Essex Area Ramblers

At the heart of walking in Essex

Notes from meeting Natural England and Essex Area of Ramblers on 20th September 2016

Essex Area Ramblers (EAR): Ann McLaren, President and Alan Goffee, Chairman
Natural England (NE): Claire Cadman, Lead Adviser (Burnham to Maldon stretch

Ann raised on Alan’s behalf when they had last met with James Lamb, NE in April. No formal notes taken but AML passed CC an email summary of this meeting.

  1. 1.Update on 6 Essex Stretches
  • 3 stretches due to publish proposals Spring 2017 – (a) Harwich to Shotley Gate HSG (b) Mersea Island MSI (c ) Maldon to Salcott MSC. Due to open 2018;
  • 3 stretches due to publish proposals Summer 2017 – (a) Jaywick to Harwich JWH (b) Salcott to Jaywick SCJ (c) Burnham to Maldon BCM. Due to open 2018;
  • James Lamb is now part-time, so change in Snr Advisers: HSG= Sally Fishwick; MSI, JWH & SCJ = James Lamb; and MSC & BCM = Darren Braine;
  • Everyone busy meeting landowners and ‘Walking the Course’ – various people including farmers, sailing clubs, private households – well through this now on majority of stretches;
  • Considering public safety re: seaward of the ECP trail – gathering evidence from e.g. RNLI, Coastguard, River Bailiffs, Fire & Rescue;
  • Progressing Access & Sensitive Features Appraisal (ASFA) – an involved piece of work (a) predicting changes in access – very site specific (b) sensitive features – includes both historic and natural environment;
  • Training on ‘Trimbles’ – GPS devices used to record proposed trail route, any land landward or seaward, all infrastructure etc. Working closely with Essex Highways on this.

Coming up:

  • Completing ‘Walking the Course’, ASFA
  • ‘Trimbling’ – out recording information prior to producing first draft maps and for liaison with Essex Highways;
  • Identifying any restrictions needed;
  • Produce bespoke draft maps for land owner/occupiers/ legal interests;
  • Complete collection of expert advice/ evidence;
  • Start drawing up proposals.
  1. 2.Next 4 Essex Stretches
  • Wallasea to Burnham – Qrtr 4, 2016/17
  • Foulness / Potton /Wallasea – 2017/2018
  • Southend to Wallasea- 2017/2018
  • Gravesend to Wallasea - 2017/2018

All have end date of 2020 for delivery. Wallasea to Burnham stretch will go first. Not clear yet who from NE will be working on which stretches.

  1. 3.Other:

CC explained that the reports from Ramblers can be used earlier than had first thought – so Essex Area Ramblers able to look ahead to future stretches and start work, with the exception of Foulness / Potton /Wallasea stretch where NE are already have discussions re: sensitivities of increased public access. Please wait until work official starts and closer liaison on this stretch. With others, and as before, please conduct all work from existing PROW.

CC raised the desire for the outstanding Salcott to Jaywick report. Ann explained the work has been done but the delay has been writing it up as the lady involved was tied up in the PROW/ Rail Crossing closures work. Ann/Alan will flag up to her.

CC explained that once the England Coast Path opens a ‘National Trails Partnership’ will have the responsibility for its ongoing maintenance. Essex Highways are key to this, with input from Natural England as well as other local partners

  1. 4.Opportunities for joint working
  • CC to write article for Essex Area Ramblers – covering points raised in meeting.
  • Ann & Alan offered the support of Essex Area Ramblers in any stretch opening events in 2018 and beyond. CC explained the launches were led by Natural England with the local Access Authority i.e. Essex CC/ Highways – CC will pass on offer of support & thanked EAR for kind offer.
  • CC invited to attend & update next Essex Area Ramblers Committee mtg – 7:30pm on Wed 4th January at Friends Meeting House, Roxwell Road, Chelmsford.

Ann was thanked for her hospitality.