Agenda and minutes

Contact: Hilary Winter, Forum Officer, 07837171000, 01392 382771  Email:

No. Item




Apologies had been received from Cllr Richard Chesterton, Chris Cole, Cllr Linda Hellyer, Sue Leith, Tino Savvas and Bryan Smith.


Declaration of interests


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of the Fifty-Ninth meeting held on 21 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 610 KB

To approve draft minutes.


Minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2021 were agreed as a correct record and would be signed at a later date.


Matters arising


Teign Estuary Trail


The Teign Estuary Trail planning application (Passage House Inn to Teignmouth) had been approved by DCC’s Development Management Committee.  This was subject to conditions including prior approval of a landscaping scheme incorporating details of boardwalks, viewing platforms, fencing, signage and seating.


Lower Otter Restoration Project


Work to create creeks to the northern end of the Lower Otter Restoration Project site was nearly complete. Construction of the new 40 metre long South Farm Road bridge would commence in the spring.  Richard Walton, DCC, confirmed that draft construction drawings had been received by Public Rights of Way and were also being reviewed by colleagues from the Materials Laboratory.


Seaton Jurassic


East Devon District Council’s Cabinet had decided that Seaton Jurassic would remain closed until a final decision is made over the preferred option for its future use, and whilst remedial works are being fully scoped. A further report on options would be published in January 2022.  The Devon Wildlife Trust’s exit from the centre would not impact on its other work and plans.



Historic Railways Estate


Historic Railways Estate had requested a plan showing potential future walking and cycling routes to allow it to make a note on its database against any HRE structures which may be affected.  This had been supplied by the DCC Senior Transport Planning Officer. The list did not include DCC aspirations to extend railway routes which was not available on the GIS database but the information could be created or made available in a different format.


Soil Association consultation on Forestry England's forest management


The auditor thanked the DCAF for its response.

The auditor stated that Forestry England has long referenced ‘The Countryside for All’ good practice guides for providing accessible paths, particularly in its main hub sites such as Haldon Forest Park.  This is supplemented by its internal ‘Design Guide to Inclusive Woods’, produced in collaboration with the Sensory Trust, and the ‘Growing our Future’ five year plan.  The West Forest District’s strategic plan objectives include to‘widen participation in woodland recreation for all abilities’ together with a specific target to review and modify the trail network to improve its useability by all age groups and ability levels.

It was noted that Forestry England also had to focus on maintaining security and deterring unauthorised access by motorised vehicles as mis-use of woods and forests for rave parties, unauthorised encampments, poaching and use by off-road motor-bikes remained a major issue.




Northbrook Approach


The Executive of Exeter City Council on 5 October had noted the results of the Northbrook Park public consultation and approved in principle the steps set out to develop the proposals, subject to presentation of more detailed plans at a future date.


Planning application 21/1392/FUL - car park improvements (Pebblebed Heaths)


Permission had been granted by East Devon District Council in October 2021.  The informal pedestrian path to the north of the Joneys Cross site, shown to be blocked up on the drawings, shall remain open and available for pedestrian use in perpetuity in the interest of pedestrian access and safety in accordance with Policy TC4 (Footpaths, Bridleways and Cycleways) and TC7 (Adequacy of Road Network and Site Access) of the East Devon Local Plan 2013-2031.) The Public Rights of Way team is liaising over PROW affected by the planning proposals.



Dead Slow campaign and vulnerable users pdf icon PDF 240 KB

To approve additional statement about consideration of vulnerable users to add to DCAF position statements.



The proposed addition to the position statement to cover vulnerable users on the highway was discussed. The new hierarchy in the Highway Code had just been released.  Suggestions of amended wording to strengthen the statement were made and it was agreed two advisory comments should be included, one on vulnerable users and one on the hierarchy.  A revised draft would be circulated for formal sign-off at the next meeting.


Action:  Forum Officer


Accessibility certificate

To consider draft designs for an accessibility award certificate.


Members discussed draft designs for the accessibility award certificate for businesses catering for those with physical/mobility disabilities.  It was not thought there were copyrights on the disabled symbols.  Including symbols for other forms of disability - deaf British Sign Language users; mental health, learning disability, brain injury and neurodiversity; and sensory disability - was mentioned.  Concerns were raised around the criteria or checklist for an award, how businesses would apply and how selection, assessment and monitoring would take place.  Other options such as a thank you letter or linking into other award schemes were mooted.  The Chair suggested and it was agreed not to proceed currently.  Members were asked to put forward any ideas. 


Action: Members 


Meetings attended by DCAF members


Natural England launch of the Green Infrastructure Mapping Tool and GI Principles pdf icon PDF 127 KB


Jo Burgess had attended the Natural England launch and had produced an agenda report.  She emphasised that accurate information would be key to the mapping tool being effective in ensuring green infrastructure is incorporated in planning policy.  The importance of GI had been demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic.  The presentation by Essex County Council, one of the trial areas, had been interesting.


Information and mapping data was publicly available on Home (


National Trust Stakeholder Workshop, Killerton Destination Estate


Gordon Guest has attended the stakeholder meeting.  The National Trust had spelt out its ambitions for the immediate area around Killerton House and the whole estate with a proposed new visitor centre in Ashclyst Forest.  Proposals tied in with the East Devon Local Plan.  He expressed concern that access from the new Cullompton garden Vilage (7,000 – 10,000 houses) and the possible volume of visitors had not been factored in, urging that liaison with Mid Devon District Council should be increased.


Killeton House had improved access for mobility scooters around the property but not across the wider estate and this had been flagged up.


Richard Walton, DCC, advised that public rights of way considerations had been included within the consultation response coordinated by Liz Holloway, Senior Transport Planning Officer, DCC, and that concerns raised by Cullompton Town Council had been fed back to the Transport Planning Team.


The Chair reminded members that the Forum had no statutory function in relation to the National Trust but could encourage and advise.  Other partners associated with the project fell within its statytory remit, such as councils.


Correspondence log pdf icon PDF 210 KB


The correspondence log was noted.  Attention was drawn to the last minute and brief response to the Local Nature Recovery Strategy consultation requesting that local access forums are consulted. LAFs had not been included in the list of organisations yet improving access to greenspace is expected to be included in the guidance.


Public questions


No public questions had been received.


Minutes of the Public Rights of Way Committee held on 25 November 2021 pdf icon PDF 194 KB


The Public Rights of Way minutes were noted.  Meetings were webcast.  Richard Walton, DCC, explained that although the meeting was short, councillors on the committee received full reports and that these were read in advance, with opportunity to liaise with Definitive Map Review Officers prior to the meeting.


Members were interested in the DMR process and the Forum Officer would arrange a future training event, possibly at the Devon Heritage Centre (formerly the County Record Office). 


Action:  Forum Officer


Public Rights of Way update


Richard Walton, Public Rights of Way Manager, DCC, gave an update.



The Senior Public Rights of Way post was being readvertised with a closing date of 14 February.  The vacant Assistant Officer post would be covered by creating a full-time post when one of the part-time Technical Officers retires in March and increasing hours of other part-time staff.  There was currently a high volume of work and Richard Walton apologised if he was slow to respond.


England Coast Path

Grant aid had been confirmed for two projects. 

·         Torcross (Stokenham FP 29).  Stone steps would be reinstated together with cliff stabilisation.  The indication is that work would commence at the end of February with a £127,000 grant awarded.

·         Georgeham (FP 18).  A beach ‘causeway’ path would be reinstated, with a £22,000 grant awarded.  The intention is for this to be completed prior to Easter.

Both projects were weather and contract dependent.


Capital improvements

A £1.5m spend was projected on capital improvements to the end of March.


Definitive Map Review

The team was on track to complete all parishes before 1 January 2026 cut-off date.  The process was approximately 90% complete.  With regard to the cut-off date the PROW team was liaising closely with interested groups e.g. the British Horse Society, Ramblers’ and Trail Riders’ Fellowship. DCC officer advice includes placing focus on more significant claims which have a higher chance of success.  Some organisations were keen to submit all possible claims.  Looking ahead, there will be a balance between quality and quantity.


A recent FOI request had produced the following statistics:

·         145 Definitive Map Review modifications had been determined;

·         180 applications were undetermined;

·         2 applications were about to be referred to the Planning Inspectorate and;

·         6 applications were with the Planning Inspectorate (for which decisions had just been made on two).


The 180 undetermined applications is likely to rise as applications are submitted for the 2026 deadline. It was noted that the legislation allows for an extension to the cut-off date of up to five years but there was no indication as to whether this will be applied.


Stover Country Park

A progress meeting with the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) was being held at the end of January to review progress on the development phase and discuss submitting an application in May for the delivery phase.  Cost estimates had risen significantly for some of the restoration works, alongside constraints on match funding with increased competition. This required a review of project outputs, with some works outside the ownership of DCC potentially having to be taken out of the bid, for example the two historic buildings at Stover School.  Initial feedback from the officer at the NLHF is that it will still be a strong project.  If certain proposals do have to be omitted from the NLHF bid, these could potentially be considered as a separate project, utilising extensive information collated as part of the development phase project.    


Storm Arwen

The storm had caused issues with fallen trees, surface erosion  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.




Presentation by Jamie Hulland, Transportation Strategy & Road Safety Manager, and Liz Holloway, Senior Transport Planning Officer, Devon County Council pdf icon PDF 254 KB


Jamie Hulland, Transportation Strategy and Road Safety Manager, and Liz Holloway, Senior Transport Planning Officer, were welcomed to the meeting.


Mr Hulland explained DCC’s focus was now on growth, the climate emergency and low carbon forms of transport.


Decarbonising Transport Strategy – Active Travel

The Department for Transport Decarbonising Transport strategy had as priority one ‘accelerating modal shift to public and active transport’ with a view to making these the first choice with cohesive, net zero public transport designed for the passenger.  The intention is that cars will be used differently and less often, helping to reduce our carbon footprint.


Active Travel is a high-level policy with an impact on health and wellbeing leading to reduced premature death, depression and dementia. 


Better Quality, Safer and Attractive Infrastructure

Two Department for Transport publications were used.  The first, Gear Change, set out a vision for making cycling and walking the natural first choice with half of all journeys in towns and cities being cycled or walked by 2030.  The key principles are that routes should be coherent; direct (time and distance); safe (protected space); comfortable (gradients and smoothness of journey) and attractive (scenic with parks and waterfronts).  An accompanying Cycle Infrastructure Design note 1/20 provided design principles and was a helpful document to guide work.  Key messages were that routes should be accessible to everyone 8 to 80 – the opportunity should be universal (point 1) and that access control measures should not be used (point 16). All new developments were expected to be built around making sustainable travel the 1st choice for journeys.


Local Cycling and Walking Plans (LCWIPs)

The Heart of Teignbridge draft LCWIP had been out for consultation.  LCWIPs for Exeter; Barnstaple, Bideford and Northam were in development and DCC is seeking assistance on how to proceed with a Countywide Strategic LCWIP.  Funding was currently urban focussed and there are additional developer contributions which can match fund grant bids. DCC had lobbied Government on the importance of leisure and multi-use routes in rural areas. The Countywide strategy would have a prioritised list as there was a lot of demand for routes in the wider community and a long list which will take many years and millions of pounds to deliver.




Between 2015 – 2020, £21m had been spent by DCC on walking and cycling schemes of which £11m was on urban infrastructure and £10m on rural trails, helped by funding at that time through the Granite and Gears project.


For 2020/21 total walking and cycling funding amounted to £6m; of which £2.1m came from the DCC and Local Transport Plan, £3m from developer contributions and £0.9m from Government grant.  Rural trails will receive £1.3m with urban infrastructure £4.7m (£4.2m in Exeter, Newton Abbot and Barnstaple).  Funding was now more urban focussed.


Multi-use strategy

A map was shown of the multi-use and strategic cycle network in Devon.


The multi-use strategy had received £10m funding over the last five years and sought to link the 29 market and coastal  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


To note and approve responses and any feedback


Exe Estuary Management Plan pdf icon PDF 218 KB


The response to the Exe Estuary Management Plan was noted and approved.  The next draft, following consultation, picked up points made by the DCAF. The Exe Estuary Partnership Committee will be asked to approve the final plan at its meeting on 25 January.



Heart of Teignbridge Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan pdf icon PDF 189 KB


The response was noted and approved.


Current consultations


Teignbridge Local Plan Review (Part 3) 2020-2040: Renewable Energy, Gypsy and Traveller and Small Residential Site Options pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To consider and approve draft response to the renewable energy section of the Local Plan Review. 


The DCAF had submitted a response to Torridge District Council on wind farms in 2010.  Membership of the Forum had subsequently changed.  The Chair reminded members that the Forum’s response should focus on access and other comments could be made in a personal capacity.


The draft response was agreed with additions. Reference to the importance of the attractiveness of routes was raised in relation to solar farms.  The British Horse Society had an advice note on solar farms which might be helpful.


A revised draft would be circulated.


Action:  Forum Officer


Deep Lane Junction A38 Cycle and Pedestrian Bridge Consultation pdf icon PDF 853 KB


The consultation paper was discussed.  All routes had positive and negative aspects.  It was agreed that Option C was not so desirable or attractive due to safety and isolation factors.


Option B incorporated two signalised crossings over the slip-roads.  It was felt that this was potentially unsafe and would exacerbate traffic congestion on the A38.


Option A reduced the potential to feel isolated and a question would be raised as to whether widening or better lighting would improve this route further.  There was some concern about the impact of the raised section on the house occupiers in Wolverwood Lane. 


The multi-use bridge over the A38 between Newton Abbot and Bovey Tracey was mentioned as a successful project.


It was agreed to respond giving Option A as marginally the best project and making the additional comments on all the options.  A draft would be circulated.


Action:  Forum Officer


Any other business


Glover Review


The consultation on the Government response to the Glover Review on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks had just come out, with a closing date of 9 April.


There were proposals to change the AONB name to National Landscapes and have an overarching National Landscapes Service partnership.  The purposes of the protected landscapes, governance and management plans were under scrutiny.  There were additional plans to reform the planning system, strengthen the role of AONBs and permit enforcement powers. Whilst there was a focus on generating additional income, particularly from green sources, funding remained a concern.


The Government response raised the possibility of exploring the expansion of open access rights and there were proposals to bring National Trails into the national landscape family.  The consultation survey questions sought specific views about restrictions and exemptions on motorised use of unsealed roads.


The Chair reminded members that the National Park forums would have views on the Parks. The Chair proposed a working group and a poll of dates would be circulated to members who expressed interest.


Action:  Forum Officer.


Killerton Estate and Clyst Valley Regional Park


Gordon Guest requested that the DCAF talk about plans for the wider Killerton area.  The Chair suggested this could be part of a Training Day.




Jo Burgess asked whether it was possible to lobby Government.  The Chair confirmed that this was best associated with a project or document and the Forum had a statutory function to advise the Secretary of State for any Government Department.


Dates of meetings 2022/2023

Proposed dates:  Monday, 25 April 2022; Tuesday, 20September 2022 and Tuesday, 31 January 2023.



A change to the proposed September date was requested.  The Forum Officer would look at other dates with the Chair.


Action:  Forum Officer and Chair.