Rose Wicks briefly explained the purpose of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2 (ROWIP2) and the mechanisms of how the actions being delivered would be monitored and reported on. Parks & Countryside (P&C) officers would update members on actions delivered at LCAF meetings, as well as prepare a report by the end of March to present to Bracknell Forest Council’s Departmental Management Team (DMT). Members were invited to share any updates to be included in that report.
Graham Pockett and Rose Wicks presented examples of ROWIP2 actions delivered since the last meeting. These were centred on some of the main policies put forward in the document
Policy 1 Rights of Way for all
Action 10 concerned providing and maintaining an up-to-date online web-based map which was to include detail of potential impediments to access such as gates and stiles. It was confirmed that once the mapping work was complete, that this information would be made available to the public so that they could use this to better plan their recreation/work/school routes.
Work was progressing well to record and map Public Rights of Way (PRoW) furniture such as stiles and gates, with the valuable assistance of volunteer path wardens
Sandhurst was the latest parish being mapped, with an example given of footpaths which were deemed as having only moderate access owing to the five kissing gates along its length.
Work needed to be continued in Crowthorne and the rest of Winkfield once the mapping of Sandhurst had been completed.
A Borough-wide map of PRoW furniture would be used to prioritise resources to improve the network by removing obstacles to access. Consideration will be given to including this type of project as part of future planning obligations.
Members discussed the accessibility of kissing gates to all users, but particularly to wheelchair users, and the need to only provide furniture where it was necessary. BFC were asked to look into the possibility of depicting on the map where animals reside, so this can be used to inform decisions about if furniture was necessary on PRoW, in consultation with the landowner. Rose Wicks proposed to add this detail as part of attributes within the GIS data i.e. not as a symbol on the map, which was already very busy with other symbology.
The focus would be to finish this mapping work, quality check the information and then prioritise removing/updating what’s deemed the least accessible furniture first. Members would be kept informed and involved in this project.
It was proposed to provide volunteer path inspectors with copies of the furniture map for them to check and use in future inspections.
(Action: Rose Wicks, Rob Solomon and Volunteer Path Inspectors)
Policy 2 Fulfil legal duties
Action 17 concerned responding to issues with PRoW. Graham Pockett updated members on the agreed new restriction to come into force to motorised vehicles along a section of the Devil’s Highway, and which was due to coincide with the closure of The Crown Estate car park
The new restriction was necessary to protect the surface of the right of way (Restricted Byway) from further deterioration caused by heavy motorised vehicle use. Preparatory work was already well underway, with new signage being prepared and surface repair works being drawn up so that its intended users (i.e. walkers, cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn carriages) could still access the right of way.
There was a concern about people parking on the private road being the first section of the route when the car park was closed. It was decided during a recent consultation with residents that official-looking signage would hopefully discourage parking on the private road.. A communication has been drafted to be included in the Crowthorne Eye publication with a link to the council website which would have more detail.
Other matters included the resurfacing of a small section of Sandhurst FP13 – Calvert Walk – following a report that tree roots from a neighbouring property were growing through the surface of the path. This route was noted to be very well-used and a good linking route used by Uplands Primary School. Resources have been allocated for these resurfacing works, which will be carried out by the end of the financial year. BFCs transport team confirmed that there are no plans at present to turn this FP into a cycleway. There was a mixed reaction from members about the suitability of this route for cycling.
Action 19 concerned processing temporary closures of PRoW where required. Graham Pockett outlined plans for a new access road and beginning construction of a segregated crossing where Avery Lane (Warfield BW8) meets the new highway. A discussion followed about how pedestrians and riders would have to give way to new traffic.
A permanent Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for Avery Lane was consulted on and approved by the Thames Valley Police prohibiting motorised vehicles and horse drawn carriages.
It was proposed to provide members with a copy of the PRoW map so they have this to refer to at the future meetings.
(Action: Rose Wicks)
Policy 3 Routes and links
Action 1 resolved to review and update current online BFC route guides and maps. Rose Wicks had received suggestions about potential new accessible walking routes from a colleague who was a keen walker at a recent One Council event. One of these routes was a circular walk starting and finishing in Jocks Park Binfield, and passed through green spaces including Garth Meadows, Piggy Wood, Quelm Lane and Cabbage Hill. This route would be two miles approximately with hard surface for most of the route. There would be many pedestrian gates but no stiles. It was noted that the map displayed was not entirely accurate and would be redrawn.
(Action: Rose Wicks to update the route map and circulate for feedback.)
Policy 4 Information and marketing
Action 5 concerned supporting existing healthy walking and green exercise schemes and backing the development of new initiatives. P&C joined forces with Public Health to run the Pope’s and Amen Corner volunteer-led walk which celebrated Self Care Week and which ran from 12-18 November 2018.
Reference was made to the action to review the three Accessible Rural Route Guides (Jock’s Lane and The Cut, Larks Hill and West End, Frost’s Folly and Warfield Church). Members were asked for assistance in suggesting new walking, cycling and horse riding routes, which would then be drawn up by BFC and tested before being made available on BFCs website. A number of volunteers agreed to help out with this work, which would be done as a working group via email. Several members volunteered to assist with this work including Jenny Yung, Hugh Flitzwilliams and Colin Bird. It was proposed to circulate an email to members following the meeting.
(Action: Rose Wicks)
Rose displayed a list of activities promoted by the Public Health Team. Members discussed additional activities which they felt needed to be included on this list; in particular Park Run was deemed to be very popular in Great Hollands.
Policy 8 Working in Partnership
Action 28 concerned working with neighbouring LAFs and highway authorities to identify and address cross boundary Rights of Way anomalies and explore opportunities for promoting PRoW and circular routes. Other aims included exploring ways of improving consistency in signage and way-marking on cross-boundary routes. Members were informed of the meeting dates of neighbouring LAFs and members who were interested in attending were invited to contact Rose Wicks who would assist in getting something set up for them.
It was noted that Andrew Fletcher who used to work at The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) is now the Rights of Way manager at Wokingham.
Policy 9Raise strategic profile
The new logo designs (one in colour and the other in black and white) were displayed. Members agreed that the new logo made correspondence look more professional. The colour version would be preferred unless the letter needed to be printed in black and white.