The Executive Summary from Bexley’s Rights of Way and Access Improvements Plan
Information from: http://www.bexley.gov.uk/article/14911/Public-Rights-of-Way
1.1 Why have we prepared an Improvement Plan?
Section 60 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 requires all local highway authorities in England and Wales to prepare and publish a Rights of Way Improvement Plan (RoWIP) covering all of their area. The Plan should include a Statement of Action that the local highway authority proposes to take to manage its Rights of Way (RoW) and improve the network in the future to meet the government’s aims of better provision for users. The Plan should be reviewed and amended at subsequent intervals of not more than ten years.
1.2 What does the Plan cover?
Authorities are required to assess the extent to which the RoW network meets the present and likely future needs of the public; provides opportunities for exercise and other forms of recreation; and is accessible to mobility impaired or visually impaired persons. Where deficiencies in the network exist, improvements have to be identified and prioritised.
The Improvement Plan is intended to be the prime means by which local highway authorities will identify the changes that need to be made. Although the RoWIP is only required to include public RoW, as defined by law, the public RoW network in the London Borough of Bexley is relatively limited and there are many other routes in the Borough that are not legally classified as public RoW but which are used by walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.
In response to this, the council has extended the scope of the plan to consider these additional routes and has produced a Rights of Way and Access Improvement Plan (RoWAIP) which assesses the availability, connectivity and adequacy of RoW in relation to other walking, cycling and horseriding networks in the Borough.
The Bexley RoWAIP sets the context of public RoW and access improvement and management by drawing together information about the needs of different user groups and the existing level of resource provision. It evaluates how adequate the provision is and identifies prioritises and key actions to address any shortcomings. This is consistent with the statutory guidance published by DEFRA for local authorities in England.
1.3 How was it developed?
The process of developing the RoWAIP was informed by a number of factors including focus group sessions with the general public, questionnaire distribution across the Borough and consultation with key stakeholders.
Once the draft Plan had been prepared, the council published their draft RoWAIP and sought representations from the relevant authorities, agencies, local organisations and the public. After a twelve week consultation period, all representations were reviewed and a consultation responses report was prepared, outlining responses to the comments and proposed amendments to the Plan.
Many of the suggestions for improving the Plan have led us to make amendments to the finalised document. However, in some cases, suggested changes would have involved further investigations that would have delayed adoption of the Plan and would not have improved the content of the document. Therefore, amendments to the document focused on correcting factual inaccuracies and making appropriate changes to the Statement of Action to allow the Plan to be finalised.
Whilst the London Borough of Bexley has a statutory duty under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to publish a RoWIP, there is no formal obligation on the Council to implement it. Accordingly, no funds have yet been allocated to Highway Authorities by Central Government specifically for RoWIP implementation.
However, funding may be available where RoW improvements help to deliver transport priorities through the integration of RoWIPs and wider transport planning processes managed by Transport for London. This aspect will be the subject of on-going discussions with TfL.
For improvements that do not fall into this category, funding will be sought through the council’s capital and revenue budgets, including on-going partnership working across council departments and with external organisations and agencies. For more major improvements, this will include looking for opportunities to bring these forward as part of wider projects and programmes and through separate funding bids to central government.
The full report is lower down.
If the maps/documents don’t upload on your pc, they are accessible via this link: http://www.bexley.gov.uk/article/14911/Public-Rights-of-Way
North of the Borough.
South of the Borough.
Rights of Way and Access Improvement Plan