A meeting of the Footpaths Committee of Eccleshall Parish Council was held on Wednesday January 8th, 2020 at Eccleshall Community Centre at 7.00pm.

1). Present were:-

Councillor J. Leather; Councillor P. Mullee
Councillor R. Taylor; Councillor S. Mifflin

Mrs. S. J. Worden (Clerk)
Mr. N. Davenport; Mr. E. Ranson


Apologies were recorded from Councillor P. Jones and Mr. D. Smith.

2). Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman:-

Councillor Mullee was duly elected as Chair of the Committee, and Cllr. Taylor as Vice-Chair.

3). Minutes of the meeting held on Sept 4th, 2019 and matters arising:-

The minutes, which had previously been circulated and accepted by the Council, were agreed and signed.

4). Approval of revised Walks Leaflets:-

Mr. Davenport has reviewed Walks 8 and 12 – copies of the updated walks were circulated to members prior to the meeting, however not all had received the email. The clerk will re-circulate the leaflets with one amendment to walk 12 for the committee members to approve. Once approved via email, the committee resolved to request for the Council to approve printing costs of £126 for 400 of each leaflet. It was noted that some of the routes are difficult to navigate, and additional way markers would be useful to flag up the route. The Clerk will contact the Rights of Way team to ask if way markers can be supplied.

5). Footpath Marshall Reports:-

No reports have been received, and no new volunteers added to the current list. Cllr. Taylor volunteered to look at re-starting the footpath marshall scheme, which has lapsed in recent years. Previous volunteer marshalls will be contacted to ask if they are interested in continuing this role, providing reports of issues, and where able, undertaking any minor tidying. It was noted that unless additional support is obtained to act on the issues raised, it would be frustrating for marshalls to report issues only to find out that their reports have not been actioned. The committee agreed that it will be necessary to find someone to undertake the maintenance work in conjunction with Mr. Smith, who has a wealth of knowledge in this area that would be of use to any new maintenance workers. The marshalls will be asked if they are aware of anyone who may be interested in the role and also be made aware of the current shortfall in resource which may result in some delay in actioning their reports.

6). Review of current maintenance schedule and new works for consideration:

Mr. Smith is currently unavailable to complete any maintenance tasks, and no update on the current schedule is available. An offer of help has been extended by the geocaching group, and the Clerk will advise them of some of the footpaths that need clearing. As discussed previously, it was agreed that additional help is needed in order to continue to support footpaths maintenance.

7). Update on reported footpath issues:

The Clerk circulated an updated issues log, which records all the issues that have been reported to the Rights of Way, and includes any actions taken or resolutions. A number of issues have been marked resolved on the RoW reporting website, but it is unclear if they have been completed, or added on to relevant lists for completion.
It was noted that on FP144 (end of Wootton Lane) the stile where the tarmac leads to a field is needing repair. At present, walkers rely on the farmers gate being left open. It was agreed for the Clerk to request the repair and also to ask if it can be replaced by a kissing gate.

8). Footpath 15 maintenance past the Eyeswells (Usulwall to Vicarage).

The Geocache volunteers cleared a lot of the vegetation along this route since the last meeting, and a report was logged with the Rights of Way team to address the flooding caused by blocked drains. The flood report has been marked as resolved, but the committee believes the work is still outstanding and on a works list to be completed.

8). Correspondence:-

• Resident concerns about footpath 17:- concerns regarding flooding were noted and the fallen fingerposts added to the works list for consideration once resources are in place to address the issue and will be reported to Right of Way.

• Resident request to cut back footpath 26 (Baden Hall):- the request has been added to the works list for consideration and the Clerk will ask if the geocaching volunteers would be able to help with clearing vegetation on this route.

• Query regarding signposting of footpath 8:- The lack of adequate signposting along this route was discussed. The route starts at Kerry Lane and then goes across fields. Apart from the initial fingerpost, there are no further route markers so it is very easy to get lost. It was agreed for the Clerk to contact Rights of Way to request further way markers or fingerposts, and whether permissions are needed before additional markings are sited.
The committee discussed whether it would be appropriate for the walk leaflets to be revised to include larger scale maps that were more detailed to show the exact route for each walk as opposed to an outline. It was noted this would involve a complete redesign of the walk leaflets due to a lack of space for any larger map images.

9). Any Other Business:-

There was no other business.

10). Date of next meeting: –

The next meeting was arranged for April 1st, 2020 at 7.00pm, preceding the Planning Committee Meeting.

There being no further business the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 7.40pm.