Agenda and minutes
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Venue: Aldern House, Board room
Apologies had been received from Alistair Harvey, Jez Kenyon, Clare Griffin and Cllr Jason Atkin.
The Chair welcomed back Ally Turner to the meeting following her recent accident and Martin Bennett as a new member to the Local Access Forum, who was then invited to say a few words by way of introduction.
The Chair also welcomed Martin Beer, Chair of the Peak Park Parishes Forum, Mollie Hunt, Research & Monitoring Officer from the Peak District National Park Authority, John Mills, Chair of Staffordshire LAF and to Alan Brentnall, Derbyshire Caving Association, as observers to the meeting.
The minutes of the last meeting held on the 5 December 2019 were approved as a correct record, subject to Steve Martin and Ben Seal being added to the attendance list. Thanks to Belinda Wybrow for taking the minutes.
Mend our Mountains Projects
Mollie Hunt, Research & Monitoring Officer for the Peak District National Park, updated the LAF Members on the Mend our Mountains and North America path works that have been going on.
North America - the works have been going on now for a couple a months and approx. 750m have been completed. There is work still to do on this path and the stretches that hadn’t been repaired had suffered in the recent storms, but the plan is for the contractor to go back in November to finish it off.
Cut Gate – Nothing has happened this year, but work is planned for next season.
Great Ridge – Progress is being made with access agreements with landowners. A planning application is about to be re-submitted, and there is also a bid to be submitted for additional funding of £30,000 which will hopefully be successful and work is aiming to start in September.
The Chair updated the Forum regarding the lack of diversity on the Forum, that had been raised at the meeting in December, and that he had had talks with Mike Rhodes and Gyl Millward about the possibilities, and these were being followed up with the appropriate people, so was in hand but not yet in place.
Sue Smith circulated copies of the annual report to Members and asked that any comments, updates or corrections on the report be submitted to Sue by the 6th April. The Local Access Forum Report will be available at the June meeting, and Sue will be ordering extra copies for the September Meeting when we willl be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the LAF and the CRoW Act. If any Member would like an electronic version of the report, then to contact Sue and she will arrange for it to be sent.
That LAF Members send comments on the report to Sue by the 6th April.
Environmental Land Management Scheme - access implications and opportunities
Ben Seal gave a presentation to the Members regarding 2 new pieces of legislation that the new government are pushing through; the Agricultural Bill and the Environment Bill. The Agricultural Bill is coming up for its 3rd reading and is very close to being made law, it will be the 1st domestic policy we have had for 45 years and would look on how farmers, landowners and estate managers manage their land. They would be paid for providing things that benefit the public, for example access to the countryside and rights of way, which has specifically been identified so will receive some kind of subsidy within the future Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), which is replacing the Common Agricultural Policy, so this is an opportunity to create a bill fit for purpose for all users.
The Environment Bill, is part way through the consultation period, but both these bits of legislation will significantly change the way in which we access and view the countryside, so it is important that we engage in this process.
Two policy discussion documents were released by DEFRA last week, which are looking at what the new ELM Scheme, will look like, and how it will work. There are currently pilot schemes taking place in the White Peak (summary of the White Peak Test has been circulated by Sue Smith) area looking to encourage landowners to work in different ways regarding habitats, farming methods, biodiversity etc., but not enhancing the public access. Ben will be meeting the Director of ELMS, the leading person in DEFRA, in 2 weeks time. A fresh consultation is being launched soon, and it was important that as many people as possible contributed to this – the more responses we get the better.
The policy document is proposing a 3 tier scheme:-
Tier 1 – Covers all payments to farmers and landowners – improving the environment
Tier 2 – Covers payments for public rights of way, navigation and recreational infrastructure
Tier 3 - Covers larger scale landscape projects ie coastal footpaths, long distance canoe trails.
Was there anyway that money could be used from the ELMS Scheme to look after statutory rights of way?
The Chair thanked Bob for his comprehensive report.
Charlotte Gilbert to take the lead on drafting something in response to the ELMS Consultation.
Gill Millward introduced the comprehensive report and highlighted areas of interest within the RoWIP Aims.
That the Path Condition Surveys figures although falling short of the 72.5% target was slightly up on last year’s result.
That the legal status of all 25 priority routes has now been sorted, and a public inquiry had been arranged for later this year in relation to a Modification Order for a footpath over Calico Lane in Furnace Vale, and the upgrading of two footpaths to bridleways in the Parish of Hodthorpe and Belph at Creswell Crags.
DDLAF are organising a meeting on the 14 March as a follow-up to the event which was held on the 9 September.
Derbyshire are in the process of preparing a bid for funding for the maintenance of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail for 2020/21. The Pennine Bridleway leaflet has now been updated and is available to download.
The County Councils Countryside Destination and Events Brochures can now be viewed on the Derbyshire County Council website.
Derbyshire Cycling Plan
A report on the County’s emerging Key Cycling Network was presented to Cabinet on the 16 January 2020 and approved. So the focus will now be on the top routes in readiness for funding opportunities.
During the first nine months of 2019/20 the volunteers working with or on behalf of the Countryside Service had contributed over 1900 days. Paul Richardson to submit “dig days” figures to Gill Millward.
Local Transport Plan
Continue to put in funding bids out of the Local Transport Plan, and Gill will report what funding we have to the next meeting in June.
Buxton Town Team – Safer walk & Ride Network
A map had been previously circulated to all LAF Members. Charlotte Gilbert reported that she had got involved with the Buxton Town Team primarily as a horse rider, because they wanted to know whether horses would be able to use any of their routes around, and it was decided that they could possibly use most of them, but was down to each individual horse rider to make that judgement as to what their horse could do.
There is a lot that the LAF could do to support this, even though Buxton was outside the National Park, it was still part of our area. The primary target of the link routes is to make people have car-free journeys and to get people to move in and out of the town without cars. First stage, now that the routes have been identified, is to clarify the mapping and get comments from the Derbyshire County Council Highway Safety Officer, and once the plan is available then parts of the plan can be delivered piecemeal as funds and opportunities become available. Charlotte asked that a letter be sent to Damien Greenhalgh, former Member of the Authority and the Forum , who is now an Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Tourism and Leisure for support.
That the report be ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
Access Updates - including a Review of Directions to Restrict Access at Hollins Hill, Silence Mine and Crowden
Sue Smith tabled her report and highlighted areas of interest to note.
Review of Directions
The Forum and the Access Sub Group have been dealing with the review of directions since the beginning of last year. Reviews have been completed on 4 of the long term directions, Hollins Hill being the most recent one. The Forum have been considering the Silence Mine direction, following the instability linked to underground working, which resulted in the public rights of way and the access land being closed on those areas affected, and that closure is due to expire at the end of April, with a further extension to be considered at the Access Sub-Group Meeting to take forward the detail on this.
A further long term direction at the Clay Pigeon Shoot at Crowden remains to be reviewed, and will be considered at the Access Sub-Group Meeting.
PDNPA Land Disposals
The Corporate Property Asset Management Plan was reported to the National Park Authority Meeting in February 2020. A list of properties already approved for disposal and those identified as provisionally surplus properties were included in Appendix 3 to the February Committee Report. It was agreed at the December Forum meeting that the appropriate officer speaks to a future meeting of the Forum sometime after the Scrutiny Committee has reported to the main meeting of the Programmes and Resources Committee.
A letter was sent to John Scott, Director of Conservation and Planning regarding the Cartledge Track at Strines to highlight the LAF’s concern that the landscape and character of the Peak Park’s north east moorlands is protected following the removal of the track.
No date has yet been set for the Midhope Track Public Inquiry.
The Chair thanked Sue for her report.
That the report be welcomed and noted.
That consultations on the Review of Directions are referred to the Access Group.
Charlotte Gilbert to submit a response on behalf of PDLAF to the ELMS discussion and liaison with other LAF group such as Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
Invite an Officer from the PDNPA to present to the June Meeting concerning property disposals.
Sarah Wilks gave a quick summary of where we are up to with the #PeakDistrictProud Campaign. This work came from an action in the National Park Management Plan around the enjoy, responsible visiting, visiting with enjoyment and the idea of how we need to look again at the messages of the Countryside Code and find a better way to communicate that to visitors.
A workshop took place in July, which a number of people attended, and from that the positives and negatives of the Countryside Code. From the workshop, a small sub-group was set up and they developed a risk matrix around the issues that there were around visitors and users of the National Park and poor behaviours, and the best way of communicating with them, and from that, extra help was given from a marketing company to develop a brief that was then sent out to users of the National Park and residents. We have received some excellent presentations from experts in the field, especially Kathy Clarke from the National Trust, and the Eastern Moors.
From this #PeakDistrictProud as a campaign was developed to re-engage people with the key messages of the Countryside Code which are still valid. New seasonal posters have been designed with new graphics, so for eg Spring posters will include messages such as lambing, litter, Summer posters will include bbq’s, fires and if anyone would like some posters, Sarah can make them available. These new signs will replace the old signs which will be taken down, and will be placed at access and right of way points, within the National Park Car Parks, Toilets, Visitor Centres, bed & breakfasts, train stations, local businesses and cafes. The digital campaign was launched on the 1st March and there are plans for a further push later in the year.
Sarah asked if there were any other images that was felt could be used on the posters, then please do send them into her, as it is good to keep changing the imagery to keep it fresh. There will be a push in the next edition of the Parklife and the pool vehicles will also have it on the wrap when the fleet is replaced.
The LAF asked that the message to be sent also to the Duke of Edinburgh Co-Ordinators and Assessors, but pleased that this has been done and will be interesting to see how it plays out in reality in changing peoples behaviour. Also posters to bus companies would be useful. How can it be measured to see if it is effective? Sarah reported that it had gone to the Duke of Edinburgh Groups, but she will follow this up.
The Chair thanked Sarah for her presentation.
LAF Members to submit images to Sarah Wilks for the posters, so they reflect every user of the National Park.
LAF Members to let Sarah know of any other contacts that they feel would be useful to send the information too and spread ... view the full minutes text for item 36.
Green Lanes Update
Sue Smith gave a verbal update to Members.
· Members of the LAF and the Stanage Forum had recently visited Long Causeway to consider its potential as a Miles without Stiles route, which will be the first on a National Park Estate. The Peak Park Conservation Volunteers have been clearing out the gullies which had silted up to assist, with the maintenance of the route. The barrier is also proposed to be replaced with something more aesthetically pleasing.
· The “Stay on Tracks” campaign, was discussed at the Green Lanes Sub Group Meeting to identify routes and appropriate management to safeguard the verges.
· Peak District Proud – will be used to get the message across on social media.
· A voluntary restraint for 4 x 4 vehicles is in place at Minninglow and Galloway Lanes following the repairs by Derbyshire County Council..
· Derbyshire Police have been taking a lot of action on illegal use. Sue will include more information on the website on how the public can record incidents that the Police can act on, even if there are no registration details taken, it is still useful to log where illegal use is taking place.
· A report on green lanes will be going to the May Programmes and Resources Committee.
The Chair thanked Sue for her update.
Sue Smith to send the dates for the Access Sub Group as well as the Terms of Reference for both the Sub Groups due to changes in Membership of the LAF.
National Park Management Plan and Advisory Group
Mike Rhodes had circulated the minutes of the National Park Management Advisory Group meeting held on the 23 January 2020, which the Chair and Jon Stewart attended, so the LAF Members knew the context of what was discussed and considered, in particular on climate change.
The Chair reported that the Chief Executive, Sarah Fowler had put forward a report on climate change which was supported, which encouraged her to take that work forward in future to work in partnership with others, within resources available, and this is still ongoing. There was a summit meeting at Derbyshire County Council last week to which she attended.
Steve Martin informed Members that he had also attended the Derbyshire County Council event to which between 100-200 people attended, which largely mainly focussed on the business community, but that it was felt that the over-riding message from the Leader of the Council Cllr Barry Lewis was that working in partnership with the National Park and others, was a key objective, but this wasn’t explained on how it was going to work in practice, but perhaps the Forum could look at this and perhaps offer some suggestions.
The National Park have established a Climate Change Working Group, which is being led by Professor Janet Haddock-Fraser, but the Forum hadn’t seen the terms of reference, nor how it would link in with the LAF, so clarity was asked for.
Derbyshire County Council have committed £4 million pounds to climate change, but this was mainly for the electrification of vehicles.
That the Chair would obtain more information regarding the Climate Change Working Group and the Terms of Reference.
Bob Berzins reported that the system was now up and running, giving advice and best practice. There is an online calendar, which gives an idea on the number of events and the spread of events throughout the National Park. There is a review planned in September to measure the success of the system, but as yet nothing has come through as a problem around an event, but things could change substantially in light of the Coronavirus, and organisers try to arrange their events in what will be a shorter season.
Sarah Wilks is working with Parishes through the Parish Forum, over their concerns regarding events that are unplanned so nobody knows about them, which ends up with the Parishes having to clear up after the event, and dealing with the parking issues that these events brings, so by speaking to the organisers they are pushing sustainable transport, encouraging event organisers to hold their events where there are public transport routes, and encouraging car sharing. If any Parish Council is aware of an event, then she is happy to speak to the organiser if the Parish can get the contact details.
Stanage/North Lees Consultation
Louise Hawson informed the LAF that the National Park had commissioned an appraisal regarding the built assets on the Stanage estate last year. The appraisal was completed, and a consultation, which has just closed, looked at some of the options which have come out of the appraisal for how the Authority might continue to manage the assets on the Estate.
The Stanage Forum and a number of other stake holders were concerned that the Authority were just looking at the buildings and not taking an holistic view of the Estate, so the Stanage Forum put together a response, which was circulated to the LAF Members, and the BMC also did a response, and as a result of that Bob Berzins has drafted a response from the LAF, so if there are any comments, then please let Bob have them as soon as possible.
That the LAF supported the letter that Bob Berzins has drafted to send to Emma Stone.
Trails Management Plan
Charlotte Gilbert reported that the plan, which is in draft form, will be published in due course.. There has been quite a lot of comment on social media regarding the recent resurfacing of a stretch of the Tissington Trail which had been tarmaced, and the installation of a barrier.
Mike Rhodes reported that the resurfacing was replacing pre-existing tarmac, which was originally put in to resist rain water damage, so it wasn’t new, and is a course tarmac which provides sufficient grip on the steep gradient. The barrier, which was put in for safety reasons to slow users down has been there for well over ten years so was not new either, but will be looked at, even though there has not been any complaints about it for over 10 years.
John Thompson reported that he had sent a letter to the local MP Sarah Dines on behalf of the Local Access Forum, for which the Chief Executive and Chair of the Authority were grateful, regarding keeping the Monsal Trail open as a resource, which was recognised not just locally but nationally. There was no suitable alternative and it should be maintained and safeguarded as a key national asset. The trail is very well used and extremely popular and the Forum is aware that there was a petition going around to get the trail re-opened again to take cars off the road between Matlock and Buxton. No response has been received as yet from Sarah Dines, but John will keep the Members updated.
Spirit of Kinder Day
Roly Smith asked If any Member would like a free copy of the ACID booklet, which was all about archaeology, then please take one, or ask Anna Badcock.
Roly Smith circulated a leaflet to all Members regarding the Spirit of Kinder day which is taking place on the 25 April in Manchester, which will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Countryside & Rights of Way Act.
Any Other Business
Jon Stewart informed Members on some new initiatives that the National Trust are involved with.
· From the 29th April they would be taking on direct responsibility for Upper Booth Campsite for at least a year.
· In about 2 months time the National Trust will be opening a “Changing Places” place at Ilam Hall, which will be the first one within the National Park, and linked to that they will be constructing more accessible paths over the summer months, for eg linking into the church and down to the river to make it more easier to navigate.
· They have also been looking at “sensory appreciation” and how the places are seen through the eyes of people who have particular needs. Recently took out a group of blind/partially sighted people around Ilam and received positive feedback from what they got out of their visit, as well as a LGBT over 50’s group, and again received positive feedback from them.
· Another group called “Chicks”, which is a group of young people aged 8-12, who have caring responsibilities for their parents or for other people, and have never been to Ilam before and had a great time, and gave some very good feedback.
Jon reported that these initiatives could have a wider applicability, but what the Trust would be using them for would be to re-imagine their places and how they are presented and how they appeal to people.
Date and venue of next meeting
11th June @ Aldern House
24th September – looking at alternative venue as Longshaw not available
3rd Decemnber @ Aldern House
Note from Richard Entwistle
Note from Richard Entwistle at the Chair's invitation after our meeting
"Sue's reference to Voluntary Restraint was in relation to Minninglow and Galloway Lanes, where extensive repair work has been completed by Derbyshire CC Highways. The material they have used has grass seed in the mixture to help bind the surface and help it blend with the green surroundings.
To allow the surface to bind together and green up GLASS (the Green Lanes Association) and Peak District Peak & Derbyshire Vehicle User Group (PDVUG) have maintained the Voluntary Restraint (VR) for 4x4's. The TRF (Trail Riders Fellowship) do not support Voluntary Restraint.
Richard Pett advises that 4x4 use is about 85% of pre VR and of the continuing 15% most is probably the farmer accessing his fields."