Colin Bird reported on the Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) action points listed and confirmed that the diverted link to Ambarrow had now been completed.
The members and officers discussed access to the new Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) at Frost Folly. Public access to SANG 2 was restricted while the site was still managed by the developers. This had raised some enquiries from residents, who were frustrated about why the site still appeared to be closed off. The site would be opened to the public once it had transferred to Bracknell Forest Council.
Action: Graham Pockett to arrange for signage to be installed explaining why the site wasn’t currently available.
There was no current update on the proposal to create a new path between Cabbage Hill and Hazelwood Lane, as the matter currently rested with Thames Water’s land agent.
Action: Graham Pockett to follow up with Thames Water.
Graham Pockett reported that the council had created a new footpath link (Sandhurst FP27) which would run through Ambarrow Court and would be a public right of way. This footpath created a logical way out of Ambarrow Court and followed the route of the Three Castles Path towards Horseshoe Lake. New signage would also be established in the area.
In addition, there was also a new urban footpath (Sandhurst FP26) near Waitrose in College Town, Sandhurst. Notices had gone out and there would be 42 days for residents to object or make representations, ending on 7th July.
There was also a new countryside route in Bullbrook which included 4.7 miles of footpath with bespoke waymarkers and three information lecterns. There were plans for the maps and information to be provided on the council’s website. It was also confirmed that the ‘What three words’ information was now included on the Bracknell Forest Council website. In future, the new footpaths would link the area to other local routes.
Developing new accessible routes
Information was being put together for a new accessible circular route around Jocks Park, Cabbage Hill and Garth Meadow. Once developed, this would replace the out of date ‘Accessible Rural Routes’ that were previously published on the council’s website. The aim was to make the route as accessible as possible to all pedestrians, including those in wheelchairs. Members highlighted that there was a stiff gate which could cause difficulty for some users. They also advised that travelling in an anti-clockwise direction would ensure there was a less steep incline. Concerns were raised that the route may not be accessible in winter if the weather was wet especially for wheelchair users.
Once all the relevant information was prepared the route would be advertised through the Parks and Countryside newsletter. A specific request would be made for feedback from residents, especially those with accessibility needs, so that further adjustments could be made to the route if required. It was noted that the forum was interested in exploring additional accessible routes.
Actions: Colin Bird and other volunteer members to re-walk the route to further review accessibility. Colin to draft instructions for the route and Rose Wicks to start mapping it.
Removing obstacles to Public Rights of Way
Rob Solomon presented to the forum pictures of accessibility improvements along Crowthorne Footpath 8. Tall and poorly accessible metal stiles had been removed and were either left open or replaced with a pedestrian or kissing gate.
Rose Wicks confirmed that the project to map furniture on PRoW to show accessibility, was ongoing and detailed the types of gates and whether they are accessible.
Improving access to Public Rights of Way
Rob Solomon confirmed that 30 tonnes of recycled highways materials had been used to resurface sections of rural lanes at a low cost. One area was Hawthorne Lane (Warfield Bridleway 25) which often experienced seasonal water logging and it was hoped the resurfacing would prevent this.
Promoting active travel opportunities.
Rose Wicks reported that the council would be creating videos to promote active travel including walking and cycling in the area and would be filming at Lily Hill Park. It was hoped that photographs of the filming could also be obtained to advertise Bracknell Forest as a filming location.