IT seems a strange decision in these times of austerity that money should be spent on something which initially at least doesn’t seem to have the strongest of links to Kirklees.
But that is what the council’s Cabinet decided on yesterday. And while there may well be a long-term plan involved, the immediate prospect of £3,500 being spent on a Barnsley-based officer might make a few people stop and blink.
Last night, the Cabinet became a partner in the Trans-Pennine Trail. Good news so far since this is a route of footpaths along disused railways, canals and riverside paths, bridleways, urban cycle lanes and footpaths from Liverpool to Hull via South Yorkshire.
The trail is in the process of being linked into Kirklees but here is where the concerns kick in. For it would seem that even within the council it is not entirely clear whether there are official links between the network of paths which connect Kirklees to the rest of the TransPennine trail or not.
Both on and off-road routes between Kirkburton and Penistone were unveiled last year. But there seems to be no time-scale as to when they will be linked to the wider network – publicly at least.
Hopefully the trail will become a well-used feature of the region bringing both publicity and visitors to the area as well as providing facilities for all who live here.But spending of this sort, even on such a low level, is likely to raise concerns.
Funding a Trail officer is crucial to ensure that the route is maintained and therefore meets its funding obligations.
Thankfully the Cabinet did agree to an annual review of the partnership. Many will feel that we need to see evidence of positive gains for our area to justify any more spending outside its boundaries.