Venue: Remote meeting held via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Melanie Carr Email: Melanie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Introductions & Apologies for Absence
Following members of the Local Access Forum introducing themselves, the Chair confirmed apologies had been received from Helen Soutar, Carol Murray, County Councillor David Jeffels and County Councillor Robert Heseltine.
Resolved - That the Minutes of the meeting held on 27 January 2021 be agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair, subject to an amendment to the first paragraph of Minute No.304 – ‘’Public Questions & Statements’. It was agreed the paragraph should be amended to correctly record that Mr Leon Foster was present at the meeting and did read out his own submission.
Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice to Melanie Carr of Democratic Services (see contact details at bottom of page) by midday on Friday 21 May 2021, three working days before the day of the meeting. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item. Members of the public, who have given notice, will be invited to speak:
· At this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);
· When the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting;
· If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will ask anyone who may be taking a recording to cease while you speak.
It was noted that a statement had been submitted by Mr John Vannuffel as a representative of the Trail Rider Fellowship. The statement had been circulated to Forum members ahead of the meeting due to its length so that they would have ample time to digest the information provided.
In Mr Vannuffel’s absence the Chair agreed that the Secretary should read out the statement in line with the County Council’s public participation scheme, which allowed three minutes for the presentation of a statement submitted by a member of the public.
The Secretary read out the following:
1.1We write in response to the publication of a LAF document “NYLAF Sub-Group UUR Report” and provide the following as a means to inform and assist NYLAF in formulating statutory advice.
2.1. North Yorkshire UUR’s were surveyed in the 1950’s as part of the process of producing definitive maps and statements. Both Parish and County Councils were subject of a statutory duty to include UUR’s on the definitive map where it could be reasonably alleged that the UUR was a public path (i.e. bridlepath or footpath) or a Road Used as Public Path (“RUPP” – a public carriageway mainly used by the public for horseriding/walking).
2.2. Where a UUR was not recorded on the definitive map and statement, there are the following possibilities:
A. The Parish Council and County Council properly discharged their legal duties and found that the UUR was a public carriageway mainly used as a carriageway that could not be reasonably alleged to be a public path or RUPP, or
B. The Parish Council and County Council were aware of the existence of the UUR but made a mistake in deciding to omit it from the definitive map and statement on the basis that it could not be reasonably alleged to be a public path or RUPP, or
C. The Parish Council and County Council were not aware of the existence of the UUR.
2.3. The law presumes that things done by authority are done correctly and properly. Conversely, the law does not presume that something done by an authority is the result of mistake.
2.4. “Ordinary road” is a term used in relation to UUR’s to denote that a road does not fall within the scope of ways that can be recorded on the definitive map and statement. Ordinary road in that context means a public carriageway mainly used by the public for the purposes of carriageway.
2.5 Ordinary roads are not public paths, restricted byways or byways open to all traffic.
2.6. Many definitive paths in North Yorkshire terminate on UUR’s and this demonstrates that UUR’s were surveyed and found to be ordinary roads providing a continuation of the highway network.
3.1. Some UUR’s in North Yorkshire were constructed after mechanically propelled vehicles (MPV) were first used as of right on the highway in 1801.
3.2. By 1831 a Parliamentary Select Committee published its report on the use of Steam Carriages on Common Roads. ... view the full minutes text for item 313.
Purpose: To update LAF members on developments since the last meeting.
The report of the Secretary, which updated on developments since the last meeting. Specific attention was drawn to:
· The proposed amendments to the Forum’s terms of reference, as detailed in Appendix B of the report around the formation of sub-groups;
· The options for the future recruitment of Forum members, as detailed in section 4 of the report. The Chair confirmed he had looked at how other LAFs carried out recruitment. He also highlighted the need to encourage landowners to apply. It was noted other Local Access Forums had members who were able to contribute from a Business and tourism perspective, and others had members who were able to contribute on disability or environmental issues. Members agreed the members’ range of interests needed to be as diverse as possible, and the Secretary confirmed that the diversity of the membership had always been a key factor in the criteria for the consideration of applications. It was also suggested that the new volunteer co-ordinator in the Countryside Access Service team, may be able to identify volunteers who would also be interested in being a Forum member. The Secretary confirmed there were currently two vacancies on the Forum and members agreed a more informal approach to recruitment might assist in generating more interest, and that the process may benefit from having a long-standing Forum member involved in that more informal approach as described in the paragraph 4.5 of the report. Finally, it was suggested a press release on the role of the Forum could be issued, or whenever a press release was issued on a related subject by the County Council, the opportunity to raise the profile of the Forum should be taken. Janet Cochrane agreed to draft and circulate a press release for Forum members’ consideration.
· The draft ‘Shared Use’ position statement submitted by the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Access Forum at Appendix C – some Members agreed it was a fair and valid statement and therefore were minded to adopt it. However, Neil Leighton, Senior Technical Officer in NYCC Highways drew attention to the fact that the County Council’s own position statement on the usage rights of UURs differed from what had been proposed, and therefore would conflict with that of NYLAF’s if it chose to adopt the Yorkshire & Humber Regional Access Forum’s position. It was therefore agreed that consideration should be given to both agenda item 5, which detailed NYCC’s position on UURs & agenda item 6 – the sub-group’s review of NYCC’s position, before a decision was taken on whether or not to adopt the Regional Forum’s position statement on Share Use, and it was agreed to defer the decision to the Forum’s next meeting in September 2021;
· The draft position statement on ‘Preliminary Involvement in Major Projects’ at Appendix D. The Chair confirmed the statement had originally been drafted in response to a feasibility study for a major development on the A59, i.e. at an early stage in the development before detailed information was known. He also ... view the full minutes text for item 314.
Finally, Ian Kelly provided an overview of the next steps, as detailed in the report and confirmed he would welcome the views of NYLAF to assist in the development of an appropriate route prioritisation model to inform future UUR maintenance programmes.
Forum members thanks staff in CAS for the remedial works undertaken to date and noted that many routes became inaccessible due to flooding / drainage problems, and the problems that a blocked ditch could cause elsewhere. They questioned how many years it would take to complete all of the works in the pipeline based on the annual budget available. In response, Ian Kelly confirmed it was not that straightforward, as completed works also required an ongoing cyclical maintenance routine, which the budget also needed to cover.
In regard to NYCC Highways’ position on UURs, it was confirmed that CAS did not have the capacity to take a pro-active approach; the DMMO process helped to identify where action needed to be prioritised. The backlog in maintenance was difficult to assess for UURs.
It was also confirmed:
· The backlog in maintenance was difficult to assess for UURs.
· UURs were recorded on the List of Streets, and ... view the full minutes text for item 315.
Purpose: The report presents the findings from the sub-group review, together with a number of draft principles for the Forum’s consideration.
Janet Cochrane introduced her report which provided an overview of the sub-group’s review of NYCC’s UUR statement. She drew attention to the information provided by Mr Vanuffel which represented the views of the Trail Riders Fellowship, and confirmed the sub-group had also received some informal input from the British Horse Society.
It was noted the sub-group’s report had been drafted prior to seeing the UUR Management Review report at agenda item 5. The sub-group members acknowledged that in light of that report and the additional information provided at the meeting, there was further work to do and agreed they would be happy to continue their review
Ian Kelly, Countryside Access Manager confirmed the service was looking to develop a prioritisation model for the maintenance of the existing UURs and would welcome a steer from the LAF on that model.
It was noted that as part of their review, the Sub-group had already agreed it would be helpful to survey and classify all UURs. Janet Cochrane was pleased to note the use of volunteers in that task but questioned the scoring matrix used for assessing UURs. The Chair agreed further information was required on how UURs were currently scored and Ian Kelly reiterated his request for input on developing a set of criteria.
Rachel Connolly suggested that an easier and less expensive way forward would be to agree a simplified approach of maintaining stoney roads for vehicular use and for earthy roads to have TROs put on them to retain them for non-vehicular use.
Neil Leighton, NYCC Senior Highways & Transportation Officer drew attention to NYCC’s agreed legal position statement on UUR usage, and confirmed all UURs were on the List of Streets; the List of Streets did not define usage rights - the Definitive Map defined usage rights. He accepted it would be up to the LAF to have its own interpretation and decide whether it wanted to agree a position statement that differed from the County Council’s.
That the sub-group continue its work on reviewing NYCC’s UUR position statement in order to inform the LAF’s decision on whether or not the LAF should have its own UUR position statement.
Purpose: The report presents the findings from the sub-group review, together with a number of draft recommendations for the Forum’s consideration.
Will Scarlett introduced his report on the Sub-group’s review of the County Council’s webpages relevant to NYLAF.
He highlighted the work undertaken as detailed in the report and the draft recommendations presented for the LAF’s consideration. David Lepper suggested that a map to clearly define the area covered by North Yorkshire LAF would be a useful addition to the webpages and it was noted that the addition of a visual representation of the area was already covered by the draft recommendations.
The Chair thanked the sub-group for their work and it was
Resolved – That:
i. The draft recommendations in the report, be agreed by the Forum.
ii. The agreed recommendations be submitted to the Countryside Access Service for its consideration, with a request for feedback on implementation.
iii. The sub-group be dis-banded
Purpose: An opportunity for LAF members to update the Forum on District Council liaison and other LAF representative project activity since the last meeting.
The report of the Secretary giving LAF members the opportunity to update the Forum on District Council liaison and other LAF representative project activity since the last meeting.
In addition to the information provided for the report, the Chair confirmed he had received an invitation to attend a virtual A66 project meeting on 27th May 2021, and would provide feedback on that meeting in due course.
Barrie Mounty provided a verbal update on the Selby District and confirmed that Selby District Council had recently put out a statement on a number of village/small town improvements. He noted that they had each been aimed at improving pedestrianisation, but none had included opportunities for out of town parking. He suggested that surrounding rural communities would have difficulty in accessing those pedestrianised centres.
Rachel Connolly confirmed she had now received a long awaited feasibility study from Highways England for the A1 upgrade. She also drew attention to a number of outstanding areas of work for Highways England.
That the additional information provided at the meeting be noted, alongside the written updates provided in the report.
Purpose – To consider, develop and adopt a work programme for future LAF meetings.
Members considered the Forward Plan provided at Appendix 1 to the report, and invited members to identify any additional items of business to be added.
David Lepper suggested the addition of two future items:
· A presentation on DEFRAs new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) which includes the possibility of creating new access opportunities
· An update on Volunteers who work on rights of way
It was noted that an update on volunteers was scheduled to come to the next meeting of the LAF in September 2021.
Ian Kelly confirmed that the development of a Policy in regard to the prioritisation of DMMOs had yet to be completed, as the Service were still awaiting feedback from applicants.
Finally, Roma Haigh confirmed she wished to stand down as Vice-Chair. It was agreed that members should contact the Secretary if they were interest in taking up the vacant post.
Members thanked Roma for her contribution both as Vice-Chair and previously as Chair and it was
Resolved – That:
i. NYLAF’s work programme be updated to include a future update on ELMs.
ii. Roma Haigh’s resignation as Vice-Chair be accepted