Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP)

Ended on the 6 March 2009
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(1) 4. Current Provision

Highway Authorities are directed to assess:

"footpaths, cycle tracks, bridleways and restricted byways for exercise and other forms of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of their area"10

(together with):

"the accessibility of local rights of way to blind or partially sighted persons and others with mobility problems"11.

By virtue of Southend being a predominantly urban Borough, the network is generally accessible to most users. As mentioned in Section 3, approximately 19km of public footpaths have been formally adopted and incorporated into footways or independent footways and are surveyed annually as such. These routes are surfaced which gives rise to a higher standard of maintenance and more easier access for those with mobility problems than the remaining 25.9km of the public footpath network which are generally unmade.

There are very few routes that cross agricultural land and there are no recorded issues regarding access for people with mobility needs in the more rural areas.

For the purpose of this section, the PRoW network (the network) is taken to mean the routes recorded on the DMS that do not form part of the road network as described in Section 3.

The Audit Commission's Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI 178) recommends that 5% of the network is surveyed biannually in May and November in accordance with an agreed methodology, commonly referred to as the 'Ease of Use' Survey. Whilst this Indicator has now been withdrawn, it is intended that the survey will continue as the results will assist with monitoring and general management of the network.

(1) Ease of Use Survey

It was decided in November 2004 to utilise the survey time to assess the ease of use and signage of the whole network. Table 1 below reflects these results.

The main contributing factor to the fall in pass rate through 2004/2005 was lack of signing. This was addressed during 2005/2006 and is reflected in the results for 2006.

It is probable that if a random 5% sample of the routes were selected and surveyed during this time, a pass rate between 95% and 100% would have been achieved.

The surveys for 2007 - 2008 will examine a 5% sample of the network but it is proposed to continue to survey all the remaining routes for monitoring purposes.

Table 1: Results of BVPI survey for ease of use and signing 2003-2007


Date of Survey

% of network surveyed Pass rate
(a) May 2003 5% 100%
(b) November 2003 5% 94%
(c) May 2004 5% 91%
(d) November 2004 100% 52%
(e) May 2005 100% 43%
(f) November 2005 100% 49%
(g) May 2006 100% 88%
(h) November 2006 100% 88%
(i) May 2007 5% 100%
(j) November 2007 5% 100%

10 The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 - S60(2)(b)

11 The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 - S60(2)(c)
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