Agenda item

This meeting has been arranged to discuss issues relating to the Common and Syke Pond


The Chair explained that this meeting had been called to specifically discuss issues in relation to Syke Pond and the Common.


Nick Barton was in attendance to discuss Syke Pond, unfortunately Ian Trickett was unable to attend to discuss the Common. However Ian had provided responses to questions submitted prior to the meeting.


Syke Pond


In general the Forum expressed their dissatisfaction with the amount of time it has taken to make any progress with this project.


The following questions had been submitted prior to the meeting.


‘Update on timing of the work is needed. On the understanding that funds have been secured we would like to know’:


-       If a contractor has been found

-       When the work will begin

-       With whom the responsibility for commissioning the work now lies.


The Officer acknowledged that progress on the Syke Pond project had been slow and that he understood that this would have created a great deal of frustration for residents.


However he reassured forum members that funds had been secured for the project and that discussions had taken place to move this initiative forward.


A number of residents expressed concern about the amount of finance being available for the project and drainage problems associated with the Common and Pond.


The Officer stated that in order to satisfy residents that progress would be made he would produce, for the next forum (18 October 2018) a project plan for the initiative.


The Common


The following responses had been provided to questions that had been submitted prior to the meeting;






Syke Pond


Update on timing of the work is needed. On the understanding that funds have been secured we would like to know:


  • If a contractor has been found
  • When the work will begin
  • With whom the responsibility for commissioning the work now lies



Nick Barton attending meeting



Heritage Gardens


Repairs are needed to the area including damaged flagstones and general maintenance

Heritage garden maintenance lies with the Council. I will ask Tracy Hibbert to look at the site with David Illingworth. Tracy manages In Bloom landscaping projects and David Illingworth manages day to day maintenance.  Between them they should be able to come up with a plan of action.



Paths on the Common


  • The paths on the Common have deteriorated following both the theft of some flagstones and the burial over time of others. The Common is often wet and boggy and the reinstatement of good quality paths would make it more accessible for a wider section of the community.























  • The Limersgate pack horse trail once ran from the Chapel to the pond, then to Binns Nook Road and Falinge Park. This should be reinstated with an acceptable surface that would allow access for wheelchairs and pushchairs and which would not allow pooling of water.



































  • Who has the responsibility for and knowledge of the definitive map. This seems to have been inaccessible to the public for some time now. The addition of Limersgate onto the definitive map could support the case for the upkeep of the path.



Paths on the common are not Designated Rights of Way but permissive paths through the site, so like a tarmac path in a park.  As such it is our responsibility in EM to ensure they are safe within reasonable bounds.  Problem is that stone flags laid with big gaps in them will never be a long term good footpath solution.  If stone paths are to be maintained to a high standard they would need to be lifted, path area dug out and edged, weed suppressant membrane and crushed stone base before re-laying the stone paving.  The report highlights the long term problem = risk of theft. We could spend a lot of money making it look great and then have it all nicked a week later. In this isolated spot that is a very high risk.  EM would strongly suggest replacing with tarmac paths with side drains.  Either way, this would be a major undertaking beyond our maintenance budgets, so either s106 or AMG but my understanding was that no decision had been taken by Members on the type of surface.  If they make a decision we can get quotes here in EM.



Limersgate pack horse trail would be nice to reinstate but there is no legal requirement on Council for us to do so, again it is suitable surface that needs to be agreed and then this would be Members decision to see if they would fund either from Township / Area Forum budgets or s106.  If it is done in stone and then stolen it would go back to Township to fund replacement stones because EM do not have a budget to be constantly replacing stolen flags.  For that reason EM would only accept maintenance if it was a tarmac path. 


In response to Ian Trickett’s email and the designation of footpaths I can confirm that the record of definitive rights of way are protected under Highways Act 1980 and other legislation against closure, obstruction, alterations etc. however a route not identified on the definitive map and statement but is actually visible on the ground and used by the general public is a permissive path or a desire route and does not receive the same protection as the definitive recorded routes.


Any new paths implemented on the ground that have not proceeded through a legal process would only be permissive, should you wish a route to follow the legal process please contact me and I can explain the procedure, it can be however, a lengthy piece of work that can be time consuming for little gain for any applicant but if successful it will have the protection under current highway legislation



Contact Officers - Ian Trickett / Julie Simpson



Upgrading the Common


The perimeter of Cronkeyshaw Common is 4.5 kilometres or 3 miles.


  • There are 19 tree stumps remaining from felled trees. One option is to remove them.





  • There are clumps of trees and vegetation which may need attention.





  • Rushes are becoming more prevalent and need treatment
  • There is a suggestion for planting specimen trees







  • Suggestion of professional landscaping


  • Styles and location of benches should be standardised








  • Creation of wild flower areas, eg, near road with no name









  • Mowing of the Common (April-October) should be monitored so that wild flowers are retained. This would potentially save maintenance costs.







  • Consider Harriet Morley’s report on the Common.







Tree stumps are not removed as standard.  If the Area Forum or Township wish to be pay for them to be stump ground just drop an e-mail to Andrew Quinn and he can get you a quote


Clumps of trees and vegetation that need attention – again will ask Dave Illingworth and Tracy Hibbert to look into that – sounds perfect for one of our winter maintenance interventions, they should be able to sort that out.


Rushes and tree planting go together.  If we plant trees that will cope with wet conditions like alder and willow they will help soak up excess ground water.  I will ask Tracy and Dave to look at how many trees they think required and again if Township or Area Forum have some funding we can order and plant extra trees.





Agree style benches should be standardised but that comes with a cost.  What we can do is when any are replaced we go with standard design, or if Township / Area Forum / s106 can fund, again we can give you a price for a replacement bench program.



Creation of wildflower area is a bit of an issue for us regards maintenance.  We like the idea but are struggling to find farmer who will cut and bale it so struggling to maintain our existing.  There is also a capital cost to doing this – have to spray out grass, rotavate, seed and roll.



Mowing – interesting idea, we can easily stop mowing certain areas to see if any wildflowers emerge naturally – often damp grassland can be a sea of pink / blue in spring if there is cuckoo flower or speedwell present but we would only know that if we left areas long – you might just have long grass.  Again I can ask Dave and Tracy to let you know if any areas look suitable for trialling.




Syke Woods


Who is responsible for the upkeep of the paths in the area leased by Walton Angling Club. This is a beautiful area but there are stretches of path that are inaccessible to many members of the public.



I have spoken to the fishing club – their lease does not include maintenance of the paths only bankings/fishing pegs etc.  There are no rights of way showing on GM maps, the land to the west of the reservoir is privately owned.




Conservation Area


Updates and developments



No change. Resources and capacity dictate that this is not a priority at present.




Parking and accessibility


  • Suggestion for a parking area on the Common between Cross Lees and the Hunters Rest which has now been converted to three houses.


  • 21 parking spaces were withdrawn when the road with no name was redeveloped.


  • Footpaths on Syke Road need upgrading

No updates available


Because of the non-attendance of the Officer from Environmental Management it was agreed that another meeting be organised to discuss issues specifically in relation to the Common.


A discussion took place about the possibility of utilising Common land to create parking spaces for residents. The area between Cross Lees and the Hunters Rest had been identified.


The Township and Engagement agreed to investigate this further.