The local residents association have added their weight to calls for access to Acomb Moor to be made safer.
They have written to local Councillors making the following points.
The tree trunk blocking the access needs to be moved by about 1 foot to allow pedestrian access. We understand that Andrew has this in hand. If the field tenants won’t do it then 2 or 3 fit people should be able to roll the log. The stile then needs to be reinstated
The route across the field could then be re-established. Pragmatically a line down the side of the field – parallel to Foxwood Lane – could be established to link with the desire line path which is now clearly marked at the bottom of the field. (It will be for the owners to apply for a formal PROW diversion order if they wish to discourage people for walking through, what will presumably by the spring be, a cropped field). Obviously the current practice of people climbing over a 1.5 metre high metal gate is potentially hazardous and precludes some less ambient residents (who ironically are perhaps those most needing access to informal walking options) from using the paths.
The stile at the bottom corner needs to be repaired and hardcore put on the approaches.
Neither of the access points to the Council owned section of the path near Osprey Close have had the promised hardcore put down. Both these paths are narrow and on a gradient, They will become increasingly slippery in poor winter weather. So some action needs to be taken now.
Further along the path near and in Acomb Wood there are sections which are subject to flooding and which would also benefit from having hardcore put down.
Our application to have the route from Foxwood Lane to Osprey Close – across Acomb Moor – recognised has passed another hurdle.
We understand that at a private meeting held on Tuesday Council officials decided to make a definitive map modification order (DMMO). The order should be made and published within the next few months. This would mean that the Public Right of Way route would be added to footpath maps.
The meeting was held behind closed doors and no agenda was published. This meant that interested parties were not able to make (further) representations. We understand that the background papers may not be published on the Councils website until next week.
We understand that initial consultation and review of the available evidence was completed and it was apparent that there is sufficient evidence to “reasonably allege that a public right of way subsists over the application route”. Under these circumstances the Council is required to make a DMMO by section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
There will be a period of time during which objections to the designation can be made. If any objections are not subsequently withdrawn then the matter is referred to the Secretary of State for determination. This sometimes results in a Public Inquiry.
So it could be several months before the issue is entirely resolved.
In the meantime we have asked the Council to take steps to ensure that public access to the path is available for the point on Foxwood Lane where the stile used to be located (currently blocked by a tree trunk).
NB. We hope that the promised extension of the York Strays will include at least part of Acomb Moor. It is already used as an informal “country park”, is an important leisure area for the neighbourhood, it falls within the Green Belt and is on the most accessible side of the A1237. There is considerable scope for promoting conservation of flora and fauna in the area not least through re-establishing hedgerows where they have disappeared”.
As “normality” returns to our streets we are looking to the authorities to demonstrate that they have a plan which will see an increase in social pride in local neighbourhoods.
The Councils much hyped “health hubs” are winding down as the premises they occupy – such as libraries – are made ready for a return to their normal uses.
The longer established neighbourhood hubs have yet to reopen although the extended summer holidays mean that demand for their services is greater than ever. Informal meeting places would provide a welcome relief from social isolation particularly for those who have endured lock-down on their own. They are also a potential valuable resource for families during the extended school break.
Many of the venues for these hubs remain closed with no published plans for them to reopen when social distancing rules allow.
Perhaps surprisingly the York Council has yet to address other tensions which are likely to increase as more people are out and about. There is no room on the agenda for community safety at today’s first COVID “Board” meeting. Yet anti social behaviour is already increasing in some estates as lock-down is eased.
We reported before Christmas, that a Council project aimed at reducing flooding in the Osprey Close area, had stalled. The result was that in wet weather the link to Acomb Moor and Acomb Wood became impassible.
The Council promised to put hard core down on an alternative access but this was delayed.
Work on completing the job didn’t recommence before the Coronavirus lock-down prevented further progress.
Although most of the path is accessible now that the mud has gone, the alternative link path is steep and potentially hazardous for the less physically able. This is a shame given the large numbers of people wanting to use this, and similar, routes for their daily exercise.
Nearby the Public Right of Way application for Acomb Moor has also stalled and will not be pursued until normal work resumes at the Council.
In the meantime volunteers are trying to keep hedges trimmed back to allow continued use of the path.
Some reports of highway defects are being knocked back with “no further action required” responses this year.
One of the deficiencies of the Councils “report it on line” system is that no reason for inaction is given. There was a time when a pothole might go unfilled because it didn’t meet what were styled “the Councils intervention level”. Basically they weren’t judged to be deep enough.
Eventually frost damage would, of course, ensure that it did become bad enough to justify filling.
But there are some very uneven roads which are, perversely, being judged as safe these days
Council officials are also reluctant to send warning letters to drivers who have damaged verges, even when it is obvious who is responsible,
One piece of better news, with local Councillors reporting that work on finishing drainage work on the Osprey Close footpath will recommence shortly. The footpath may be diverted around the worst of the mud with further repairs to the land drains taking place when the area dries out.
The Foxwood Residents Association has now served notice on the owners of the land that the Foxwood Lane/Osprey Close Public Right of Way crosses.
This forms part of the proposal to have the path included on the definitive rights of way map.
The York Council will now consider the proposal.
The link has been used by residents for over 30 years. It starts on Foxwood Lane, near the former kennels site, and finishes at the kissing gate access on Osprey Close.
Many “evidence of use” forms have already been submitted. There is still time to confirm that you have used at least part of the claimed route at some time over the last 20 years. Even a couple of years occasional use helps to build the evidence base.
The Foxwood Residents Association have today launched a project aimed at getting the footpath which links Osprey Close to Foxwood Lane (opposite Foresters Walk) designated as an official Public Right of Way (PROW).
Doubt had been cast on the status of this well-used path by the landowners who are we understand objecting to its inclusion on the definitive footpath map.
The path forms part of a network of walks which are particularly popular with dog owners.
The landowners stopped grazing the field last year. As a result, sections have become overgrown
About 6 years ago the owners tried to get Acomb Moor (of which the affected fields form part) allocated as development land. This proposal was rejected in 2015 but a public inquiry into the Council’s new “Local Plan” is due to start shortly and there are concerns that the green belt boundary may once again be brought into question.
Confirmation of the line of the path would help to ward off any change and would also allow much needed repairs to be undertaken to the access stile
To register a Public Right of Way, at least 20 people are needed to sign a document saying that they have used the route during, at least, part of the last 20 years.
It is clear from the wear on the entrances to the path that many people do use it.
If you are prepared to sign an evidence form confirming that you have used the path during the last 20 years (or more) please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org We will arrange for a form to be sent to you.
Following the delivery of a newsletter over the weekend several people have already come forward and offered to fill in evidence of use forms.