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Rights of Way Management Plan

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 20:21

Rights of Way Management Plan Photo: Jane Tomlinson

Oxfordshire County Council is consulting on its Rights of Way Management Plan 2014-2024. Help keep our paths healthy!

This consultation is about how Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) proposes to manage access and public rights of way over the next ten years. It finishes on 18th April 2014.  Read the Plan & have your say

CPRE is pleased that the plan reaffirms the importance of protecting and maintaining Rights of Way (RoW) for giving access to people to enjoy the countryside and for health and recreational benefits, even in a period of austerity and reducing local authority budgets.

It also underlines:

- The importance of RoW within the Local Transport Plan for linking villages and aiding commuting between towns and villages.

- The need for local communities, volunteer groups and Parish Path Wardens to work with the Countryside Access Team to maintain and improve RoW.

- The importance of long distance recreational walks such as those CPRE helped to create (Oxfordshire Way, d'Arcy Dalton Way, Green Belt Way) for the local economy.

We are concerned that OCC will not be able to maintain Rights of Way to the same standard - note the change in title from 'Improvement Plan' to 'Management Plan'!  The Management Plan already shows fewer stiles, gates and bridges were useable in 2013 than in 2006, and while the Plan states it will seek sources of external funding much of this cannot be used on on-going maintenance. 

We welcome the statement that recognises that walkers, cyclists and horse riders are legitimate and vulnerable users of the road network and that safety measures should be put in place to ensure their consideration by other traffic.  However, we are disappointed that this has not been included for action in the next two or five years, particularly in rural areas.

CPRE is also concerned that, with the present staff resources, OCC will not be able to meet the increased workload that will arise from the increasing number of planning applications for housing developments and from the impact of the new City Deal

This means the role of CPRE and its volunteers in looking after and promoting local Rights of Way will be more important than ever.

Read the Plan & have your say




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