Leeds Group Secretary’s Report - AGM November 2016
The Leeds Group committee has met four times in the year, with considerable activity between meetings. There has been a regular and varied walks programme and committee members have been in frequent and positive contact with Public Right of Way officers from Leeds City Council. Work carried out by committee members has kept the Group solvent and efficiently run.
The previous AGM was held at the Victory Hall, Thorner on 21 November 2015. It was preceded by, as ever, a well-attended local walk. At the AGM Colin Calderwood raised a matter of importance based on recent changes in farming. Dairy herds were being reduced in number because of the falling price of milk. It was likely that fields previously used for dairy herds would be turned over to crops or to beef raising. This could lead to a rise in problems for walkers such as cropping and young beef cattle.
Leeds Group walks are published in the West Riding Area Walks Programme, which is also on the West Riding and the Leeds Group websites. There have been planned walks near to home in the Leeds area and also further afield. The walks have varied in length between 5 and 10 miles at both a leisurely and faster pace. These are popular days out and are appreciated by members, discovering new locations led by our experienced leaders.
Committee members have attended various other meetings including the Local Access Forum, Leeds Parks and Green Spaces Forum, and extensive dialogue with PRoW officers. Footpath and countryside matters, as always, have been important areas for focus throughout the year. Contact with council officials takes place on a regular basis. Particularly footpath and countryside matters can be protracted and time-consuming. For instance, countryside matters included site visits to proposed turbine applications. Previously, the Leeds Group had donated £1000 to LCC’s PRoW department to put up footpath signposts at road junctions. This was match-funded. However, the Leeds area still has many signposts missing and it has therefore been decided to donate a further amount of £1,500 and have this match-funded. These are the starting point to alerting walkers and the general public to a local public footpath. Without signposts, often even local people can be unaware of a path on their doorstep.
There are committee vacancies for chair and publicity. This is an opportunity for one of our Leeds Group members to extend the work and the successes of the Leeds Group. Committee meetings are held at 7pm at Oxford Methodist Mission in the centre of Leeds, with dates of meetings on the Group website. Members are warmly encouraged to come and observe proceedings with an option to seek nomination to the committee during the year.