Agenda and minutes

Local Countryside Access Forum - Tuesday, 10 October 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell

Contact: Emma Young  01344 352269

No. Item




Peter Radband welcomed Forum members to the meeting.


Minutes of Last Meeting and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 157 KB


The minutes of the meeting on 20 June 2017 were approved as a correct record subject to the following changes:

  • Item 53 was specifically an update on the feedback received from the ROWIP user survey and not the consultation on the draft plan, which took place at a later date.
  • Correct item spelling to Hogoak Lane.


Arising from the minutes, the following points were noted:

  • The final number of responses to the ROWIP user survey was 328.





Rose Wicks updated the Forum on the feedback received in response to the public consultation on the draft ROWIP2, which had now closed. Rose thanked members of the Forum for their input and advised members that the draft Plan would be going to the Council’s Executive for approval at the end of October.


Feedback from 4 members of the public were discussed and the following points were raised:

  • A request was made for a new cycle path parallel to Old Wokingham Road / Peacock Lane. Upgrading the surface of the current path (not a PRoW) might help to improve access for cyclists, however not all of the land was in the Borough Council’s control, which limited options about what could realistically be achieved. This matter was to be run past the Council’s Transport Development Team. (Action Graham Pockett)
  • It was suggested by a respondent that Murellhill Lane be recognised as a PRoW, however as it was already classed as an ancient highway, it already had more rights then a PRoW.
  • The RoWIP focused on the use of pavements by cyclists but could equally apply to pedestrians on cycle lanes, which needed to be better reflected in the plan. It was asked whether there could be clearer distinction between paths and cycle lanes, including installing signage at points where pedestrians were likely to join the cycle lane.  At the LAF conference there was little perceived conflict between user groups of shared routes and members’ agreed that segregating a footpath might actually give rise to greater conflict, as it increased the perceived division between the two. (Action Graham Pockett)
  • A request was received for a key to the tick system in resource requirements featured in the Action Plan table. (Action: Rose Wicks)
  • Members’ agreed with the suggestion to make full use of partner organisations to help promote activities such as walking in the borough. There would also be scope to create a map with parks and routes.

Feedback from groups and organisations was received as part of the consultation and Rose Wicks thanked Forum members for their contributions, particularly for the feedback they had provided to the Action Plan prior to the consultation going live.


It was noted that the promotion of cycle routes should be incorporated as a new action in the RoWIP, to sit alongside the action to promote circular walks (Action Ref.1). (Action: Rose Wicks)


It was suggested that the council should add an action to produce online copies of routes in GPX format, for Garmin/smart phones, as well as the current pdf versions. (Action: Rose Wicks)


It was also acknowledged that there were opportunities to create connections between Bracknell Forest PRoW and other authorities to create longer routes.


Feedback from the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership was discussed and the following points raised:


  • The partnership would support a statement to get the Blackwater Valley Path dedicated as a PRoW. (Action Graham Pockett)
  • To take a wider approach to analysing the network. Expansion of the PRoW maps to include cycle  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.


PROW and Local Developments


Graham Pockett updated the Forum on PROW and local developments at Amen Corner South. The current housing proposals couldn’t be shown as the plans were commercially sensitive. It was acknowledged that the current pathways in the area were not good and it was hoped that the new development would improve access. It was noted that the proposed development would disrupt the current pathways and would mean diversions would be necessary. Major roads and cycle paths were planned around the development which would be used as diversions.


Currently Wokingham Borough Council had no plans to link their pathways to the Bracknell Forest borough via this site


Membership and recruitment


Rose Wicks updated the Forum on plans to increase membership and recruitment. Leaflets had recently been sent to Bracknell Forest libraries and Shop Mobility. Further copies were to be printed and distributed to local Town and Parish Councils, South Hill Park and The Look Out. Advertisements for LCAF membership would also be posted on BFCs social media. (Action: Rose Wicks)


The Forum was asked to encourage new membership to the Forum where possible. (Action: All)




Reports from meetings and site visits


·         National Conference

·         LAF Chairs meeting

·         Report on Mid and West Berks visit

·         Meeting with Transport Development Team


Updates were given to the Forum on the latest meetings and site visits.


LAF National Conference

Hugh Fitzwilliam reported on the National Conference and highlighted the key themes. Theme’s included avoiding the desire to preserve the environment through limiting access and the issues with discourteous dog walkers. The success of LCAF in Shropshire to recruit from interested groups and encourage tourism was also discussed however it was acknowledged these approaches would not work for Bracknell Forest.


It was noted that the group would like to recruit from diverse backgrounds including those with disabilities.


LAF Chairs meeting

Peter Radband reported on the LAF Chairs meeting and acknowledged that much of the discussion did not affect the Bracknell Forest area. It was noted that the exit of the UK from the European Union could cause PRoW to be put at risk due to the potential for agricultural subsidies to be discontinued. Bracknell Forest Council was to host the meeting in January and anyone could add business to the agenda.


Mid and West Berks site visit

Peter Radband updated the group on the site visit to California Country Park. £600,000 had been spent on updating the path so it was 3m wide and had sockets for winter lighting. New gates had also been installed; however these were not suitable for disabled tramper access. It was noted that despite the addition of winter lights, the paths would be too dark for children in the winter. Currently Wokingham Borough Council had no plans to link the path to Bracknell Forest Borough.



Transport Development Team Meeting

The Forum was updated on Peter’s meeting with the Council’s Transport Development Team. Phillip Burke was very proactive in this area and was happy to attend a future meeting of LCAF. (Action: Rose Wicks)

The possibility of adding chicanes at Wildmoor Heath to protect cyclists was discussed. The Transport Development Team would investigate using quiet roads to link roads from the meadows through Sandhurst and on to Bracknell.


Forum members confirmed they would be happy to share email addresses with each other in order to be better placed to organise future site visits.



Annual Report


Rose Wicks confirmed that subject to receiving no feedback from LCAF, that the 2016 annual report would be uploaded to Council’s website in the near future (Action: Rose Wicks)


Members were asked to submit ideas for the 2017 Annual report to Rose Wicks (Action: All)


Rose Wicks reported that Natural England had not asked for feedback from LCAF, which was usually submitted on an annual basis via an annual review form. It was agreed that LCAF should focus on the Bracknell Forest Annual Report and only feedback to Natural England if necessary.





WOW Week of Walks

The WOW Week of Walks led by the Bracknell Forest Society was very popular and well received even when there was poor weather. The Forum thanked Hugh Fitzwilliams for his contribution to the walks.


Cabbage Hill Site Visit

It was reported that the site visit to Cabbage Hill was very positive with impressive landscaping, biodiversity and trees from Berkley Homes.



It was hoped the TRL site would be another high quality development and was planned to include a mix of flats, terraced and 3/4/5 bedroom houses, a care home and a community centre. The forum agreed they would be interested in an early site visit. (Action: Graham Pockett to arrange)


Michael Abbott reported that the three stiles close to Broadmoor on Eastern Lane needed replacing as the current high stiles were difficult to get over. discussed discussion took place on what type of gate would be appropriate to allow wheelchair access and it was noted that possible options were currently being examined by the Council.


Councillor Michael Brossard commented on the inclusion in the latest planning committee agenda of the requirement to investigate invasive plant species and eradicate them before building on the site. Members’ agreed that this seemed to be a good course of action to take.


Rose Wicks confirmed that the group would be kept informed of the progress of the new ROWIP. (Action: Rose Wicks)



Public Question Time

(Maximum 10 Minutes)


There were no questions from members of the public on this occasion.


Date of Next Meeting

Date to be confirmed.


Further meetings were to be held on the following dates:

6 February 2018

26 June 2018

2 October 2018