PROW - JUNE 2020 PATH UPDATES
Cleve Hill Solar Park
Not in our territory, I know, but you may have seen recent headlines to say that the Secretary of Statehas decided that the need for more green energy outweighs environmental considerations here. So some 800,000 panels will be appearing in the area between Faversham and Graveney, just inland of the Saxon Shore Way and what will be the England Coastal Path.
KCC Path Clearance Contract begins
In spite of the need for social distancing restrictions, KCC's path clearance contractors have begun this summer's work - in all areas of Kent except Dover (sounds familiar?). Apparently the latest new contractors have to fulfil another KCC contract in West Kent before moving to Dover, but work will definitely begin this month.
Still very little going on right now on the footpath change front, so a word this month on Temporary Closures - for which KCC will make a TRO (Traffic Regulation Order). Normally a TRO runs for up to 6 months but may be renewed, and the way in which this is sometimes done without too much questioning as to "why so long?" can be a matter of concern to users.
Temporarily closed paths in our area
Marked in red on the KCC online maps, and if you click on the red line further details appear:
Ash EE113 - from Chequer Lane south to footpath EE112. Closed until 1/11/20 for house building - may be longer.
Folkestone HE68 - from the England Coast Path, close to the East Cliff Martello Tower and Roman excavation, down to the beach. Closed due to landslip/erosion problems until 2/9/20.
Preston EE153 - from Grove Road south to footpath EE142. Closed for resurfacing work until 13/7/20.
Walmer ED36 (and occasionally ED58 which will need resurfacing) - from Mayers Road/Station Road south towards Coldblow Woods. Closed for house building until 14/12/22.
Whitfield ER63 and ER71 - ER63 east of Archers Court Road only, and ER71 from the ER63 junction east via the A256 underpass to Pineham. Closed for house building until 1/11/21 (making 5+ years by that time!)
Whitfield ER182 - from Singledge Lane south to the A2 crossing. Closed for house building until 4/2/21 (making 2.5 years by that time)
Worth EE156 - two sections are closed for drainage works until 17/5/21: (i) just south of the junction with restricted byway EE243 (which leads to Jubilee Road); (ii) just west of bridleway ER233 (which runs from Hacklingeto Blue Pigeons Farm). The good news here is that temporary diversions are in place involving almost no extra walking distance.
Byways open to all traffic closed by TRO to protect the surface: - North Downs Way - You will probably remember the terrible condition that the North Downs Way byways north and south of the A2 were in some 4/5 years ago, and how thanks to White Cliffs obtaining considerable local publicity, they were very satisfactorily resurfaced.To protect these new surfaces, the whole of the NDW from the top of the Roman Road in Dover (junction with bridleway EB12), north for several miles to Maydensole (West Langdon), is now closed to motor vehicles every year between 1 October and 30 April.
Alkham - Similarly with byways ER185 (from the Alkham Valley Road at South Alkhamnorth-west to the Everden road), and ER25 (from the ER185 junction north to Slip Lane). Both of these are currently closed (despite it being "summer") to motor vehicles to avoid further damage to the surface.
As mentioned earlier, most path change issues appear to be on hold, but perhaps with some relaxation of lockdown, things might be a little different in July.
Meanwhile for more details of these and any other PROW issues, please contact Roger King on 01304 362730, or by email at email@example.com
PROW - MAY 2020 PATH UPDATES
Hopefully most of you are managing to get out into the countryside on your exercise walks. If so, then KCC have recently made it very clear that they still want to hear about all path problems, but in particular overgrown vegetation and defective path furniture, e.g. broken stiles. These issues will be given priority when things return to normal. Please make your reports as usual on https://webapps.kent.gov.uk/countrysideaccesscams/standardmap.aspx
More problems with the Access Land at Capel, just west of the Battle of Britain Memorial
Most people will remember the major problems KCC (with major support from White Cliffs) had during the years 2010 -16 in trying to compel the landowner to grant proper access to this area of official Access Land, as required by the CROW Act 2000. Unfortunately he has taken advantage of the present situation to padlock the only gate at the eastern end of the site. This was reported to KCC in mid-April and hopefully they will be able to take action before too long.
KCC proposed path creations, changes of status, diversions and extinguishments - current state of play when action suspended
Although the KCC Maidstone team responsible for such matters are still working (from home), all new consultations have been suspended, and order confirmations will be delayed, since people are actively discouraged from making site visits and thus cannot lodge potential objections. As there is almost no "new news" to report this month, I thought it might be useful to list all the live issues, with an indication of where we are with each of them.
Consultation initiated - no order (or decision to abandon) made as yet
Sutton & Ripple footpaths EE427 and EE451 - claimed upgrading to bridleway status. Runs via Winkland Oaks and across the railway towards Ringwould.
Middle Heronden to Pike Road, Venson, in Eastry parish. Claim of a new route of bridleway status.
Hythe High Street. Claim of a new 60-yard footpath running south from the mid-point of the High Street to Prospect Road.
Coldblow Woods, Ripple. "Consultation" here resulted in the very recent Planning Inspectorate instruction to KCC to make creation orders for three new footpaths inside these woods.
Orders made, but not yet confirmed (or rejected)
Goodnestone EE488. This order would see a long, strategically-important bridleway created, running east from Knowlton Court, along Black Lane, and as far as the A256 south of Eastry. This issue currently being decided by the Planning Inspectorate on the basis of all parties' written representations.
Goodnestone EE487. A revised order has been made to create a footpath south from Knowlton Court to its junction with the Chillenden to Elvington road.
Sandgate HF8/HF56. Minor diversions here would essentially take account of the unavoidable rerouting due to approved new building off Military Road.
Capel ER171. Another diversion due to approved development at Tumble Tye Farm, where the path will rerouted further east.
Kingsdown ER273. This order would move the path (just west of East Bottom Farm) out of a horse paddock onto an adjacent enclosed path already in use. Perhaps surprisingly, two objections were received, so the matter is being decided by the Planning Inspectorate on written representations.
Birchington TM35/35A. Although all parties were agreed on this 2018 order's aim to take routes out of Great Brooksend Farm and reroute them on a "hard path" further east, the order has not been confirmed since the "hard path" has still not been created. The landowner blamed this year's "wet winter" but still intends to go ahead.
Orders confirmed, but not yet in force
Walmer ED36/58. This situation usually applies (as it does here) when the PROW is moved due to approved development. The developer cannot build over a PROW, so the route is changed before work starts, but of course the new route can only be certified as fit for purpose when all is finished. Such is the case with these routes just south of Station Road, Walmer.
Assuming that we are still locked down, in my June update I propose looking at temporary closures and other Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs).
For more details of these and any other PROW issues, please contact Roger King on 01304 362730, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org