letter thanking her for the support and contributions to the work of the Forum.


Following the feedback received at the last meeting, the Presentation to Outside Groups had been revised and list of organisations drawn up.  These had been circulated to Forum members and members were invited to add to the list and offer to give presentations to groups with whom they were in contact with.


Access for All Working Group


There was nothing to report at present.


Waterways Working Group


There was nothing to report at present.


Other Reports: Cheshire Lakes proposal


Bob Anderson and Linda Rose reported on a presentation they had attended on proposals to use part of the former Mere Farm sand quarry at Chelford for a sports and leisure facility which would include a wakeboard park, rope course, canoeing and open water swimming. 


The Cheshire Lake proposals were in the early stages of development and a formal planning application would be submitted later in the year.


It was suggested that an accessible path could be created around the lakes.  A  public footpath, Chelford No.2, crossed the site from Stubby Lane to Alderley Road.  A cul-de-sac public footpath, Chelford No.12, also existed to the north of the site and it was suggested that it be investigated if this could be upgraded to bridleway and a link made to Chelford No.2 and onto Stubby Lane as it would provide a link to other bridleways/byways in the area.


Rights of Way Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Genni Butler


Genni Butler reported on the Rights of Way Improvement Plan.


The second four year Implementation Plan for 2015-2019 had now been complied and would be presented to the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Open Spaces on 4 April  2016 for approval. 


An update on the projects being delivered under the Rights of Way Improvement Plan was provided and included updates on:

·         Congleton Bridleway No.31

·         Crewe Footpath Nos.3 and 36 upgrade to cycle track status

·         LEADER funding

·         Elworth Canal Towpath improvements





Date of Next Meeting

10 am on Thursday 16 June 2016 in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield


The next meeting will be held on Thursday 16 June 2106 in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield