Local Access Forum

The Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 requires that all local authorities set up local access fora to provide advice on how public access to the countryside can be improved. The Caerphilly Local Access Forum was set up in June 2002 and was one of the first to be set up in Wales. Its members represent landowners, farmers, commoners, walkers, horse riders, wildlife groups, people with disabilities.

Role of the Forum

The Forum provides advice to Caerphilly County Borough Council, Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Government about improving public access to the countryside for recreation and enjoyment in the Caerphilly county borough area (and Wales). The Forum represents the interests of people that use the countryside for work or recreation.

Recently the Forum has been actively involved in the preparation of the Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Rights of Way Improvement Plan. It also works on access improvement projects, it is currently looking at access opportunities in the Heads of the Valleys Area and the Caerphilly Mountain Area. Projects the LAF have previously worked on can be seen by clicking here

The County Borough Council is required to prepare an annual report of the local access forum’s activities and an agreed programme of work which the forum plans to undertake in the next year. Details of previously prepared annual reports can be seen by clicking here.

Public Involvement

The public can attend meetings and observe proceedings. Comments from the public will also be accepted by written representation at the discretion of the chair.

Meetings

The Forum meets every 3 months and the public are welcome to attend the meetings. Meetings are normally held on Friday mornings at Penallta House Council Offices, Tredomen Park, Ystrad Mynach.

Meeting dates:

To find out our current meeting dates please contact the forum secretary on the details below

Minutes

Copies of the minutes for each meeting of the Local Access Forum may be downloaded in Adobe pdf format below. For alternative format requirements, please contact the LAF Secretary.

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Contact Details

For further information please contact:
Philip Griffiths (Secretary) on 01495 235040 or
email: countryside@caerphilly.gov.uk

LAF Projects

Since its establishment in 2002 the Caerphilly LAF have been actively involved in many access projects. Below are some of the projects the LAF have taken an active part in preparing.

  • Open Access Management Plan

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gave a new right of access on foot for the purposes of open-air recreation to open country, commonland and land dedicated as access land. Within Caerphilly County Borough CCW designated 5728 hectares of land as access land. This is comprised of 3512 hectares of registered common land, 518 hectares of open country and 1698 hectares of Forestry Commission freehold woodland.

The Open Access Management Plan provides an assessment of all the sites of Open Country (518 hectares) within Caerphilly County Borough. Using the management plan the council has been able to identify and carry out works which help provide or improve access, provide landowners with advice and also how best to advise the public on how to use their new rights in a responsible manner when using these new areas of accessible land.
 

  • Access in the Lower Ebbw Valley Area

The lower Ebbw valley has been an important focus for public access to the countryside since the opening of the Forestry Commissions Cwmcarn Forest Drive in 1972. Further developments in the area have included a new visitor centre at the Forest Drive, the designation of Twmbarlwm as Open Access land and the enhancing and developing of the Crumlin arm of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.

The council recognises that the opportunities for countryside access in the lower Ebbw valley area are increasing and felt that a coordinated approach was required to identify how these opportunities can be developed. The Access in the Lower Ebbw Valley (LEV) Area Report highlights the current access opportunities available in the LEV area. It also assesses what works are required to improve/enhance existing access opportunities and also investigate the potential for creating new access opportunities in the area.
 

  • Access for the less able in the Country Parks of Caerphilly CB

The county borough has 5 country parks, Parc Coetir Bargod, Parc Cwm Darran, Parc Penallta, Pen y Fan Pond and Sirhowy Valley. The parks have a total area of 981 ha and are all centred on land which was formerly derelict or used for industry or transport.

They offer a variety of access routes for the public ranging from tarmac paths and forest tracks to rough paths. They reflect the local topography in that they have few flat areas and many of the access routes involve steep gradients. They all face problems of illegal access by motor vehicles and barriers have been put in place to control this.

The council has recognised that the parks may offer challenges to visitors with disabilities and has worked with the LAF to undertake an access audit to establish what the issues are and what can be reasonably done to resolve them. The results of which can be read in this report.

Copies of these reports may be downloaded in Adobe pdf format here, by clicking from within the relevant list below. Or contact the LAF Secretary for any alternative format requirements.

Annual Reports

The County Borough Council is required to prepare an annual report of the local access forum’s activities and an agreed programme of work which the forum plans to undertake in the next year.

Copies of the published annual reports may be downloaded in Adobe pdf format below. For alternative format requirements, please contact the LAF Secretary.

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Membership of the Forum

A Local Access Forum must consist of a Chair, a Deputy Chair and between 12 and 22 members.

Forum members are appointed for a term of three years at a time. At the end of the three years current members may re-apply and anyone expressing an interest may also apply. The current Forums term of office ends in the early part of 2015 and the council will need to appoint members to a new Forum. If you are interested in joining the Forum, for more details on how to apply or an informal chat please contact Philip Griffiths (Secretary) on 01495 235040 or email countryside@caerphilly.gov.uk

Caerphilly LAF members:

  • Mr William Lindsay (Chair)
  • Mr Garry Lewis ( Deputy Chair)
  • Mr Barry Clarke
  • Mr Keith Donovan
  • Cllr Ken James ( Caerphilly CBC representatives)
  • Mr Robert Jones
  • Ms Alison Palmer
  • Mr David Parry
  • Mr Glyn Davies
  • Mr Andrew Edwards
  • Ms Sylvia Dolbear
  • Ms Maggie Thomas
  • Ms Elaine Gwynne
  • Mr Nigel Yates
  • Mr John R Davies
  • Mr Roger Evans
  • Ms Lorraine Howells
  • Mr Philip Griffiths (Secretary)

And observers from National Resource Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and Caerphilly County Borough Council (other observers may attend as and when required).

 

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