Agenda and minutes

Cheshire East Countryside Access Forum
Thursday, 6th July, 2017 10.00 am

Venue: The Capesthorne Room - Town Hall, Macclesfield SK10 1EA. View directions

Contact: Rachel Graves 

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies


Apologies were received from Rhoda Bailey, Chris Driver and Dale Langham.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting held on 16 March 2017 pdf icon PDF 85 KB


Matters Arising


Minute 31 Neighbourhood Plans

It was confirmed that the Forum’s Guidance Note for Neighbourhood Plans on Access to the Countryside had been circulated to the Town and Parish Councils who had registered their intention to create a Neighbourhood Plan.  It was suggested that the Guidance Note should be sent out to all Town and Parish Councils, including those which had commenced the Neighbourhood Planning process. Genni Butler agreed to speak to the Neighbourhood Planning Team about doing this.


Minutes 34 (c) Access for All Working Group

Gail Robinson reported that she had attended the Bollin Valley Partnership Countryside Taster Day on 14 June.  She felt that it would not be an appropriate event for the Forum to attend.  The Forum discussed linking in with the Council’s stand at the Cheshire Show and the Nantwich Show.  Genni Butler agreed to find out the costs involved and report back.


Minute 34 (e) Other Reports – Local Plan

The Inspector’s Report had been issued on the Cheshire East Local Plan.  The receipt of the report brought the Local Plan examination to a close.  The Plan’s would be going to the Council meeting on 27 July 2017 for formal adoption.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2017 confirmed as a correct record.


Forum Communications and Communications Strategy pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Pat Featherstone


Following discussion at the last meeting, the amended Communications Strategy had been circulated to Forum Members.


Pat Featherstone went through the Strategy highlighting the changes made.  An amendment to the ‘Oversight’ bullet point was agreed, to include the phrase “including all types of communication listed below”.




That the Cheshire East Local Access Forum Communications Strategy be approved and adopted.




Public Rights of Way Team Resources pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Mike Taylor


Mike Taylor reported on the financial and staff resources of the Public Rights of Way team for 2017-18.


There was increasing demand on staff time to deal with planning application consultations and temporary diversions arising from them following consent.  Two Public Path Order Officers were to be recruited on a 2 year contract, with the income from the public path orders covering their associated costs. 


It was noted that the Public Rights of Way team had received £60,000 for flood relief work in 2016/17.  Forum members commented on the excellent work carried out in Disley and Wilmslow to repair flood damaged paths and bridges. 


Reconomics Plus 2017: The Economic, Health and Social Value of Outdoor Recreation pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Genni Butler

Additional documents:


The Sports and Recreation Alliance, working with Manchester Metropolitan University, had published a report entitled ‘Reconomics Plus’ which brought together research and statistics to highlight the contribution of outdoor recreation in England.  A copy of the report had been included in the agenda.


It was suggested that the statistics could be used when the Forum approached other bodies to support the case for outdoor recreation.   Members were also asked to share the report within their areas of interest.   


Active Cheshire was a commissioner of sport and physical activities in the Cheshire and Warrington sub region and it was suggested that they be invited to give a presentation to the Forum at a future meeting.


We work with a wide range of health, sport, education, environment, transport and business partners to find new ways of enabling people to get active on a regular basis.


The Deregulation Act

Mike Taylor


Mike Taylor reported that there was nothing new to report in relation to the Deregulation Act, as the regulations and guidance were still awaited from Defra. 


Reports from Members


Meeting with Cheshire East Councillors


Bob Anderson, Pat Featherstone and Genni Butler had met with the Leader and Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council - Councillor Rachel Bailey and Councillor David Brown.


The work of Forum was discussed, with specific mention of rural road safety and the Driving Safely on Rural Road booklet produced; the health benefits of walking and the More Walks for All leaflet, and the guidance produced for neighbourhood planning in relation to access to the countryside.  The data in the Reconomics Plus report was also highlighted.  


Contact details were provided for relevant officer of the Council in relation to road safety and Public Health.  The Forum was asked if they would give a presentation at the Town and Parish Conference, which the Council organised.  It was also suggested that this meeting be held annually.


The Forum thanked Councillor Rhoda Bailey and Genni Butler for their help in arranging this meeting.






Pat reported that she, along with Bob Anderson, Chris Driver and Genni Butler had attended press release writing training, provided by the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. 


A list of contacts for local newspapers and radio had been provided by the Communications Team at Cheshire East Council.


It had been decided not to go forward with a Twitter account at the present time. Pat was to liaise with Genni Butler to discuss changes to the Forum’s webpage.


A short article on the Forum’s Annual Report had been included in the May/June edition of the Partnerships for Action in Cheshire East (PACE) Newsletter.  It was agreed to look if future articles from the Forum could be included in the Newsletter.


The Chairman commented that the name of the Forum caused confusions as it was often though that the ‘access’ related to disability access.  It was noted that a number of Forum called themselves ‘Countryside Access Forum’.  For example Hampshire Countryside Access Forum and Oxfordshire Countryside Access Forum.   It was agreed that this would be considered further.



Rural Road Safety Working Group


Bob Anderson reported that he had met with Ben McCrorie, Director of Policy and Partnerships of the Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioners office.  They had exchanged information about both organisations and discussed rural road safety, deployment of PCSOs into rural areas, involvement of parish councils and the introduction of an on-line portal for members of the public to report incidents, though the Police regarded their new portal, for reporting incidents, as a viable alternative.


A number of Police Forces, including West Midlands, Avon and Somerset, and Leicestershire, had introduced road safety initiatives which saw plain clothed police officers on bicycles identifying motorists who drove dangerously close to cyclists.   After being spotted, a police vehicle would stop the driver and provide advice on how to overtake a cyclist safety.  The worst drivers and repeat offenders would be prosecuted.  The Forum was disappointed to note that Cheshire Police had decided not to introduce this initiative.


Linda Rose had attended the Cheshire Road Safety Conference which was opened by David Keane, Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner. 
Simon Byrne, Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary was also in attendance.  Both had stated that they were committed to improving road safety.  Members of the public would be able to submit dashboard camera footage on-line.  Other speakers had been from the European Road Safety Organisation, British Horse Society and the family of a road death victim.  Junior members of the Cheshire Road Safety Partnership were in attendance.  The Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service were also in attendance with their virtual reality headset, which simulated a car crash with a tractor.


As a result of the Pass Wide and Slow petition, the Safety of Riders and Horses on Rural Road was debated in Parliament on 4 July 2017. The text of the debate can be viewed on Hansard:




Access for All Working Group


It was reported that, following the suggestion at the last meeting, that work had begun on identifying accessible canal boats in Cheshire and the surrounding area.   


Waterways Working Group


There was nothing to report at the present time.


Other Reports


Watersports and Outdoor Activities at Former Mere Farm Quarry, Chelford

Linda Rose reported that the planning application for the Cheshire Lakes Watersports Park, previously discussed at the Forum in March 2016, had been refused.


Rights of Way Improvement Plan - Annual Report pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Genni Butler

Additional documents:


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:

·       Improvements to Sandbach Footpath between Station Road and Clifton Road

·       Improvements to Gritstone Trail – as part of the Cheshire’s Twin Trails project, including the Sandstone Trail, for which a funding application was being prepared in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council

·       Planning – use of S106 monies for improvement of public rights of way access


The Rights of Way Improvement Plan Annual Report for 2016-2017 had been circulated with the agenda and provided a summary of achievement during the year.  This had formed part of the Public Rights of Way team Annual Report to the Public Rights of Way Committee on 12 June 2016.


It was suggested that the Forum receive a presentation on the CAMS Web Portal at a future meeting.


Date of Next Meeting

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


The next meeting will be held on Thursday 14 September 2017 in the West Committee Room, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe  CW1 2BJ.