Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP)
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is committed to delivering a vision for the community as set out in the Sustainable Community Strategy and Local Area Agreement. The vision, "Creating a Better Southend", will be met by working with partners through the Local Strategic Partnership and will aim to improve the quality of life for local people.
This Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) will assist in meeting the vision by providing a strategic overview of the Public Rights of Way (PRoW) in Southend and investigating ways of promoting and delivering an accessible cycling and walking network for the public.
Further to the services already provided, over the next 10 years Southend-on-Sea Borough Council will give the public rights of way network greater priority in terms of policy and funding provision and as such will endeavour to deliver the core actions set out in this document.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 20001 requires all Highway Authorities in England and Wales to prepare and publish a ROWIP for their area by November 2007. Due to resource constraints (both financial and staffing) it was not possible to meet this target date.
ROWIPs are the prime means by which local highway authorities will identify the changes to be made, in respect of the management and improvements to their local rights of way network in order to meet the aim of better provision for walkers, cyclists, equestrians and people with mobility problems2.
The ROWIP is a strategic document, which demonstrates how the highway authority intends to improve the network for the current and future needs of all users of the network - being local residents as well as visitors.
The ROWIP must include an assessment of the current PRoW network as recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement (DMS) see Section 2 and provide a Statement of Action (SoA) for future improvements3
The assessment must include:
- the extent to which local rights of way meet the present and likely future needs of the public;
- the opportunities that local rights of way provide to the public for exercise and other forms of open air recreation and for the enjoyment of the area; and
- the accessibility of the rights of way to blind or partially sighted people and others with mobility problems.
The Statement of Action must:
- set out how any issues raised by the assessment are to be addressed and to describe how the network will be managed and improved in the future.
- link the actions required under this ROWIP with other Borough Council strategic documents, policies and priorities in order to maximise the potential for improvements, meeting the wider objectives of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and to create funding opportunities.
1 The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 - S602 Rights of Way Improvement Plans - Statutory Guidance to Local Highway Authorities in England - DEFRA November 2002 3 The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 - S60