(a) Apologies for Absence -
These were received from Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mr. J.J. Herbert, Mr. S. Lait, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. R. Traherne and Mr. G. Buy (VoGC).
(b) Minutes -
AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 12th September 2012 be accepted as a correct record, subject to it being noted that Mr. E. Williams was not, in fact, a member of the Ramblers’ Association, but had worked with the organisation on occasions.
(c) Group re Active Travel Bill -
Mention had been made at the last meeting of the above and G. Teague clarified that its role was that of a steering group relating to the Active Travel Bill. The Group had met once to discuss / agree its terms of reference and the Public Rights of Way Officer from Powys County Council was representing colleagues on the Group.
(d) Definitive Map Modification and Public Path Orders – Updates -
The schedule was presented for members’ information. Previous reports had not contained Definitive Map Modification Orders and that a number of closed orders shown on the chart were included for information, though would be removed next time.
AGREED – T H A T the contents of the schedule be noted.
(e) ROWIP Update -
With regard to the republication of the Definitive Map:
- quality assurance of maps and statements was complete
- printing and review of test runs was being undertaken
- the Project Plan continued to work to a timetable based on completion by March 2013.
In terms of biodiversity interpretation, design work for interpretation panels at Leckwith Woods was underway.
Members also received updates on the following projects, which were match-funded by ROWIP within the Rural Development Plan Footpath Grant:
- NCN Route 88 – Rural Vale, including provision of a shared footway / cycleway along Porthkerry Road, which was now complete and feasibility work on four elements, including sections in Llantwit Major, Ewenny and Ogmore
- Seven projects under the Rural Footpath Grant had been approved, totalling approximately £100,000 worth of works entailing:
Ø surfacing improvements to Footpath1 linking Ewenny with Corntown and, eventually, Bridgend
Ø surfacing improvements to the footpath linking the Cowbridge Town Hall Car Park with
Cowbridge Comprehensive School
Ø creation of a new right of way linking the two communities of St. Marys Church and The Herberts
Ø creation of a new right of way linking Twyn Yr Odyn with Wenvoe
Ø surfacing improvements to the Bridleway at Hensol Forest
Ø improving accessibility on the existing right of way linking Llangan with Colwinston
Ø creation of a new right of way and diversion that followed the desire line of walkers, and the
implementation of a footbridge, at Nash Point.
(f) Wales Coast Path Update -
T. Cottnam updated members on possible future plans in relation to the Coastal Access Improvement Programme, funding for which was due to end in March 2013. Her understanding was that the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and Welsh Government (WG) were mindful of extending the funding to enable completion, for example, of legal work and to cover maintenance issues. A number of models had been put forward by CCW to WG for discussion / decision. T. Cottnam’s understanding was that, should funding continue, a similar model to that currently in place would exist, but at a very much reduced budget / grant level. As such, it was not clear whether her own role would be considered as a full-time funded post or whether such work would require to be absorbed within the Rights of Way Team.
In terms of updates on specific work:
- bridge work had been completed at Lavernock. Whilst, following inspection of the field margin, remedial work was not considered necessary, the position would be monitored following crop harvest.
- advertisements for creation agreements on the Heritage Coast and at Lavernock had been published. This constituted the final stage in completion of the agreements.
- urban signage installed before the official opening of the Coast Path had been reviewed and a number of additional posts installed and amendments undertaken.
- ceramic paviers had been installed in a number of pedestrian precincts.
- a number of revisions to incorrectly signed waymarker posts were being undertaken periodically.
- at Cwm Colhuw, a scheme for improvement of the path to the rear of the surf lifeguard station had been specified and costings sought.
- consultation was being developed in relation to Little Island (Friars Point). A field existed adjacent to the current unsurfaced path, which was classed as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. It was hoped to create a new surfaced path inside the field margin, linking the headland to the harbour and car park. Given the nature of the site, the proposal was currently out to consultation.
- various enhancements had been made to the website in terms of the Coastal Access Improvement Programme.
- a national meeting of Coastal Access Officers in Wales held recently had included the group walking a section of the Coast Path (Cwm Mawr) in the Vale and with those involved being impressed with the facility.
During consideration of this agenda item, clarification was sought from a member regarding resiting the very steep path at Cwm Bach. G. Teague confirmed that this issue was being separately pursued with the landowner and the farmer.
Reference was also made to the potential (2kms) zone designed to provide loops / links to the Coast Path itself. T. Cottnam indicated that should the CAIP funding itself continue, the programme would allow for work to be undertaken in this area. Members were also informed that, once a decision had been taken regarding the continuation of funding and the model of such was known, the LAF would be informed and consulted on the issue.
(g) National Access Forum and Local Access Forum Chairmen Meetings -
R. Pittard alluded to the current arrangement whereby meetings of the above were “sponsored” by the Countryside Council for Wales. Members agreed that this arrangement should, ideally, continue.
AGREED – T H A T the Forum’s view that meetings of the National Access Forum and the Local Access Forum Chairmen should, if at all possible, continue to be “sponsored” by the Countryside Council for Wales be communicated to the relevant Minister.
(h) Maintenance Priorities -
Members received an update in terms of issues logged since 12th September 2012, those issues resolved (or part resolved) at that time and the remaining number of unresolved issues. GT was pleased to inform members that the overall backlog was reducing.
It was suggested that the pie chart notations were difficult to read and that bar graphs or percentages might be clearer. The usefulness of providing members of the Forum with feedback regarding any issues raised during their footpath survey was acknowledged.
(i) Reflecting Consultation Responses in the Active Travel (Wales) Bill and Wider Work Programme -
Members received a document setting out the Welsh Government’s response to the views expressed during the Active Travel (Wales) Bill White Paper consultation.
During the discussion on this matter, there was general agreement amongst members that there seemed to be little commitment within the proposals to the development of pedestrian routes and “leisure” walking, despite the popularity and health benefits. Members felt that, generally, a bias existed towards “functional” travel, and to cycling.
(j) Proposed Timetable of Meetings for 2013/14 -
AGREED – T H A T meetings take place as follows:
Wednesday, 10th April 2013 (already programmed)
Wednesday, 24th July 2013
Wednesday, 23rd October 2013
Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.
Meetings would continue to commence at 5.30 p.m. with the duration of meetings being limited, wherever possible, to a maximum of two hours.
(k) T. Cottnam -
The Chairman referred to the earlier discussion regarding the continuation of funding for the Coastal Access Improvement Programme. He pointed out that, dependent on the eventual decision, this could be Ms. Cottnam’s last meeting of the Forum.
AGREED – T H A T members’ appreciation of the commitment and hard work of Ms. Cottnam be placed on record and she be thanked for her contribution to the work of the Forum itself.
(l) Workshop Regarding Priorities for Maintenance -