Small ads

Ginnelgate, Calder High, rights of way and electric gates

From Joel Robinson

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I'm curious to know if any outcome has been reached regarding this matter or whether it got as far as CMBC and is still pending investigation. A similar situation has arisen which I believe more people should be made aware of in that a much used public access route along Calder High School drive, Mytholmroyd has recently been barred at both ends with electric gates.

Perhaps it's understandable that Calder High might want to barr entry to the general public in this age of endless Health and Safety and Risk Assessment but they (the public) have been using this (as yet unregistered) right of way unhindered for decades and in the case of one resident for 57 years.

Residents of Brier Hey were invited to a short meeting at the school back in May 2011. The invite stipulated attendees must be current residents of the Brier Hey area and that only one councilor could attend and only one respresentative of the police. In the meeting the acting Deputy Head antagonised many present with sweeping judgements about the general social standing of Mytholmroyd residents and demonstrated very little knowledge or interest in the issues in hand. Surprisingly, Calder High continues to ignore all subsequent correspondence on the matter including letters and calls from several town councillors who staunchly oppose the actions of the school.

A dozen or so evidence forms have so far been gathered from residents and sent to Ian Turner, CMBC who has given assurances that the residents have a strong case and that the school is in no way above the law but also that it could take a year or more before Calderdale will even investigate.

In the meantime the walk into the village is significantly longer and less safe as people are forced to walk down Brier Lane and along Burnley Road. Several of my neighbours undertake this walk daily. Some of them are in their 70s & 80s and others walk to other schools in the village with young children. Your support in this matter would be very much appreciated. If you have used the route in the past and would complete an evidence form, here is the link:


Completed forms should be sent to:

Ian Turner
Rights of Way,
Calderdale Council,
Northgate House,
Halifax HX1 1UN.

From Graham Barker

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I've been told that the electric gates cost £30,000. I don't know how accurate that is but it's plausible. Does anyone have an exact figure? Refusal to face up to objections could have a lot to do with not wanting to accept that they may have wasted a large amount of public money.

From Jenny B

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I am not sure that I can understand the argument or indeed the comparison with the Birchcliffe snicket here. Surely closing off public access to a large school is actually a good thing? As a parent of future CHS pupils, and as a former pupil myself, I always found it slightly at odds that any Tom, Dick or Harry could walk on the front drive when I/My children were around. Not to mention their potential access to the inside of school premises.

The inconvenience of walking along Burnley Road can't be that bad, after all the distance must be about the same with hilly ascent at either end? Safety of our children is paramount, and these days you cannot simply wander through school grounds at will. I would rather my children were protected from potential paedophiles; drug dealers etc at whatever cost the gates were, than consider the alternative. And, by the way I am not scaremongering, but as a former pupil I am simply being realistic in stating my views.

From Joel Robinson

Thursday, 22 September 2011

In response to Jenny B, I'm also a parent of (possible) future CHS pupils and a former pupil myself. There is clearly a conflict of interests and there are definitely two sides to this argument.

Regarding your comment:

"The inconvenience of walking along Burnley Road can't be that bad"

You could also apply a measure of the extent of the inconvenience to the snicket access closure as well but it is simply not a consideration when determining if a public right of way exists. It is either a Public Right of Way or it isn't! In the case of Calder High School, a walk into the village takes several minutes longer for someone young and fit and Brier Hey Lane is much steeper than Midgley Road.

My neighbours include CHS ex-teachers retired senior police officers and members of the clergy (I must say I don't know any drug dealers or paedophiles personally). They are the school's eyes and ears outside the school gates.

They also now have to put up with a significant increase in parked cars (formerly parked on the CHS drive) obstructing the pavements both sides of Brier Hey Lane and Brier Hey Close making emergency vehicle and disabled access almost impossible. I'm not exagerating! It really has become that bad. They are ignoring the very community they serve.


From John Knapp

Thursday, 22 September 2011

I don't think there is much hope of claiming a Right of Way.
There was a similar situation at Shade school, Todmorden where the public had used a way through the school grounds for generations. The school stopped the way up.

It went all the way to appeal but was refused, as the Government says the general public are not allowed within school grounds without permission.

The fortress is unassailable.

From Kate C

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Calder High are simply following goverment and police guidelines. I am definitely not one of the 'paedophiles behind every bush' brigade, but schools do have a duty of care towards their puplis, some of whom inevitably will be vulnerable or at risk. The trouble is if anybody in the grounds can claim a legitimate reason for being there it is obviously makes it much more difficult to police those who have ulterior motives. As a parent of a child at the school, I can understand them to putting the safety of the pupils over inconvenience to their neighbours.

From Lizzie D

Friday, 23 September 2011

Sorry Joel, I am with Jenny on this one. Usually that old health and safety ruse is wheeled out to make or reduce someones work, but in this case it is a fair argument. Maybe the residents of Brier Hey lane are all fine upstanding citizens (although I dont think being an ex PC; a vicar or a teacher automatically excludes membership of drug cartels or child porn rings), but.... the safety of kids these days is paramount, and whichever way you argue, joe publics access to 1,000s of kids not to mention acess to premises containing an awful lot of valuable items, is just too high a risk. That it was ever allowed in the first place is bizarre.

From Joel Robinson

Friday, 23 September 2011

When I got involved in the discussions about the Calder High gates I wasn't particularly bothered and I must confess like most people I drive most places and have hardly ever used this route. I went to the meeting at the school feeling some sympathy for those who have long relied on the route and took with me some Rights of Way Act literature which I succinctly read out. I received strong vocal objections from the school officials present who were more than happy to express their opinions but who also admitted they had no idea of the legal facts. David Smith, Acting Duputy Head (who I'm sure does not live locally) actually suggested we should call our lawyers!

There are around 40 households at Brier Hey who almost certainly would at some time make use of the CHS drive to walk into the village and quite a lot of them were present at this meeting. Almost all were left feeling angry at the way the meeting was conducted.

The law grants rights of way on the basis of anecdotal evidence of prolonged use of a route by the public. It is quite possible to move public footpaths and rights of way etc and examples can often be seen in the form of foot bridges over railway lines and properly surfaced footpaths which go around major developments.

There are council bodies appointed to decide on such matters. The appropriate council body has given assurances that Calder High School are in no way above the law in this regard. Unfortunately however it could be literally years before the Rights of Way dept are in a position to begin sifting through the evidence forms and evaluating our DMMO application. Sadly it seems the same can be said regarding the Ginnelgate compaign. I seriously wonder how many similar applications the Rights Of Way have got to work through.


From F Stein

Monday, 26 September 2011

According to this document (from Calderdale MBC site) there are 92 outstanding DMMO appications.

See also

HebWeb Forum - Ginnelgate - Aug-Oct 2011

Hebweb News - GinnelGate - closure of a much used town footpath - (August 2010)

Hebweb News - GinnelGate: Scaling the Wall - (September 2010)