Muscliff to Berry Hill Footpath

Follow up E-mail from Councillor Ronald Whittaker to Stuart Clarke and Edward Alexander - Bournemouth Borough Council

13th November 2009

RE: Muscliff to Berry Hill Footpath

Stuart, Hi,

As we both know over past years have raised on so many occasions the situation of the difficulties that Horse riders are having within the Throop area, more so with the ever increasing traffic on Throop Road and Muscliffe lane, that's why after nearly 20 years we now have got the sustrans lottery bid underway for the bridleway crossing which once the bridge is build, which wont be until a few years yet as we know, will allow Horse riders to gain access over the river out to the forest and beyond, meantime we have the present situation of some 120 horses in Throop and little areas for the riders to exercise their horses, as most are on private land and not really available to ride/exercise as such, hence the detail e-mail as you know from Diane Pusey yesterday, again Anne Peters who has always campaign the cause in our area for bridleway facilities, hence her request in 2000, for attention to be given to the existing footpath running from Berry Hill through to the Arboretum, [know as M 15], we have previously requested that such could be up-graded to allow a safe route for exercising ones horse, know i have come up again difficulties about taking some of the land abutting the river but here we should be seeking wherever possible to support the many horse riders in the area to allow and large within the flood plain to be used.

Unfortunately with Bev leaving the authority in May were never were able to take forward her email and thoughts on this matter.

Am going to request that we take this forward to the panel next year, so we can give proper coverage to this matter.

Many thanks,

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply by Councillor Ronald Whittaker

19th May 2009

RE: Muscliff to Berry Hill Footpath

Bev,

Can I thank you for what is an extremely detail and interesting e-mail, you certainly have addressed many of the issues in great detail for that many thanks, yes please if in due course these matter could be seriously discussed with all relevant partners/officers to see as how many of the ideas could be taken forward.

Talking to one of the present farm Tenants, they are extremely interested in allowing some of the farming land for horses, as they are really struggling in the farm business, so please lets at least enable a proper and open discussion with all interested groups.

Know my two ward colleagues are very keen to see these issues progressed.

Meantime many thanks Bev,

Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail from Bev Lagden - Rights of Way and Walking Officer

18th May 2009

RE: Muscliff to Berry Hill Footpath

Councillors, Officers,

I am happy to meet to discuss with other Officers. I don’t think I have Ed Alexander’s original e-mail apologies if I have I do spend time and try to manage my inbox! I have removed from cc list those I don’t know or those external to this Officers discussion. I have added Lucy Marstrand our Cycling Officer to the cc list.

The Councils has powers (not duties) to create new paths (includes creating a bridleway from a footpath or extending a footpath) by creation agreements (s25 Highways Act 1980) and there is even compulsory creation legislation (s26 Highways Act 1980) for creating footpaths and bridleways but then compensation payments are usually sought/can end up at land tribunal. The way created is automatically maintainable at public expense and need to be certified as fit for purpose. The Highway Authority has a duty to carry out any works and may recover costs if that was part of the agreement or compensation. Dorset County Council have experience of compulsory path creation although it must be shown that attempts to undertake by agreement were first tried.

To upgrade footpath M15 (part of the Stour Valley Way) to a bridleway with current resources plus additional funding for compensation, path creation works, legal time and perhaps a consultant like Chris Slade or Tim Slade (local consultants with experience of doing path orders) to do the creation agreement or order depending on available officer time in Transport and Leisure might take 2 years with due legal process, negotiations, fund raising etc. It is a long route so fencing would be a considerable cost if we were to take that on board (Highway Authorities are not normally responsible for fencing but that might be part of the compensation offered or apply if it is on our land) and I’m not sure funding sources would be found externally for compensation payments. It might be possible to fund some of this from next year’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) budget if it is set around the same as this year as bridleway provision is identified as a shortfall in meeting modern needs in the ROWIP (available here and Bournemouth central library). There isn’t a management plan for the Stour Valley Way or a steering group since Greenlink ended so we should consult with DCC and BoP and other partners on the change of status of part of the route.

Impact on the local road network, safe crossings etc are also areas with low budgets that would warrant consideration and are not traditionally funded by the lottery etc.

A new bridleway would benefit off road cycling as since 1968 Countryside Act cyclists can use bridleways Horse riding is a low carbon activity and provides ‘eyes and ears’ on the network to report problems. It is also something disabled children take part in in some areas giving them respite, sense of freedom even. I don’t know if there is such provision in Throop however children gain a sense of independence, road sense and responsibility from horse riding and generally do not pose a threat to others walking the route. I understand in semi-rural areas some walkers are concerned about dangerous horses/dogs and horses mixing but in other rural settings and even semi rural areas they seem to rub along together in many many instances. Horses are meant to walk and trot on bridleways not canter or gallop and the Urban Heaths Partnership produced a leaflet on horse riding on the heath. Jean Heaton who was a local representative of the British Horse Society (now stepping back a little from such activity as she has retired) last year put me in touch last with ‘Business in the Community’ which led to 70 volunteers over 2 days from LV laying a disabled mesh path on the Wilderness Way and waymarking the horse riding route in Stour Valley Local Nature Reserve. This was great joint working of Transport and Leisure Services. Jean has undertaken fundraising in the past and local horse riding representatives might be able to assist in this way?

With a reducing land availability and pressure to reduce carbon footprints shared used routes would seem to be a priority solution however I am sure there area some valid reasons not to proceed that warrant careful consideration. I think Agriculture itself provides a carbon sink and so is important to keep farming viable. I realise diversity of species is important but global warming doesn’t help with diversity of species either, may lead to introduced species from Europe to taking firmer hold and put native species on the extreme of their environmental range and might be a bigger threat we face as a species ourselves with extreme weather conditions, flood events, our own environmental range, so off road travel by horseriding and cycling are important for recreational journeys and may assist with modal shift leaving the car behind as these 120 local horse riders would not have to box their horses to go for a ride, local cyclists could cycle locally etc. Some perceive horse riders as the affluent who should exercise their horses on their own land however many pony club children and other riders look after their horses themselves and it takes a large part of their household income to own feed and graze their horses. Yet 2 car households...

I am sure there are many considerations and deliverability issues and do not wish to over-simplify or speak too frankly but there is a case for bridleways and the Big Green Fortnight has put reducing carbon dioxide levels at the forefront of my thinking.

Best regards,

Bev Lagden

Rights of Way and Walking Officer

Town Hall Annexe

Councillor Anne Rey to Edward Alexander - Bournemouth Borough Council

15th May 2009

RE: Muscliff to Berry Hill Footpath

Dear Ed,

I totally support Cllr Ron here, this road has changed considerably over the last few years with increased traffice not compatible with horses and their riders. Let's hope that a solution can be found.

Best wishes,

Councillor Anne Rey

E-mail from Councillor Ronald Whittaker to Edward Alexander - Bournemouth Borough Council

15th May 2009

RE: Muscliff to Berry Hill Footpath

Ed,

Firstly thank you for your email regarding the Farms Estate (12th May), naturally am extremely disappointed that the suggestions of seeking to overcome the present safety issues of horses/riders on the carriageway of Throop road/ Muscliffe lane by giving very serious attention to extending / upgrading the existing footpath to Bridleway from Berry Hill to Stour Acres, read carefully all you said in your e-mail of 12 th. but here you can see from the Comments of Anne Peters, who has campaign for the past twenty plus years for a river crossing, to enable those 120 horses within the Throop area to gain access to the wide and open spaces beyond, at present as we all know to gain access to the Stour valley. horse riders have to go via Throop road and Muscliffe lane, Anne email has so clearly defined the need to seek through the various external funding to look very seriously at making the present path from Berry Hill into a bridleway, alternative is the land in our ownership alongside the river, this as we know is within the flood plain.

Have read your reasons why it cannot be achieved, as it seems here we need the landlords consent as the present agreement is the old agricultural agreement, yes as you say fencing would become an expensive operation, but here again, surely we would have a call on potential funding sources from the Heathland mitigation contributions, even perhaps 106, one welcomes reintroducing cattle to Hicks farm, but it does seem every time members try through local representation to seek to enhance ideas they fall at the first hurdle, yes again the suggestion of looking at establishing an Equine again hits the buffers due to what you say,would breech of agreement.

What i would like if officers could go away and talk this through with interested parties to see if the suggestions put forward by Anne Peters and myself could be given serious consideration, otherwise we just continue in the same old way of not ever really achieving anything in the Throop area, after all we had a real dream with the prospect of a exciting scheme for a vision of Hicks Farm of an outdoor learning @interpretation centre and working farm, all deferred by the new administration.

Many thanks,

Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail from Anne Peters to Councillor Ron Whittaker

14th May 2009

Muscliff to Berry Hill Footpath

Hi Ron,

Could I once again ask the Council if they would consider letting Horse Riders use the Footpath from Muscliff to Berry Hill M15, this would allow them a safe off road route from Throop to Stour Valley, avoiding the need to go on Muscliff Lane and Throop road, which have now become so busy that at sometimes of the day it feels like you are riding on Castle Lane. Much of the route is already wide enough for Horses, there are only a few sections which would need to be made wider by moving the fence line back.

This footpath is very quiet, and much less used than the Stour Valley path towards New Road, and so would take some of the pressure for use off that area.

With the delay in the River Crossing from Throop to Hurn, there is a real need for safe off road riding in the Throop / Muscliff area, with approx. 120 horses being kept in the area. Our request forthis route was refused in 2000, but our need for this route is now much greater,would the Council please reconsider our request.

Anne Peters