Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 16th June, 2016 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Macclesfield, SK10 1EA. View directions

Contact: Rachel Graves 

No. Item


Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair


Nominations were sought for the Chair of the Cheshire East Local Access Forum.  Robert Anderson was proposed and seconded to be Chair.




That Robert Anderson be appointed as the Chair of the Cheshire East Local Access Forum.


Robert Anderson in the Chair



Nominations were sought for the Vice Chair of the Cheshire East Local Access Forum.   Pat Featherstone was proposed and seconded as Vice Chair.




That Pat Featherstone be appointed as the Vice Chair of the Cheshire East Local Access Forum.








Welcome and Apologies


Apologies were received from John Handley, Gemma Roberts, Linda Rose and Ivor Williams.


The Forum welcomed new member, Gail Robinson, to the meeting.



Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 82 KB




That the minutes of the meeting held on 17 March 2016 be confirmed as a correct record subject to the following amendment:


Minute 48(e) Other Reports: Cheshire Lakes proposal

First Line - Delete “presentation” and insert “site visit”.


Cheshire East Local Access Forum Annual Report 2015-2016 pdf icon PDF 42 KB



The Annual Report of the Forum, covering the work from April 2015 to March 2016, had been published and circulated.  It had also been published on the Local Access Forum’s web page.


Copies of the Annual Report were available for Forum Members to circulate to their wider networks.



Missing PROW Bridge over M6: Tabley Superior Restricted Byway No. 4 and Mere Restricted Byway No. 2 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Mike Taylor


Genni Butler reported on the missing public rights of way bridge over the M6 motorway which had linked Tabley Superior Restricted Byway No.4 and Mere Restricted Byway No.2.


When the M6 had been built a footbridge rather than a bridge for a restricted byway was constructed.  In 2008 a lorry collided with the footbridge and it was rendered unsafe and dismantled.  No replacement bridge was constructed and a temporary closure of the right of way is in place. 


Work was being undertaken on the motorway at present and the replacement of the bridge was not on the work programme. 


The Forum noted that the location of the missing bridge was in close proximity to the site of the A556 Knutsford – Bowden road improvement scheme which the Forum had been involved in securing access for non-motorised users across the new road and along the road to be de-trunked.   If the bridge was to be reinstated, it would provide a link to this access and create a link for a circular route.


The Forum agreed that a letter should be sent to Highways England seeking reinstatement of the bridge and highlighting the importance of the bridge to the wider public rights of way network.




Signposting to Promoted Routes pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Genni Butler


Genni Butler reported that following the last meeting she had emailed 24 representatives of local user groups to seek comments on the proposal, together with any suggestions, for the location of signs to promoted routes.


She had received three responses.  Mid Cheshire Footpath Society questioned the need for additional signposting and Goostrey Footpath Group felt they could not contribute anything useful.  Sandbach Footpath Group responded with 12 suggested locations for signs to the Wheelock Rail Trail.


The Forum agreed that the response from Sandbach Footpath Group be considered as a possible pilot project and be investigated further and asked if the suggested locations could be investigated, along with the work required and cost and these details be brought back to the next meeting.






The Deregulation Act

Mike Taylor


Genni Butler provided an update on the Deregulation Act 2015..


Members of the Public Rights of Way team had attended workshop sessions run by the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management on preparing for the impact of the Deregulation Act 2015.


The secondary legislation and guidance in relation to public rights of way arising from the Deregulation Actwas still awaited.  It was now expected the Act would come into force in 2017. 


It was reported that there could be resource implications for the Service arising from the changes to procedures expected to be brought in under the legislation as timescales would come into effect for dealing with Path Orders and Definitive Map Modifications Orders.


The Forum would receive further updates when the details of the Deregulation Act were published.





Reports from Members


Rural Road Safety Working Group


It was reported that a second print run of Driving Safely on Rural Roads leaflet had been done and copies were available for Members to distribute through their networks.


The Forum had written to the Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet Member for Open Spaces and Leisure about the provision of a crossing on the A534 for the Wheelock Rail Trail.  It was decided that a further letter be sent to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure.


The Forum had also written in support of the Pass, Wide and Slow campaign and had been in  further correspondence with the Minister for Transport.


Forum Publicity and Presentations to Outside Groups


It was reported Gemma Roberts had sent out various articles to publishers but none had been taken up.  She was also working on setting up a Facebook page for the Forum.   Concern was expressed over possible mis-use of Facebook and it was agreed that Gemma be asked to report to the next meeting on this on other publicity activity.


Linda Rose had attended the AGM of the Border Bridleways Association where she had given the presentation on the Forum.


Access for All Working Group


Nothing to report.


Waterways Working Group


Pat Featherstone reported that she was still trying to meet with Canal and River Trust Area Manager to discuss the issue relating to canal access. 


Other Reports: North West Chairs' Meeting 12 April 2016 pdf icon PDF 49 KB


North West LAF Chairs

Pat Featherstone had attended the North West LAF Chairs meeting on 12 April 2016.  A copy of her report was included in the agenda which detailed the topics discussed at the meeting.


Safe Routes to Schools

Rhoda Bailey reported that Cheshire East Council Cabinet had considered a report on a Review of Available Walking Routes to School at its meeting on 14 June.  A small number of routes, which had previously been unavailable, had been assessed as being available and this would lead to the withdrawal of home to school transport. There was considerable objection to these changes and, at the present time, it looked like the decision would be called in for consideration at a scrutiny committee.


Flash Floods in Poynton and Disley area

Mike Taylor reported that due to heavy rain on 11 June, flash flooding occurred in the Poynton and Disley area of Cheshire East.  The flooding had affected public rights of way in that area, with path erosion and loss of a footbridge. A number of public rights of way would be closed for public safety reasons.  The repair costs were estimated at £46k.



Discussion: Where do we go from here? pdf icon PDF 60 KB



The Chair led a discussion on future activities for the Forum.


The Forum discussed the following:


·      Access for All – Since completing the More Walks for All booklet,  work had come to a halt. Attendance at an event to highlight accessibility had been suggested previously and the Forum gave consideration to this and asked if this could be tagged onto another event such as a Rangers’ Day or accessibility events such as the Countryside Taster Day held at Riverside Park in Macclesfield.


·      Safety on Rural Roads – The Forum had done a lot of work on this, with the workshops with parish councils and Driving Safely on Rural Roads booklet and considered if this could be taken any further.  It was agreed that work would continue on this topic but not be the main priority.


·      Waterways – The Forum had previously received a presentation from the Canal and River Trust which had highlighted that the Trust had lots of information which was not publically available which could be used to highlight access to towpaths and walks.  It was suggested that a list of ideas be drawn up and a meeting arranged with the Trust.


·      External Bodies – Natural England had suggested that Local Access Forums get involved with Local Enterprise Partnerships, Local Nature Partnerships and Health and Wellbeing Boards.  The Forum had taken a view that the Forum’s activities would be marginal to these strategic bodies.  It was suggested that the Forum contact the Cheshire East Health and Wellbeing Board via the Head of Health Improvement at Cheshire East Council to see if any links could be made between the Forum and the Board.  Chris Driver was asked to explore further if any link could be made with the Local Nature Partnerships.


·      Path Maintenance – The issue of undergrowth spreading across paths was raised and when not cleared led to the path surfaces not drying out and the paths being used less especially when it occurred on multi-user paths. It was suggested that the location of such issues be sent to Genni Butler and, if considered appropriate, a representative from Cheshire East Council be invited to attend to answer questions and discuss the issues.



Rights of Way Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Genni Butler


Genni Butler reported on the Rights of Way Improvement Plan.


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

·         Congleton Bridleway No.31

·         Crewe Footpath conversion to Cycle Track

·         Middlewich Footpath No.13

·         Altrincham Road A538 foot/cycle route, Wilmslow

·         Cranage Footpath No. 4


Date of Next Meeting

10.00 am on Thursday 15 September 2016 in the East Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe  CW1 2BJ


The next meeting would be held on Thursday 15 September 2016 in the East Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe.