Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 16th March, 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe CW1 2BJ. View directions

Contact: Rachel Graves 

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies


Apologies were received from Forum Members Dale Langham, Maurice Palin and Linda Rose, and from Mike Taylor, Rights of Way Manager.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 1 December 2016 pdf icon PDF 70 KB


Matters Arising


Minute 21 – Cheshire East Landscape Scale Partnership

It was noted that no response had been received from the Executive Director of Place to the letter sent by the Chairman.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 1 December 2016 be confirmed as a correct record.



Communication Strategy pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Pat Featherstone


Pat Featherstone led a discussion on the draft Communications Strategy, a copy of which had been included in the agenda.


The Forum discussed the use of social media, having a Twitter account and making better use of the Forum’s web page. It also considered the issuing of press releases, the need for training on how to do this and a list of media contacts. Genni Butler was asked to investigate the possibility of training.


It was agreed that Pat and Chris Driver would discuss the feasibility of having a Twitter account, the changes needed to the web page and that Pat would continue to lead on communications until all the issues had been resolved.


Members were asked to let Genni Butler know when they had attended an outside group using the presentation about the work and role of the Forum.  It was agreed that the presentation would be forwarded to Members who did not already have a copy.


The Forum thanked Pat for her work developing the Communications Strategy.


Neighbourhood Plans pdf icon PDF 44 KB

Bob Anderson and Pat Featherstone

Additional documents:


A Guidance Note for Neighbourhood Plans on Access to the Countryside had been drafted by the Chair and Vice Chair, with assistance from Genni Butler.

A copy of the draft had been included in the agenda.


The Guidance Note had been submitted to the Neighbourhood Planning Team at Cheshire East Council, who considered it to be helpful and constructive and suggested the addition of a short set of questions to prompt local communities to consider their own local contexts. 


The Forum discussed the Guidance Note and suggested that in the questions should be included in the third paragraph of the introduction and that mention should be made to the possibilities of securing new paths and improvement to paths.


The Chair was to make the requested amendments to the Guidance Note.. The final version would then be sent out via the Neighbourhood Planning Team to the Parish Councils that had registered their intention but not started their Neighbourhood Plan.


The Deregulation Act

Mike Taylor


There was no update to report on the Deregulation Act.


Draft Annual Report (including group photo) pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Genni Butler

Additional documents:


The draft Annual Report for 2016-17 had been circulated with the agenda.


Members made a number of comments and suggested amendments including:

·       Page 2 – 1st sentence: amend to read “The Forum consists of between 10 and 22 volunteer members.”

·       Page 5 – 6th bullet point: amend to read “The Forum ran a pilot study..”

·       Page 6 – 4th bullet point: second sentence amend to read “The Forum has prepared…”


A photograph of the Forum members present was taken for inclusion in the Report.


Forum members were asked to circulate the Annual Report, once the final version was published, to their wider networks.


The Forum thanked Genni Butler for her work in producing the Annual Report.


Reports from members


Rural Road Safety Working Group


It was reported that a road incident had taken place in Witcham, Ely when a car on the wrong side of the road had hit two horses.  The incident had been caught on CCTV and could be viewed on the Cambridge news website.


The Forum had received no response from the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure in relation to the invitations to meet.


Prior to the meeting Dale Langham had circulated details of a road safety campaign  called ‘GiveSpaceBeSafe’ being run by West Midlands Police.


Forum Publicity and Presentations to Outside Groups


This item had been covered earlier in the meeting by the discussion on the Communications Strategy.


Access for All Working Group


Gail Robinson reported that the Bollin Valley Partnership Countryside Taster Day would take place on 14 June 2017.  


The Forum discussed what involvement it could undertake at the Taster Day. It was suggested that the Forum could have display and look to at having a Tramper or other similar mobility vehicles available for people to try.  Gail agreed to look into inviting manufacturers to attend and Genni Butler was asked to find out if the Tatton Park Rangers were able to bring along a Tramper.


It was suggested that another area to look at was accessible boats on the canals in Cheshire and surrounding areas for day trips and holidays and possibly produce a leaflet to highlight what was available.


Waterways Working Group



There was nothing to report at the present time.


Other Reports


Loss of Informal Open Space

The Chair commented that sometimes informal open space was lost when development took place and asked if there was anything which could be done to retain these areas.  In response Genni Butler stated that unless the landowner had given agreement for the use, it may be trespass.  The route of a path may be claimed through the Definitive Map Modification Order process or an application may be made for a village green. 


Safe Routes to Schools

Rhoda Bailey gave an update on the Review of Available Walking Routes to School.  Cheshire East Council at its meeting on 23 February had agreed to install a toucan pedestrian crossing on the A523 Silk Road, to enable pupils who choose to walk to Tytherington High School, by this route, to cross the road in safety. The Council would also ask Network Rail to provide a detailed risk assessment on the single-barrier rail crossing on London Road, Nantwich.


Cheshire East Cycling Strategy

Rhoda Bailey reported that Cheshire East Cabinet, at its meeting on
14 March, had approved the Council’s Cycling Strategy.


Local Plan Consultations

John Handley reported that consultation was being undertaken on the Local Plan Site Allocations and Development Policies, and the Community Infrastructure Levy Preliminary Draft Charging Structure, and asked if the Forum should be responding to these.  Genni Butler responded that she had looked at the Community Infrastructure Levy consultation proposals under which funding may be sought for countryside access.  It was suggested that a letter be sent supporting this.  John was to prepare a response to the Local Plan consultation.



Rights of Way Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 84 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:

·       Crewe Footpaths Nos. 3 and 36 upgrade to Cycle Track status

·       Public Health funding for Footpaths to Fitness projects

·       Pickmere Permissive Path

·       Holmes Chapel River Croco paths

·       Sandbach Footpath No.6

·       Gritstone Trail

·       S106 contributions.


Date of Next Meeting

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


The next meeting will be held on Thursday 15 June 2017 in the Silk Room at Macclesfield Town Hall.


Post meeting note:  the next meeting will now be held on Thursday 6 July 2017 in the Council Chamber at Macclesfield Town Hall.