Table of Contents
The clerk reported that, within the last year, John Wilkinson had walked all of the parish footpaths. Litter was an issue on some of them and Mr Wilkinson thought that it might be helpful to identify groups within the parish, who would be prepared to help with litter collection. The chairman agreed and noted that it had been some time since there had been an organised litter collection day. She thanked Mr Wilkinson for his efforts on behalf of the Parish Council and wondered whether, through his links to Winchester Ramblers, he could discover if they would be maintaining the memorial bench that they had installed at the top of Shawford Down. If not, were they expecting the Parish Council to adopt it? Mr Wilkinson agreed to investigate.
The council’s footpaths representative, John Wilkinson described his proposals to permit disabled access to some of the parish footpaths, i.e. those in Shepherds Lane, Hurdle Way and the track which joins the two roads/bridle ways and the route from Shawford Down lower car park to Southdown Road. He also described the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England’s proposed “access networks”, which will link various footpaths within the parish. The council expressed its gratitude for the work undertaken by Mr Wilkinson and agreed that he should take both matters forward with the appropriate organisations. It also agreed that he should engage with Hampshire County Council (HCC) to see who owns the track adjacent to the railway and behind gardens to the west of Southdown Road, with a view to re-opening the route to walkers.
The council noted John Wilkinson’s footpaths report and agreed that councillors should be given time to reflect on his proposals on improved access networks. The clerk was asked to ensure that the issue was placed on the agenda for the council meeting on 1 February 2011. The chairman indicated that she had received one telephone call from a parishioner wondering whether plans to improve disabled access to footpaths would be “friendly” or “permissive”.
The clerk noted Mr Wilkinson’s suggestion that it might be possible to adapt several circular footpaths for use by disability scooters and that PATHH (Providing Access to Hampshire’s Heritage) requires volunteers to survey historical routes within parishes that may fallen out of use. It was agreed that the clerk should ask Mr Wilkinson to consider how both may be taken forward in time for the next meeting in January.
Compton & Shawford Footpaths Nos. 1 & 28, Otterbourne Footpath No. 5 will be closed between a point on Footpath 28 at grid reference 447088 124455 and a point on Footpath 5 at grid reference 447011 123347 (its junction with Footpath 3).
Alternative Routes: None available
Period of Closure: From 13 March 2010 for a period of two months or until completion of the works whichever is sooner. (Reasonable facilities will be provided to allow access to adjacent premises while the work is being carried out.)
Finally, the chairman asked councillors to consider recommendations for the position of Footpaths Representative. An active “rambler”, who would be prepared to notify the Rights of Way officers of any problems with footpaths within the parish, would be ideal.
Since December there has been a breach in the Navigation which means the path is only passable to those wearing wellingtons or walking boots. HCC Rights of Way are aware of the problem and the managers of the Itchen Navigation Project have agreed to undertake the negotiations with the landowner to get the breach repaired: not only for now but for the long term. This is a long standing problem that occurs every year when we have a lot of rain and stems from the management of the water levels in the navigation. Rights of Way officers have agreed to repair any damage caused to the path once the breach has been fixed.
Memorial Playing Field
The chairman confirmed that Hampshire County Council had approved the Council’s bid for a grant of £1500 towards the construction of the footpath between the Memorial Playing Fields and Cliff Way. Work would begin shortly. He was also pleased to see that, following the request from Mrs Wyles at the Annual Parish Meeting on 23 April, County Councillor Charlotte Bailey was actively campaigning for Park View and the pavement from Shawford to Twyford to be resurfaced.
Councillor Clay was also pleased to report that the new gates for the footpaths on the Compton Estate had been installed.
Councillor Clay confirmed that a recent meeting with HCC representatives had been very productive. Permission had been obtained for the provision of bridle paths across HCC land, which would help to keep horses away from parish footpaths.
Itchen Navigation Project
Councillor Tom Threlfall reported on the Itchen Navigation Project and advised that volunteers are being sought to assist with various issues connected with the refurbishment and maintenance of the Itchen Navigation. To this end, Councillor Threlfall will publish an article in the Parish Magazine, giving the details of what is required.
In his written report, Cllr. Tom Threlfall reported that the overgrown vegetation along the Navigation Towpath is on the appropriate “to do” list and will be attended to in due course.
Under the Agenda item concerning Footpaths, the Chairman, Councillor Adrian Walmsley, advised that a letter had been received requesting the Parish Council to support the initiative to have the Footpath from Warners Farm, upgraded to a Bridleway. It was considered that the current state of the footpath would have to be improved significantly by cutting back much of the vegetation and problems are envisaged in respect of horses crossing the bridge. Additionally, it was made clear that the Parish Council does not have the authority to change the status of a Footpath to a Bridleway, such authority lies with Hampshire County Council. However, the Parish Council would have no objection to the requested upgrade, provided that the resultant Footpath/Bridleway is made suitable for horses as well as pedestrians.
Mr Richard Trussler and Mrs Angela Trodd attended the meeting and raised the matter of significant amounts of Horse Droppings regularly being deposited on the Footpath between Hurdle Way and Compton Street. This footpath is not a Bridleway and therorectically should not be used by horses and their riders. This matter is of great concern to many parents of children using this footpath to walk to and from Compton primary School. The state of the footpath is considered to be a threat to the health of the children using it. No notices appear at the beginning or end of the footpath, prohibiting the use of the footpath by horses and their riders and it was requested that such notices be put up.
Councillor Patricia Caffyn had undertaken much research into this issue and found some problems concerning the putting up of notices. The Landowner can give permission for horses to use a footpath crossing his land. In this case the Landowner is unknown. Hampshire County Council disclaim any responsibility and it is therefore believed that the Highways Agency may be the Landowner. If the Parish Council put up the requested signs, legally the Parish Council could be responsible for any subsequent accident that occurred because of those signs. Accordingly, The Parish Council is reluctant to put up signs. However, the Parish Council is pursuing the matter of who owns the Land and at the same time will request the Highways Agency to clean the footpath on a weekly basis. Additionally, “polite” signs, requesting horse riders not to allow their horses to foul the footpath, are being considered. These signs which will not create a liability on the Parish Council could be placed at the beginning and end of the footpath.
Park and Ride
County Councillor Charlotte Bailey reported on the proposed South Winchester Park and Ride facility, Compton Down roads and the suggested conversion of Footpaths designated as RUPPS to BOATS. On this last point it was stated that as the applications for conversion were submitted after January 2005, such conversion will not be allowed under the terms of the Government’s Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill.
County Councillor Charlotte Bailey reported that the broken stiles and fences along Footpath 18 have been removed. They will be replaced when the farmer resumes the grazing of stock on the adjacent land.
Questions from the Annual Parish Assembly
Cllr. Tom Threlfall was charged with endeavouring to arrange for the Department of the Environment to make repairs to the footpath along the Itchen Navigation towpath, which had been reported as falling away into the navigation. Similarly, questions concerning trees falling across the navigation are to be addressed again.
Councillor Mr. Tom Threlfall, having been approached on numerous occasions in the recent past by Parishioners complaining of the lack of water in the Bishops Drain and related waterways, was pleased to report that the Footpath from Compton Lock to Twyford is now flooded.
In a written report, Councillor Tom Threlfall reported that the Department of the Environment will be attending to the repairs of the embankment on the Itchen Navigation, thereby stopping the extensive flooding across the meadows below the Malms.
Footpaths – flooding
Cllr. Mr. Tom Threlfall reported on the flooding caused by the collapse of the embankment along the Itchen Navigation, just below the Malms. Currently large amounts of water are flowing out of the Itchen Navigation, across the fields and into the river. The appropriate agencies have been fully informed of this and it is understood that remedial actions are in hand.
Councillor Threlfall also advised that the state of the footpath from Hurdle Way to Compton Street had been advised to Mrs. Giles, Rights of Way Area Officer South, with a view to getting it refurbished. Due to pressure of other work, it is uncertain as to when this footpath will be attended to.
Cllr. Tom Threlfall reported on Footpaths and advised the meeting that Mrs. Liz Giles, Hampshire County Council Rights of Way Officer, had informed him that a work-plan for repairs to Footpaths in the Parish was in hand.
Parish Footpath Representative’s Report
Cllr. Mr. T. Threlfall reported that Hampshire County Council have committed to undertake repair work to the eastern towpath of the Itchen Navigation and parts of Compton Lock. Such work is due to commence on 3rd September and is expected to take approximately three weeks.
With the relaxation of the restrictions, due to potential Foot and Mouth disease, on Public access to footpaths within the Parish, Cllr. Jennings was able to report that all Footpaths in the Parish were now re-opened. Similarly, Cllr. Threlfall confirmed that the Towpath along the Itchen is now open for walkers, the water levels having now subsided.
Cllr. S.Jennings reported on the strategy of Hampshire County Council in the process of re-opening some of the Footpaths, which have been closed due to potential Foot and Mouth disease. H.C.C. are requesting Parish Councils to suggest Footpaths for re-opening.
With the restrictions on use of Public Footpaths [because of Foot & Mouth – Ed], the problem of Dog Fouling on the roads and verges around the Parish has become more apparent. Further notices are to be put up informing dog owners that it is their responsibility to clear any mess their dogs make.
The major issue with regard to Footpaths is the potential outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. Cllr. Stuart Jennings advised the Hampshire County Council had printed and distributed Footpath Closure Notices, which he had arranged to put up. The Downs and car parks had been barrier taped. Farmer Venn had telephoned to express his thanks that the public had heeded the notices by keeping away from his land.
With the closure of Footpaths and some open spaces, a problem had arisen with the dog-walking community. With limited areas where dogs can be exercised, a concentration of Dog Fouling has been evidenced around the Parish. This is particularly so in Compton Street in the area of the Primary School. Various initiatives are to be pursued to encourage Dog Owners to clear up any mess their dogs make, with notices put up near the School and around the playing fields.
Trees and footpaths:
With regard to the Parish Trees, Footpaths and Compton Lock, there was nothing specific to report. The only matter worth mentioning was the Flooding along the Towpath, this is now receding. Walkers, wear your wellington boots.
Parish Footpath Sub-committee
Councillor Jennings said that as the function of this particular sub-committee is largely one of re-action rather than pro-action there was little in general to report. However, there was one concern and that was the roots of the poplar trees in the corner of the Memorial Playing Field through which a footpath runs. There is a danger that a walker, if not careful, could trip on the roots resulting in injury. The question posed is whether the Parish Council is liable? Putting down soil will only allow a temporary solution and the soil will soon erode exposing the roots. As the laying of soil would cost several hundred pounds this would seem a needless waste of the Parish’s scarce resources. Legal advice is being sought and in the mean time please be careful.
County Councillors’ Report.
Mrs Bailey reported that the Countryside Commission have submitted a report to the Government which suggests that all public Rights of Way should become Byways Open To All Traffic.
Following receipt of a letter raising concerns about its condition, it was decided that no action be taken at present regarding clearance of Silkstead Lane, as it was considered that the path is adequately passable on foot and any further clearance might encourage motorised users which would not be in the parish’s interests.
Hockley Viaduct Access Project.
City Cllr Mrs M Campbell-White reported that the access compound works are well under way. Winchester City Council will open the viaduct to the public on a permissive basis although they do not intend to establish a formal right of way.
Footpath 23 (between the railway and M3) This path was impassable on 19 April due to its being deep in mud and cattle excrement. The matter had been the subject of a strongly worded letter to the Parish Paths Officer, HCC.
Trees and Footpaths.
Cllr Threlfall reported that despite the recent high winds, all footpaths are clear.
Following recent strong winds, areas have been inspected where falling trees have been a problem in the past, but no problems were found nor have any been reported.
Parish Paths Partnership Scheme.
Parish Footpaths Representative, Cllr. Threlfall, had written a letter to the Countryside Commission, concerning the Parish Paths Partnership Scheme, advising that paths are usually inspected after each winter-gale and fallen trees across footpaths reported to HCC. Because of the lack of support from such reporting Cllr. Threlfall and other volunteer labour cleared blocked paths and shall continue to do that. Also, in the matter of Waymarking, he advised the Countryside Commission that Waymarking could be carried out at Parish level if oak posts and a supply of direction arrows were supplied. The letter also stated that HCC had carried out much appreciated grass cutting of edges of many paths during mid-summer with excellent results.
District Concillor’s report
City Councillor Mrs. M Campbell-White reported that Hockley Viaduct may become a public amenity providing a walkway and viewing area.
Footpath from Station Yard to Shawford Down.
Following complaints that access to the Down from the Shawford Station area is difficult and dangerous, the matter was raised with HCC, owner of Shawford Down, who advised that the Parish Council must in the first instance raise the matter with Railtrack.
Footpath from Station Yard to Shawford Down.
Following complaints that access to the Down from the Shawford Station area is difficult and dangerous the matter has been reported and is to be investigated.
Yew trees on the path through Yew Walk have been cut. Without admitting ownership or responsibility, the County Council has agreed to do a one-time cut of brambles overhanging the footpath near Kynance, Compton Street.
The Parish Footpaths Representative advised that obstructions had been removed and that all footpaths were open.
Parish Footpaths Representative’s Report.
A number of footpaths which had been blocked or obstructed have been cleared and the provision of a way marker for Footpath 37, between Hurdle and Clease Ways, is being pursued. It was reported that a tree has fallen on the footpath at the rear of Southdown Road.
Reported that all were passable and that there had been no recent complaints. ClIr. Threlfall was congratulated on his completion of guide ‘The Shawford Serendipity Trail’ which freely stated that he had relied upon much original research by the late Barrie Hazlitt.
The footpaths representative reported all footpaths now open. The grass has been cut on footpath 37, between Hurdle Way and Clease Way.
Representations are to be made to HCC concerning problems of obstruction on Footpath 37, from Hurdle Way to Clease Way, and Footpaths 2 and 21 near the viaduct. Complaints had been received about the state of Footpath 58, between Hurdle Way and Clease Way.
Footpaths and fencing:
It was reported that the gates had not been erected on footpath 23, in the railway arch, and that the stiles on Yew Walk footpath were the responsibility of Hampshire County Council who had been approached on the matter. It was also reported that the fallen fencing on land opposite Shawford Down had been repaired.
Footpath – Shawford Down
Cllr Hazlitt reported that a minor re-alignment of the footpath across Shawford Down had been made by HCC, with a handrail provided, to allow it to terminate in Shawford Station Yard in the interest of safety to pedestrians. A Wayleave is to be granted by British Rail.
Following a report on footpaths, the Highways and Byways Sub-Committee is to consider the costs of providing gates at the ends of the enclosed footpath at the railway arch, Place Lane, should HCC agree to remove the concrete bollards.
The written report of the Parish Footpaths Representative was submitted which made reference to maintenance works carried out and to be effected. Also, a report that a meeting had been held with Railtrack concerning the provision of a small diversion at the bottom of Shawford Down into the entrance to Shawford Station yard. The meeting proved helpful and we await further information following a consultation to be held between Railtrack and South Westem Rail.
It was reported that (i) two stiles have been installed at the start of F/P 16 where it leaves Hurdle Way (ii) F/P 21 in the water meadows, re-aligned as a result of M3 works, is obstructed at the north end by barbed wire fencing, where a stile or gate should be installed (iii) the stile has been removed or destroyed where F/P 37 leaves Clease Way and the line of the path made obscure as the former trellis at the side of the footpath has been removed, and earth works undertaken on the line of the path. An appropriate letter is to be written to the Rights-of-Way Officer, HCC.
The Council decided to write to HCC reminding that a stile is still needed to Footpath No: 16 from Hurdle Way, and ask for an update concerning the long standing matter of provision of a small diversionary footpath at the bottom of Shawford Down into the tarmac approach to Shawford Station yard.
Footpath across Church Farm – Dangers
Following representations from parishioners, consideration is to be given to the safety aspects of footpath no. 19, extending from Compton Street (opposite the Church) across Church Farm and on to the dangerous junction with the main Winchester Road.
The report of the parish footpath representative indicated that agreement had been reached with Mott MacDonald and Hampshire County Council to reinstate the access to footpath 28 from Shawford Hill, which was removed with the excision of part of Shawford Down for M3 works. As it would be dangerous to renew the former steps at the corner of Shawford Hill and Otterbourne Road, the new access will be 40 metres down the hill. Also reported that the Place Lane underpass is open for use but certain works have still to be carried out. Three lamps have been installed at the east approach.
Following complaints regarding the recent deterioration in the amenity value of Shawford Down, the matter has been referred to the Countryside andCommunity Department of HCC.
It was reported that a number of footpaths had been walked and inspected, also, that it was decided to participate in the HCC Parish Paths Partnership Scheme, which would enable grants for the improvement of public rights-of-way, and provide an expert advisory service.
Following a report concerning the difficulty of negotiating the large gate on footpath 16 (East access to A33) near Hurdle Way, it was decided to write to Hampshire County Council asking for a single gate to be provided at the side of the existing gate.