Agenda item

Path progress Report: September 2018- February 2019

To receive a report on the above titled item.


* (The Chair amended the order of agenda items to consider item 5 first due to technical difficulties with the agreement of the Panel.)


Anthony Hurst, Parks and Countryside Manager (RBWM) outlined that the report would seek to update the Panel on the progress made with Public Rights of Way issues during the period from August 2018 to February 2019. Members were informed that the total number of outstanding reported problems on the Public Rights of Way had risen from 9 to 8 during the reporting period. The Panel were told that there had been an enforcement issue at Eton bridleway as outlined in the report which was now resolved. Members were informed that the enforcement action had taken place within the required time but that there had been some difficulty with the landowner carrying out the work. Members were told that landowners had sent photos to officers after commencing and completing work and that this had been helpful in reducing the amount of resource time for officers when checking works had been completed. Members were reminded that officers were willing to work with landowners with improvement and enforcement matters, and that where an extension request was made that this was considered on its own merit, on a case by case basis. The Panel were informed that there were 6 outstanding enforcement cases on the 31st January 2019 and that there had been 32 enforcement problems which had been reported across the period. Members queried the outstanding issues and it was noted that the outstanding issues related to, Bray FP1 (off Ascot Road), Horton BR 4 (off Foundry Lane), Old Windsor FP3 (Thames Path), Sunninghill FP5 (off Cheapside Road), Sunninghill FP 18 (Marston Way), Sunninghill FP 36 (off High Street), Wraysbury FP 6 (Douglas Lane) and Eton FP 19 (South Field). Councillor Werner queried which authority would be responsible for resurfacing and it was confirmed that any rights of way resurfacing issues would remain with RBWM.



 Members were told that in on the 15th July 2016 that Orders were made to add fourteen footpaths at Thamesfield to the definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way. A number of objections had been received to all of the Orders and a Local Public inquiry was held from the 1st-4th May 2018. It was noted that the Inspector who had conducted the Inquiry published his decision on the 19th July 2018  and that thirteen of the fourteen Orders were confirmed as made and that one Order was not confirmed. The Panel were told that the public footpath signs had been installed at the entrances to the footpaths from the surrounding road network and that all thirteen footpaths were now open and in use. It was highlighted that these thirteen footpaths added approximately 2.9km (1.8miles) to the public rights of way network in the borough.


Members were updated that a new bridge across “The Cut” linking Maidenhead Road to the Green Way at Braywick Park was opened on the 17th September 2018. Members were reminded that the bridge had been named in memory of Margaret Bowdery, former President of the East Berkshire Ramblers in recognition of her contributions to improving and protecting public rights of way and access to the countryside in the Royal Borough. Members were informed that the Rt Honorable Theresa May had been in attendance at the opening and that a plaque had been placed at the inauguration. Members commended the commitment of officers in the planning and development of this bridge along with the exemplary materials used.


Members were also told that RBWM had recently purchased an area of farmland off of Lower Cookham Road/Sutton Road which was to be named “Battlemead Common”. It was intended that a new footpath would be opened in March 2019 to complete a missing link in the Milennium Walk which would run from the Thames at Hurley to the Thames north of Boulters Lock. This route was intended to be used as part of the annual “Maidenhead Boundary Walk” which takes place each October. Members were grateful for the addition of this land to the public rights of way catalogue and felt that this was a great addition to the borough. It was highlighted that there would be 28 boundary stones within the land and that work was being done to place these into position ( where they had been dislodged) to allow walkers to follow this path. The Chair queried whether there would be a new car park as part of this acquisition and planning of land and it was confirmed that there would be a car park but that the details were being finalised. Council Werner queried whether this land should be protected and it was discussed that there was very limited opportunity to build upon this land due to flood plain issues. It was also noted that there would be very little other protection offered with this classification to the land if it was to be “protected”. The Chair queried whether the routes proposed would include bridleways and it was confirmed that the paths would be specifically designed for walkers, and it was unlikely that there would be dedicated cyclist or bridleway paths.


The Panel were informed that the Public Rights of Way Team had worked with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA), Ways into Work (WiW) and Centrica to carry out practical work upon the public rights of way in the borough over the past 6 months. Members were told that 165 hours of condition survey work had been carried out over September 2018- January 2019. In total it was reported that a total of £6,715.50 had been saved by the contributions and volunteering work. Members commended the work of the volunteers and their work and it was suggested that a vote of thanks be written to all involved.


ACTION- That the Chair write a letter of thanks to TCV, BCA, WiW and Centrica for their volunteering work and contributions.


Members were also informed that an advert had been recently placed in the newsletter, ‘ in and around the Royal Borough’ for the current Local Access Forum(LAF) vacancies. Members were encouraged to circulate this information to their networks and alert officers if they were aware of any suitable candidates. The Panel were introduced to Jackie River, who would be supporting the LAF moving forward.



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