Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 15th September, 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 John Handley, Maurice Palin, Gemma Roberts and Ivor Williams.


Proposed Impact of HS2 on Public Rights of Way and Rural Roads

Jagit Riat, Arup and Ruannan Law, HS2 Ltd


Ruannan Law from HS2 Ltd and Jagjit Riat from Arup attended the Forum and gave a presentation on the public rights of way which would be affected by the route of HS2 phase 2a in South Cheshire.


The HS2 Phase 2a West Midlands to Crewe Working Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Report had been issued for consultation, which closed on 7 November 2016. 


It was reported that approximately 20 public rights of way would be affected by the route, with the majority of these being diverted.  Four routes were proposed to be stopped up. 


The Forum asked about the reasons for the stopping up of the four routes as it was felt that a diversion would be preferable to stopping up.  They also asked about the possibility of upgrading some of the rights of way to higher user rights and about the process for the diversions and timescale for the building of the rail line.  Ruannan Law took an action to feedback to the Forum on the rationale behind the proposed changes to public rights of way.


To obtain the legal powers to build and operate this part of the HS2 railway,  the Government intended to deposit a hybrid bill in Parliament by the end of 2017. 





Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 83 KB


Matters Arising


Minute 5 – Missing Bridge Over M6

A response had been received from Highways England which indicated that feasibility work was planned during 2017/18, with a design for the replacement bridge planned during 2018/19 and construction in 2019/20 – the work was however subject to funding constraints.


Minute 8(c) Other Reports

The decision by Cheshire East Cabinet in relation to the Review of Available Working Routes to School had been called in and considered by the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee in July 2016.  The Scrutiny Committee had made a number of recommendations, which would be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 18 October 2016.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 June 2016 be confirmed as a correct record.


Signposting to Promoted Routes Pilot pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Genni Butler


Genni Butler updated the Forum on the feasibility of the signposts to the Wheelock Trail, as suggested by Sandbach Footpath Group.


An onsite and desk based survey on the suggested signpost locations had been undertaken, along with liaison with the Countryside Ranger Service.  Of the 14 suggested locations, 6 were a possibility. Of the 6, 3 were not recommended as there were potential issues with parking and access to the Trail.  


Alternative methods of promoting the Trail were available, with the Countryside Ranger Service proposing to publish a leaflet later in the year detailing country parks and linear trails, which would include the Wheelock Trail.   Site specific leaflets were published for each site and it was possible to target leaflet deliveries to households within a specific area to a site.  Details were also available on-line and promotion was undertaken via social media channels, again with the possibility for targeting an audience in certain geographic areas.


The Gritstone Trail was suggested as another promoted route which could be signposted and it was agreed that Pat Featherstone speak to Genni Butler about possible locations for sign posts and a report be brought back to the Forum.


The Deregulation Act

Mike Taylor


Mike Taylor reported that there was still no indication as to when the legislation and guidance relating to public rights of way from the Act would come into force.


The Public Rights of Way Team could have resource issues arising from the expected changes to procedures to Path Order and Definitive Map Modification Orders.   It was hoped that two members of staff could be recruited, one to fill a part time position and the other position to be funded by a change to the fees structure. 


A trial had been undertaken of four applications whereby the applicant employed an agent to process their path diversion order and carry out the pre application consultation, and had proved to work well.  It was also proposed for applications that guidance be provided to applicants for the Definitive Map Modification Order process which set out what evidence needed to be presented and how to present it.  These changes to policy would need to be approved by the Council.


Reports from Members


Rural Road Safety Working Group


It was reported that it had been agreed with Costain that their construction vehicles on the A556 scheme would display Pass Wide and Slow signs for horses with the idea being supported by Cheshire Police and British Horse Society.The Council had been approached to see if they would also display the signs on their vehicles but no response had been received.


A response had been received from the Cabinet Member for Highways in relation to the crossing point on the A534 which stated that that it was intended to explore options if feasible in the 2017-18 highways programme.


Consultation was being carried out on the changes to junction 19 of the M6. The Forum had been invited to attend an exhibition of the proposed changes at very short notice.


Linda Rose and Dale Langham had met with a Cheshire Police representative in July to discuss rural road safety and were still awaiting further information from the Police.


Forum Publicity and Presentations to Outside Groups: Use of Social Media


A paper by Gemma Roberts had been circulated to Forum members which outlined the use of social media and the need for the Forum to have a Communications Strategy.


It was proposed that the Forum set up a Facebook page, which could be linked to other local community Facebook groups.  The page could be used to advertise activities and achievements of the Forum and also advertise upcoming events that Forum members would be attending.  It was noted that East Lothian Local Access Forum and Essex Local Access Forum already had Facebook pages.


It was agreed that a Communications Sub Group be established, comprising of Gemma Roberts, Pat Featherstone and Gail Robinson, to create a communications strategy for the Forum and to bring the strategy to the next meeting for approval.



Access For All Working Group pdf icon PDF 50 KB


Bob Anderson reported on the Access for All Working Group proposal to be involved in a Bollin Valley Partnership taster day for promoting the use of trampers and hand cycles to access the countryside.  Deer Walks at Tatton Park were suggested as another possible events. 


The Group had contacted Countryside Mobility in Devon who ran a scheme to allow sites to hire out trampers to enable anybody with mobility issues to explore the countryside and they had provided an overview on how their scheme operated. 


Waterways Working Group


Pat Featherstone reported that she had obtained some leaflets produced by the Canal and River Trust, of walks and attractions near to canals.


As the leaflets did not seem to be easily obtained, it was suggested that the Forum could work with the Canal and River Trust to suggest possible locations for the leaflets to be displayed.



Other Reports


Cheshire East Council’s Public Rights of Way Committee

It was reported that following the recommendation of the Independent Remuneration Panel to cease paying the Chairman’s allowance for the Public Rights of Way Committee, Council had deferred making a decision pending a report to the Constitution Committee upon potential options to amalgamate the work of the Committee with that of another decision-making body.  The Constitution Committee was due to meet on 24 November 2016 to consider the options and make a recommendation to Council.


Councillor Dorothy Flude, Vice Chairman of the Public Rights of Way Committee had circulated a letter to the User Groups asking for their comments on the proposal. 




Rights of Way Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Genni Butler


Genni Butler reported on the Rights of Way Improvement Plan.


An update on the projects being delivered under the Improvement Plan had been included in the Agenda pack.  Forum members were requested to contact Genni Butler if further information was required on any of the projects.




Date of Next Meeting

10.00 am on Thursday 1 December 2016 in the Council Chamber, Macclesfield Town Hall


The next meeting will be held on Thursday 1 December 2016 in the Council Chamber at Macclesfield Town Hall.