Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 1st December, 2016 10.00 am

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

Contact: Rachel Graves 

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies


Apologies were received from Rhoda Bailey, Dale Langham and Gemma Roberts.


The Chairman reported that Gemma Roberts had resigned from the Forum due to work commitments.  The Forum thanked Gemma for her input to the Forum.


Cheshire East Landscape Scale Partnership

Chris Widger, National Trust


Chris Widger from the National Trust gave a presentation on the Cheshire East Landscape Scale Partnership.


The National Trust and Cheshire East Council owned a considerable amount of land in the north of the Borough.  By working together they would be able to manage sites better, respond to opportunities, work together with others and increase the benefits for communities. 


The aims and objectives of the project included identifying a local distinctive landscape; defining ‘essence’ or ‘spirit of place’; identifying opportunities and threats; and influencing decision making. 


A number of workshops were held to collect evidence and statements from invited groups, which were collated to create a strategy document which had been submitted to Cheshire East Council for consideration to be adopted as a supplementary planning document.


It was agreed that the Forum would write to the Council supporting the approach taken in the strategy document.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 97 KB


Matters Arising


Minute 14 -  Matters Arising: Minute 8(c) Other Reports

Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet had considered the recommendation of the Children and Families Scrutiny Committee on the Review of Available Walking Routes to School at its meeting on 18 October. Cabinet had resolved that the decision taken by Cabinet on 14 June 2016 be confirmed.  Cabinet also confirmed that Middlewood Way was an available walking route and that the implementation of changes to the availability of routes would be postponed until September 2017.


Minute 12 - Proposed Impact of HS2 on Public Rights of Way and Rural Roads

The Forum comments had been forwarded to the HS2 team. Officers from the Public Rights of Way team had considered each of the public rights of way affected by the proposed route of HS2 and submitted a detailed response as part of the Council’s response to the consultation.


Minutes 15 – Signposting to Promoted Routes Pilot

The Disley Footpath Society had been asked to consider locations for  further signposting for the Gritstone Trail.  In response, the Society felt that there were sufficient signposts already in place to highlight the Trail.














That the minutes of the meeting held on 15 September 2016 be confirmed as a correct record.


Rights of Way Committee: Constitution Committee Review

Mike Taylor, Public Rights of Way Manager


Mike Taylor updated the Forum on the review of the Public Rights of Way Committee.


The Constitution Committee, at its meeting on 24 November 2016, had considered a report on the functions of the Public Rights of Way Committee.  The Committee had felt that the current arrangements for the Council’s public rights of way functions worked well and were not in need of change.  The Committee had resolved that no recommendations be made for changes to the existing public rights of way decision making arrangements.




The Deregulation Act and Public Rights of Way Policy and Team Change

Mike Taylor, Public Rights of Way Manager


Mike Taylor reported that the Regulations to enable sections of the Deregulation Act to come into force were still awaited.


The Act would bring into being changes to the way Public Path Orders and Definitive Map Modification Orders applications were dealt with, as under the Act the applications would need to be dealt with in a shorter timescale and would have resource implications for the Rights of Way team.


The team was looking at ways to bring in new resources and included revising the charging structure and the use of agents to process public path orders applications.  With Definitive Map Modification Orders the team were exploring ways in which the applicant could be encouraged to undertake and present investigation into historical records, with guidance provided on what evidence was needed and how to present it.





Reports from Members


Rural Road Safety Working Group


Linda Rose reported that contact had been made with the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Keane, with response that a meeting had been proposed to discuss rural road safety.  It was suggested that a meeting with Cheshire East Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure – Cllr David Brown, should also be arranged.


It was noted that the BBCs Countryfile on 27 November had shown a feature on horses and road safety, which had generated debate on social media.


Forum Publicity and Presentations to Outside Groups


Discussion took place on the draft communications strategy that had been circulated to Forum Members by email.  It was generally felt that the document could be shortened to summarise the main points of the strategy.  The revised document was then to be circulated for comment and any further suggestions.  Pat Featherstone agreed to take the lead on this.


The continuation with the development of a Facebook page and the Forum’s webpage were also discussed.  It was felt that if they were going to be successful and effective that they needed to be kept up to date.  At present as the webpage was on Cheshire East Council’s website, any amendments were made by the Council’s web team at the request of Genni Butler.


Access for All Working Group


The Chair reported that the Group were exploring involvement in the Bollin Valley Partnership Countryside Taster Day and had also been in contact with Tatton Park to see if they could link in with events there.


Waterways Working Group


Pat Featherstone reported that she had met with Gillian Renshaw, the Canal and River Trust’s Development and Engagement Manager and they had discussed improving access to canals, use of towpaths and access for canoeists.   She has also made suggestions in relation to their leaflets such as showing car parking and ease of access and had given them a copy of Walks for All leaflet.


Other Reports


John Handley reported that the Ramblers’ Pathwatch report had been published, with Cheshire East being rated as good.  Mike Taylor reported that the Council’s satisfaction survey results were around 80%.  It was also noted that East Cheshire Ramblers carried out an annual survey of the network which was shared with the Public Rights of Way Team. 


John also raised that Neighbourhood Plans were being developed by a number of areas in Cheshire East and asked if access was promoted as part of these Plans.  Genni Butler agreed to contact the Council’s Neighbourhood Planning Manager to find out.



Rights of Way Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Genni Butler, Countryside Access Development Officer


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:

·       Public Health funding for Footpaths to Fitness projects in Congleton and Knutsford

·       Reprinting of Walks for All Leaflet

·       Resurfacing work on Middlewich Footpath No.13 and Cranage Footpath No.4

·       Continuation of provision of access for Pickmere Permissive Path

·       Gritstone Trail – closure of LEADER funding


It was also reported that S106 contributions would be used to improve a number of paths in Sandbach, Nantwich and Wilmslow to improve access from new developments to the town centres, train stations and leisure routes.





Proposed Dates for Meetings in 2017

10.00 am Thursday 16 March 2017 in the Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe  CW1 2BJ


10.00 am Thursday 15 June 2017 in the Silk Room, Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Street, Macclesfield  SK10 1EA


10.00 am Thursday 14 September 2017 in the West Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe  CW1 2BJ


10.00 am Thursday 7 December 2017 in the Silk Rook, Macclesfield Town Hall, Market Street, Macclesfield  SK10 1EA




The date of meetings in 2017 were agreed as follows:


10 am on Thursday 16 March 2017  - Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings, Crewe


10 am on Thursday 15 June 2017 – Silk Room, Macclesfield Town Hall


10 am on Thursday 14 September 2017 – West Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Crewe


10 am on Thursday 7 December 2017 – Silk Room, Macclesfield Town Hall