Minutes of MOD - HCAF Liaison Meeting – 9th December 2020 – MS TEAMS meeting
Those present :-
- TSO Security and Public Access Officer
- DIO Access and Recreation Advisor
- DIO DTSO Security and Public Access Officer
- Surrey Countryside Access Forum Chair
- Hampshire Countryside Access Forum Chair
HCAF – representing walkers
HCAF - representing equestrians
– British Cycling
– DIO Senior Access and Recreation Advisor
1) Minutes of the meeting 30/7/20 were approved
2) Byelaws Review update
reported that there had been a push recently to complete the Byelaw Review ready for
presentation to the Secretary of State and from there to public consultation.
The information given was for information only – and not yet for comment.
The land covered by the new Byelaws is divided into two categories;
that are closed to unauthorised persons and;
where access is only permitted when the area is not being used for
explained the management principles behind provision of access across the MOD estate
as part of the Byelaw Review (BR) and the need to balance the sometime conflicting
requirements of enhanced public access with the conservation piece. Within the Controlled
Areas it was envisaged that there would be a system of permissive routes and permissive
The BR does not affect public rights of way.
There remains no public access to all water bodies by unauthorised persons.
Public access to Long Valley, Area G2 at Pirbright and Ash Ranges RDA will continue to be
managed by a system of gates and signs when the areas are in use for military training.
added that access points currently have a horse accessible foot/cycle gate with a flip sign
which notifies whether the area is open or closed – a system which works well as regards
military training whilst at the same time enhancing public safety and enabling public access
when military training is not taking place. In the case of these areas’ notification of opening
and closure times is also published on the You.Gov site.
for the update but asked for clarification that horse riders would not
confirmed that horse riders would not be required to hold a permit to
use the permissive routes or permissive zones.
provided background information, explaining the problems involved with balancing
wider public access and the legislative requirement to protect SSSI, SPA and other ecological
areas across the estate.
for the useful background. He agreed in principle with not permitting access
during training – but queried how this was to be managed. He also queried whether the
different sections marked on the military maps were discrete units and whether access
would be allowed on areas not in use.
explained that this is how the maps are currently labelled and when allocating areas to
troops allows deconfliction between different units and types of training which may take
commented that areas which are designated SSSI and SPA must also affect military
training in those areas so could they offer assurance that the military would not damage
land that the public is not allowed to enter.
assured that the ecologists would very quickly pick up on any such issues and that we
have long established conservation groups for all our areas that manage this piece in close
cooperation with the DIO environmental team. added that the MOD did its best to
manage all estates appropriately and ecology was a constant concern.
questioned whether any consideration had been given to parking.
the military does not intend to provide areas for parking and nothing has been discussed so
far beyond the agreed parking places on the map. This issue does not form part of the BR.
pointed out that increased access would increase demand.
responded that such
details would be decided later as part of the bigger picture.
commented that much work had been carried out regarding the principles concerning
the Aldershot estate and questioned whether such principles would eventually be applied
replied that they may well be used as a boiler plate for further BR rollout on
asked what the implications maybe on existing rights of way. EG – would footpaths
become open to bikes and horses. Also, would the military close public rights of way for
confirmed that public rights of way will not be affected by the proposals and that
outside of the BR DIO will continue to improve access to public footpaths where
commented that illegal use is a challenge and asked how effective policing could be
replied that there needs to be clarity about where bikes and horse riders can
and can’t go and resources need to be focused where and when needed.
asked if there was any idea of timing for the review. replied that hopefully it would
go to the Secretary of State by early January.
gave an update on progress. Part of the multi-user perimeter route has already been
opened. The final intention is for a full circular multi-user route and this will hopefully be
completed over the next couple of years. Some vegetation and culvert clearing has been
undertaken and some resurfacing will be necessary from the old St. John’s Ambulance
station towards Ash Vale Station. There will be a CSF bid to carry on the circular route next
year focussing on sensitive area.
Investigation of the area around Tunnel Hill is continuing and there will be a site visit post
about the bridge at Cowshot Common but has had no reply. Currently
the bridge is a foot bridge but if funding were available this could be extended for horses.
offered to provide relevant contact details for
The bridge over the canal off Brunswick Road does not belong to the Canal Authority so the
matter has been referred to Highways.
confirmed that neither the bridge nor the track on either side belong to the Canal
Authority – just the tow path and the canal.
has provided historic evidence that
the bridge was the public highway.
to contact the Basingstoke Canal Trust to discuss
further following this new information.
has contacted Network Rail who have granted permissive access for cyclists and horses.
commented that once the Byelaws Review is completed he will examine different
options available for the multi user routes.
commented that the Blackwater Valley partnership is looking at ways to integrate their
SANGS from Cove to Fleet Pond. The crossing of Kennel Lane presented a safety issue.
replied that the route south of the railway track is utilitarian rather than recreational.
Southwood woodlands are no longer part of the military estate. Wider discussion of this
issue will continue.
has looked at the access points to the site. The signs are out of date and there is no way
of knowing opening times.
said all that is needed is an up to date contact notice stuck on the existing signs.
will implement this simple solution but information needs to be accessible before the
long walk to the gate is undertaken. The issue is where to put the information panels.
Chilcomb has an active parish council who might help. Another suggestion was a virtual
panel covering Chilcomb and Winchester.
Authorisation has been given by
to repair the bridge on the permissive track parallel to
the peri track.
to approach a local landowner to ask if a 30 yard section of footpath
could be improved to a permissive bridleway in order to avoid a boggy section. There is
more work to do – but funding has been agreed. An application to divert a public footpath in
two places needs to fulfil legal requirements not to obstruct a public right of way. An
informal consultation with the parish council was positive.
A Catterick video – Respect the Range Campaign was shown. Its aim is to educate the public
as to the risks on the military estates. (Here)