- Chair’s Introduction
- Purpose of the Forum
- Membership of the Forum
- Issues Discussed
- The Year Ahead
- Financial Statement
- Membership Details and Attendance
- LAF Contact Details
This is my last Annual Report as I will be stepping down in September 2017 after seven years as Chair. As I come towards the end of my time on the Local Access Forum I wanted to highlight some of the significant work that members of the LAF have done to ensure that Access is provided for all.
The LAF has met quarterly every year with the Access and Green Lanes sub groups providing valuable advice as necessary to the full LAF. Members of the LAF have volunteered hours of their time to respond to consultation documents and provided advice on rights of way and in particular snares on Access Land, Cycling Strategies, Countryside Code, a new Statement of Action for Derbyshire’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan, Peak District National Park Management Plan, High Peak Moors Master Plan and the Peak District Management Plan, Forestry Commission Woodland, Traffic Regulation Order proposals at Chapel Gate, Leys Lane, Derby Lane and Washgate, Derbyshire County Council’s Countryside Service Volunteer Policies and High Peak Borough Council Dog Control Orders.
Probably one of the most successful partnerships has been between Derbyshire Police, the Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire County Council and motor vehicle users. Through consultation and discussion there is an agreed strategy which has led to greater understanding of the needs and benefits of appropriate behaviour in the countryside.
The Access Fund was launched in September 2014 as part of the celebrations for the 10th Anniversary of open access in the Peak District. The Access Fund is ring fenced for access improvements throughout the National Park and includes funding such items as new gates, access points, improvements to paths and signage.
As resources continue to dwindle and priorities have to be set, the consensus approach and partnership working that the LAF advocates has led to successful outcomes even on some of the most contentious issues.
It has always been a pleasure to chair the meetings as the members engage in constructive debate and seek consensus. Obtaining this consensus is important when considering that users of the countryside may all have valid but different interests. If we all continue to respect the rights and responsibilities of others the countryside will continue to provide pleasure and enjoyment for years to come. As we know for many people that live and work in the Peak District National Park there are more benefits than probably most people recognise. Every year millions of visitors come in search of that special magic that can only be experienced
in a National Park.
Thank you for the tremendous work from the current and previous LAF volunteers, officers from the Peak District National Park Authority and Derbyshire County Council. The time and dedication is very much appreciated and must not be underestimated.
Edwina Edwards, MBE
Chair, Peak District Local Access Forum
Purpose of the Forum
The Peak District Local Access Forum (PDLAF) is a statutory body, appointed jointly by the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) and Derbyshire County Council (DCC). It covers the National Park and the countryside of north-west Derbyshire around Buxton, New Mills and Glossop.
The Forum advises on the improvement of public access for the purpose of open-air recreation and enjoyment and in so doing takes into account the needs of land management and conserving the natural beauty of the area.
Membership of the Forum
Membership of the Forum is reviewed regularly to ensure a reasonable balance between the number of members from land owning, recreation and local interests. Details of the current membership are included at the end of this report and at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/laf. In 2016, Mike Johnson resigned after 7 years’ service on the LAF.
Meetings of the Forum in 2016
Formal meetings of the Local Access Forum took place on the following dates:
- Thursday 10 March, Moorland Discovery Centre, Longshaw
- Thursday 23 June, Aldern House, Bakewell
- Thursday 22 September, Aldern House, Bakewell
- Thursday 8 December, Aldern House, Bakewell
The Forum also undertook site visits to Derby Lane, Monyash and to report on green lanes in the Kirklees and Sheffield parts of the National Park.
In 2016, the Local Access Forum introduced audio webcasting for its meetings so that people could listen in live and following the meeting.
Issues discussed at the formal meetings included:
At each meeting of the Access sub-group, which met in April and July, the LAF considered access improvements and future initiatives for the Access Fund. Other matters discussed included landscape partnerships and proposals for the Authority’s woodlands, trails and estates.
In September the Forum welcomed the PDNPA’s proposals to identify and promote Miles without Stiles routes and celebrated in December the culmination of Accessible Derbyshire’s ‘big push’ to promote accessibility, the PDNPA’s award of Organisation of the Year, and its first accessibility report.
Derbyshire’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan
The County Council has provided the LAF with regular updates on progress in delivering Derbyshire’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan (RoWIP) and work towards its ten year review in 2017. During 2016 there has been continued emphasis on cycling through the continued expansion of the multi-user Greenway network; Pedal Peak II and the Pennine Bridleway National Trail. Other key issues have focused on the role of volunteers; proposed budget cuts and the review of the Rights of Way Service which the County Council provides.
The Forum has responded to the following consultations:
- National Trust Outdoor Activities Licensing Proposals
- PDNPA Proposed Traffic Regulation Orders at Washgate and Derby Lane
- DCC Countryside Service Restructure & Hayfield Visitor Centre
- DCC consultation at Jacob’s Ladder
- DCC consultations on repairs at Hurstclough Lane and Chapel Gate
- DCC Policy for Working with Community Groups
Training and Liaison
The LAF has been represented by members at:
- National Park Management Plan (NPMP) monitoring and review
- Regional LAF Chair meetings
- Sheffield Moors Partnership, Eastern Moors Partnership, and Kinder and High Peak Advisory Group
- South West Peak Landscape Partnership Access Workshop
- Derby and Derbyshire LAF Accessibility Event
The Forum was consulted on three possible traffic regulation orders and repairs on two routes during 2016. The LAF also carried out site inspections on priority routes in the Kirklees and Sheffield parts of the National Park. Legal status updates were provided by DCC and the PDNPA reported on the first meeting of the nationwide Motor Vehicle Stakeholders Working Group. The Green Lanes sub-group met in April and October
Other key matters discussed:
- Moorland restoration
- Mountain biking developments
- Updates on the Pedal Peak Project, including the White Peak Loop and Hope Valley Link
- DCC and PDNPA resource and structure reviews
- Resource issues for constituent authorities as a result of government cuts
- National Park Management Plan review
The Year Ahead
- Identifying access improvements and supporting efforts to secure contributions to the Access Fund
- Developing opportunities for inclusive access
- Involvement in landscape partnerships and the protection and promotion of countryside assets
- Involvement and input to the National Park Management Plan Review
- Reviewing and supporting Derbyshire’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan
- Developing green lanes as a resource and managing recreational motorised use
- Managing large-scale events
- Encouraging volunteer maintenance on rights of way
- Mountain biking and future opportunities for the wider Peak District and Derbyshire
- Seeking further expansion and improvements to horse riding routes and opportunities, including Lost Ways
- Pursuing completion of the Pennine Bridleway around Glossop, and sustaining funding for the Pennine Way and Pennine Bridleway National Trails
- Working with neighbouring Local Access Forums, Access and Highway Authorities on shared interests
- Further training in conjunction with Natural England and others
- Continue to raise the profile of the Local Access Forum among a wider audience
Dates of Meetings in 2017
- Thursday 9 March, Aldern House, Bakewell
- Thursday 15 June, Aldern House, Bakewell
- Thursday 21 September, Moorland Discovery Centre, Longshaw
- Thursday 7 December, Aldern House, Bakewell
Financial Statement 2016
Room hire, refreshments & lunches
The Peak District National Park Authority administers and provides secretariat for the Forum with financial support from Derbyshire County Council.
Member attendance at the LAF meetings in 2016.
Details of the Forum are available at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/laf All Forum meetings are open to the public and, by prior arrangement, members of the public may ask to speak at the meetings. Meetings are at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/lafmeetings and are available on audio webcast.
Mike Rhodes (Access and Rights of Way Manager, Peak District National Park Authority), firstname.lastname@example.org
Gill Millward (Countryside Access Improvement Officer, Derbyshire County Council), email@example.com