Posted by: swinemoor | February 23, 2014

Cycle Track Shenanigans

Due to an almost complete lack of any meaningful consultation on the matter, most of the readers of this blog will be unaware that the ERYC has plans to build a cycle track across Westwood and compensate for the loss of common land by gifting land to Westwood  from land at Longcroft (presumably Lower) School (a different parish!).

The lack of transparency, some would say opacity, here is palpable: for instance, the application is not on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning public access site, as  it is considered (by ERYC) to be a Highways matter and not a Planning consultation. In addition, the relevant notices were not placed (and still have not been) on all the entries to the common (a legal requirement) within seven days of their application, that is on 21 January. Because  of complaints by the Beverley Civic Society and others it has become apparent that the ERYC has also not contacted the Pasture Masters nor Molescroft Parish Council nor any of the farmers that lease cattle ‘gates’ on Westwood.

Why the secrecy?

In 2011 a similar application was made by ERYC to the Defra Common Land Team in Bristol, however, this application was rejected because the Inspector judged that the footpath intended to be widened was part of the common and not part of the highway. Cycling, of course, is prohibited on the common under the bylaws.  The new application still offers an area of exchange land only equivalent to the additional land to the footpath alongside the B1230, and not an equivalent area to the whole footpath plus any extension for a cycle track.  Yet the purpose of the exchange is to allow the whole wider strip to be deemed ‘highway’ to permit cycling, so the whole wider strip will be taken from the common. In other words the land exchange will be a considerably lesser amount, and, as a result, the area of common land will be reduced. 

Foggy Morning at Black Mill

Foggy Morning at Black Mill

To date no notice has yet been placed on the land to be taken in exchange at Longcroft School. Is this because the access to it is very difficult? It is via a track covered with deep mud (half way up your wellington boots!) or via the racecourse, which is currently closed for maintenance!

Even if we support the ‘principle’ of a new cycle track across Westwood, is this the type of land swap that we need? In addition should we support a council that cannot be open and transparent in its aims and approach?

Until the plans are published on ERYC’s website in full, we at NSH will oppose this development as, once again, it threatens to set a precedent in  agreeing to land swaps without ensuring that the new land is of at least an equivalent area to that lost and is of an appropriate quality and easily accessible. To do anything else would amount to dereliction of our duty as Beverlonians to protect our common lands.

The closing date for comment has now been extended to the 17th March 2014. If you do wish to comment on this, please send your comments to: commonlandcasework@pins.gsi.gov.uk  using the reference number: CL 28 Beverley Westwood and Hurn: proposed land exchange.

We at NSH apologise for the lack of further details and maps regarding these proposals: this is entirely the fault of ERYC who have not made these available to the public. We will keep you informed of any developments on this latest threat to our Westwood.


Responses

  1. Cycle tracks – have ERYC been in excange visits with Derby City Council? For anyone unfamiliar with recent events DCC are in the process of trashing one of their Local Nature Reserves ‘The Sanctuary’ with assiatance from the Lottery (although the Lottery spokespeople deny that). If successful it will set a dangerous precedent so a consortium of local groups have challenged them and as I understand it they are looking to Judicially Review DCC. See http://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/what-we-do/sanctuary-local-nature-reserve

    If ERYC have failed to follow procedure then they too risk challenge through JR, but perhaps equally damaging to their reputation as a Local Planning Authority is their credibility. A poor track record might see developers lose interest in working with them?

    • If only! The land around Beverley is very valuable and developers are desperate to get their grubby hands on as much of it as they can. Sadly, evidence would suggest that ERYC try to facilitate this rather than trying to preserve the green spaces around the town. Recent examples would include Swinemoor Hospital, Molescroft Grange, Westwood Hospital site and the proposed development within the line of new Southern Bypass.

  2. Thank you swinemoor, perhaps ERYC should study the predicament which DCC now find themselves in and at the same time review their own stance?

    Perhaps Beverley Pasture Masters might be encourage to create a ‘Friends of Beverley Commons’, community eyes and ears as well as a new generation of guardians?

    • Derby is perhaps more of a marginal, although I have not done my homework. The East Riding is effectively a one party state so they do what they want without worrying about being punished at the ballot box – they never are… There is a paternalistic attitude in the way that ERYC deals with its electorate, summed up by the following we know what’s best for you, even if you don’t and we are not going to tell you about it in case you get shirty and make a fuss. In practice this means that everything that makes it into the public domain has already been decided upon before anyone gets to hear about it. Therefore, consultations are a sham and everyone knows it. There are numerous examples in and around the town: Swinemoor Hospital, Tescos, Southern Bypass and Flemingate Level Crossing to name a few of the more contentious ones.

      In terms of your other suggestion: this is potentially a good idea and I hope that the Pasture Masters take the time to read this blog.

  3. […] As mentioned previously, it is almost impossible to find out very much about the ERYC’s proposals as they have been deficient in the placement of notices informing the public of their plans and they have not consulted the Pasture Masters or other interested bodies regarding their proposals since 2011. That said, they have now been so kind as to provide a line on a small scale map at County Hall showing where the exchange land is, however, they have told no-one that the map is there and the scale of the map prevents the exact land parcel from being identified although we as NSH believe that it is in the area defined by the circle in Figure 1.  In other words, within the boundaries of Longcroft School. […]

  4. […] latest deadline for submitting comments on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s (ERYC) proposals to put in a cycle lane along the B1230 has now passed but the good news is, if you have not already done so, you will have another chance […]

  5. […] need for the cycle lane at all.  In the end the ERYC did not actually do anything and instead made new application to construct the cycle path in January of this […]

  6. […] In January this year, notices began to appear on parts of the common saying that land was to be swapped in Molescroft parish so that land could be taken from Westwood to widen the cycle path. However, the notices were placed in only a few select locations (not where they legally should have been), details of the application were not made available to the public and Molescroft Parish Council were not consulted on these plans.  Once this was discovered, concerns were raised about why ERYC were acting in this secretive manner and the whole process began again, this time with ERYC consulting Molescroft Parish Council. ERYC’s plan was to swap a small area of playing field land at Longcroft School for the land lost to the widened cycle lane. […]

  7. […] a complete lack of consultation: the first we heard of the reincarnated proposal in 2014 was the botched erection of notices in and around Hurn Common in January. This was followed by the revelation that Molescroft Parish Council had not been told of […]

  8. […] is the third attempt by ERYC to get this scheme passed at an unknown cost: ERYC do not use time-sheets so the […]


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