/ NEWS: The Roaches Management Up For Grabs

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UKC News - on 17 Nov 2011
Boulderers at the Roaches, 3 kbThe future of one of Britain's premier crags is decided at the end of next week, as the Peak District National Park Authority chooses which organisation will take over the management of The Roaches in Staffordshire.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=65045
Kamikaze Badger - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News:
As rate payer to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council does this mean I get preferential treatment at the Roaches (maybe some kind of private parking)??? Somehow I think not……………
Dave Garnett - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Kamikaze Badger:

I pay my Council Tax to SMDC and my membership subs to SWT. Do I get two parking places?
birdie num num - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to Dave Garnett:
You're more likely to be rewarded with a pay and display machine.
toad - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News: Th Land Trust worry me. They look like they manage lots of post industrial restorations- little semi-urban park sites, not big areas of the uplands. I suspect they'll look and feel like park keepers, and the public accountability issue is important. There isn't any! They were spawned from English Partnerships. They'd be my go to guys if I had a colliery pit head to landscape, but if you want a flavour of their corporate ethos - try the "about us" bit of the website. It's full of the wrong sort of languuage for rural land managers, and their trustees have backgrounds in development agencies, private equity and development. Compare with, say, the National Trust.


I don't know about staffs trust specifically, but other wildlife trusts have worked with climbers, cavers etc elsewhere - I've worked for one and I'm pretty relaxed about them, though I suspect the NT may be the best of the three for the scale of the site, and for finding a balance between users.
toad - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to toad: Actually, the Land Trust scare the Sh1t out of me as potential managers.

Here's the "about Us" text. Do they sound like you could have a chat over the gate with them?

The Land Trust provides a cost effective management solution for open space and green infrastructure. This land can deliver significant community benefits, improving health, social cohesion, providing an educational resource and uplifting the local economy.

Our open spaces are a crucial part of the social landscape, delivering a range of significant benefits for residents and businesses. Safe and accessible open space allows communities to come together and individuals to develop and relax through physical activity and recreation. Well designed and maintained open spaces are outdoor classrooms, gyms and theatres. They change lifestyles and improve health and well-being, so we take them seriously.



The most progressive companies understand that their economic future is fully entwined with the prosperity of the wider community, including the quality of the natural assets that surround them. But increasingly, businesses and government are recognising that quality open space has benefits beyond the obvious social and environmental impacts.



It’s the commercial factors which are rapidly climbing up the agenda. Local economies benefit from the provision of high quality open spaces through enhanced inward investment and increased property values. This, in turn, creates greater commercial benefits. Meanwhile poor quality open space, dereliction and abandonment bring negative economic effects: putting off investment, reducing trade and footfall, and attracting anti-social behaviour.



The agendas of Government, business and local communities are quickly and inexorably coming together to form a common view of the overlapping social, economic and environmental benefits of well-managed public open space. As both private and public organisations concentrate on their core businesses, the management of open space could be marginalised, and blight and dereliction could affect communities and landscapes across the country.



The Land Trust is leading the charge for cost effective solutions to deliver high quality and sustainably maintained open space which preserves the character, value and benefits of our open spaces.


http://www.thelandtrust.org.uk/business/businesschapter.asp?page=About_the_Land_Trust
jimtitt - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News:
>"one of Britain's premier crags"

?
birdie num num - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to toad:
Sounds like a zipwire or two to me.
Chris the Tall - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to toad:
The PDNPA, which has extensive experience of managing the uplands, has to relinquish that responsibility due to the fact it is receiving less money from the government.

The land trust, which is also wholly dependent upon the government for its money, and which has no experience in upland management, want to take over.

Can anyone else see the rather huge flaw here
Tom Last - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to jimtitt:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> >"one of Britain's premier crags"
>
> ?

Easily.
Simon - on 17 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News:

Good article by Ed. If people don't know, Ed Douglas is a BMC vice president, and has recently been closely working with the Peak area access reps.

While I don't wish to respond to anyone in particular on this thread, the sarcastic asking of the Roaches as a "Premier Crag?" does make one question why the hell the BMC volunteers work for so hard to allow access to these Internationally important venues if people are so glib about it all...

But then I (don't give a carp) remember they are 0.001% of the naydoersayers and an insecure critic is always round the corner to put down the good work by others they aspire to never be...

...or a failed comedian maybe?

When Stanage comes on the market for sale (next year) I wonder if the same question will be asked if it is a UK premier crag?

...The answer from you all would indeed be important at the time when the bids go in from the interested parties.

Just how important is it that we fight for access for the Roaches and Stanage whilst they are being sold off by the Peak Park?...

It's up to you as recreational users to put your views forward!

Thanks

Simon

Jonny2vests - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to jimtitt:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> >"one of Britain's premier crags"
>
> ?

You disagree then?
jimtitt - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Simon:

Possibly I do have a good idea of the work the BMC volounteers put in, after all my brother is also a vice president of the BMC and I myself do sit on one of their commitees amongst other things.

Perhaps for a Peak fan the Roaches is a premier crag but it´s attractions have never been enough to tempt me to visit more than once rather than go somewhere like Gogarth, perhaps your list of premier crags is longer than mine!
Adam Long - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to jimtitt:

Really useful contribution that Jim, thanks.
Freckles - on 18 Nov 2011
I work for the Land Trust, I can assure you they are not wholly funded by the government, they are an independent charitable trust! So they don't have to change their view, or sell their land, every time there is a change of government regime.

Did any of you go to the consultation the Land Trust held in Leek?
toad - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Freckles: Could you answer some of the concerns about public accountability (and upland management experience, come to that). I've no doubt you could handle public amenity land very well - English partnerships handled lots of pit tip restorations, but your language on the website and choice of trustees, and their backgrounds, does not suggest ability or experience at this level.

PS how does one become involved with the land trust at this level, rather than as a volunteer undertaking practical landscaping tasks? Maybe a friends of the park/ BMC/ ramblers rep would be a good start.
Freckles - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to toad: In terms of public accountability, if the Land Trust were to secure the contract we would be accountable to the county council as much as the other two interested parties. I understand your concerns that if we were government funded there would be a conflict of interest but this simply isn’t the case.

Yes, you are right to notice that some of our sites are old colliery sites, but we also own and manage ecology parks, community woodlands and award winning wetlands and stretches of Cumbria’s coastline. Although these sites all differ wildly in their specifications and needs, they are all managed with the same ultimate aim: that they are cared for forever. This will be the case with the Roaches too. Where appropriate, we will get organisations like the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to manage sites on our behalf – giving the benefit of local knowledge, skills and experience supported by the security of a national organisation.

As for the Trustees they aren’t just development or remediation experts, there is a great breadth and depth of knowledge including some very passionate conservation and environment professionals.

When we take on a new site, we always, always set up a friends of the park group and prior to ANY changes or management plan implementation we contact as many stakeholders as possible to seek views and opinions on how the site should be managed, maintained and evolve. Everything we do is in recognition of ‘local ownership’ without the legal or financial liabilities so that the public at large can enjoy such spaces safe in the knowledge that they will be there forever.

Regardless of the outcome next Friday, if you or anyone concerned with the management of our open spaces wanted to meet up and have a frank and open chat I’m sure the Trust would be happy to arrange something. We may even stretch to a cheeky pint!
Dave Garnett - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to Freckles:

Thanks for your contribution. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the consultation in Leek.

Despite my membership of the SWT I don't have a strong preference for any of the bidders here. SWT could be accused of having a rather inflexible view of moorland management when it comes to what they regard as inappropriate trees, so I have some concerns about what they might want to do with the splendid but rather mature larches at the Roaches. Certainly SWT ruffled some feathers locally with their management of Blackbrook (Gib Tor).

My view is that new trees need to be planted and protected in order to preserve the woodland, but I wonder whether that would be part of SWT's plan.
pec on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to jimtitt:

> Perhaps for a Peak fan the Roaches is a premier crag but it´s attractions have never been enough to tempt me to visit more than once rather than go somewhere like Gogarth, perhaps your list of premier crags is longer than mine! >

I think you're confusing "premier crags" with "crags you like".

I too would probably rather climb at Gogarth than The Roaches given a free choice but actually climb at The Roaches much more often because for me, and thousands of other climbers, its much easier to get to.
Then there's the thousands of climbers who'd actually prefer to climb on grit than sea cliffs etc etc.

Its indisputably one of the best gritstone crags in the Peak and the Peak is indipustably one of the most popular (and therefore important) climbing areas of the UK, hence The Roaches fits the description of premier crag quite well.

Jonny2vests - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to pec:

Agree.
jonnie3430 - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to pec:

Talking about premier crags being the most popular ones includes Harrisons Rocks and climbing walls around the country.

Would the Roaches get in a top 30 of British crags?
jonnie3430 - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to jonnie3430:

And I back the National Trust as a member.
Double Knee Bar - on 18 Nov 2011
In reply to jonnie3430: In my list it would yes. I know I may be biased as a local but there are some truly historic routes there and the quality of rock is second to none. I don't see how anyone can question the premier rating of the crag.
More than anything rom a selfish perspective, I just hope to gods sake that they don't start charging for parking, I'm struggling as it is to get up there a few times a week financially, never mind with some other fecker dipping in my pocket.
gsum - on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to birdie num num:
Where's Dougie when he's most needed?
pec on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to jonnie3430:
> (In reply to pec)
> Talking about premier crags being the most popular ones includes Harrisons Rocks and climbing walls around the country.>
>


Premier isn't just about popularity. Harrisons has little competition and is near near London, hence its popular. The Roaches has a lot of competion from dozens of nearby, equally accessible crags and yet is still more popular than most of them.
Climbing walls aren't crags so that's irrelevant

> Would the Roaches get in a top 30 of British crags? >

It would probably get into many people's top 30, Harrisons wouldn't but its very subjective.

Simon - on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to jimtitt:
> (In reply to Simon)
>
> Possibly I do have a good idea of the work the BMC volounteers put in,



I never questioned that you didn't




>>after all my brother is also a vice president of the BMC and I myself do sit on one of their commitees amongst other things.
>


I know, that's why I would have thought you might be more supportive.

If you like Gogarth, fine. But there are many who like the Roaches and are wanting the best for the estate, surely as the brother of a BMC VP and committee sitter you can understand this?

To question if the Roaches is a Premier site, with your obvious access understanding, is a little folly?

I wonder Jim, what your response would be if there was an asset review of Holyhead Sea cliffs?

Please be supportive of the Peak Access team is all I ask - they don't have Gogarth - just some of the countries premier crags...

Alan Busby on 19 Nov 2011 - host86-131-27-43.range86-131.btcentralplus.com
In reply to UKC News:
The Roaches isn't just about climbing. There are more people who visit the area for walking than climbing. The area is popular with day visitors from Stoke on Trent, Macclesfield, Stockport areas etc. As far as climbing goes, it is a good local area for North Staffordshire schools, youth organisations and universities. For many people these crags offer a lot of good beginers routes. Speaking personally, this is where my school used to bring pupils on a Friday for climbing, where all the local Cadets I was involved with came and where I came after work with friends. Easily accessable crags with good beginers routes are invaluable.
jimtitt - on 19 Nov 2011
In reply to Simon:

Strikes me there is a humour gap somewhere north of Watford!
Rhythm24 - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to jimtitt: There's always one in't the!
If your contributions were omitted from this thread it would be a lot more constructive and a lot less frustrating to read, if you do feel the need to include 'humour' maybe make sure its funny? then you won't have to explain it later, which just makes it even less 'humorous'. And with an online name like jimtitt I wouldn't try and make one of myself too often.

If you dont understand, as the other people here who have explained well do, the meaning of premier, google it! The Roches fits the definition perfectly and is large, popular, clean, varied, has a lot of history, its own guide book bla bla bla bla..........I like it there an am interested in what is happenig to it in the future, hence reading this thread, but folks like you sir make me not want to be interested or forward my opinion in the matter.

Sorry I'll shut up now.
Mike_Gannon - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News: Tell you what, if they stick one or two toilets, flushing or long drop type then I'll happily pay a quid or two for parking at the Roaches. The place smells like the back alley of a night club if there's no wind on a sunny day.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Simon - on 20 Nov 2011
In reply to jimtitt:
> (In reply to Simon)
>
> Strikes me there is a humour gap somewhere north of Watford!



No, just concerned, passionate locals who are interested about the crags they want to climb and walk...

Climb it, walk it, protect it is the BMC's mantra for crags. Please don't be so glib about an area that is held so dear by so many that is up for an asset review we know little about...

Despite having a brother who is part of the BMC - I think you have failed to grasp the ideology here Jim.

Enjoy Gogarth - we will try and keep access for the Staffy's

Simon
toad - on 21 Nov 2011
In reply to Freckles:
> (In reply to toad) In terms of public accountability, if the Land Trust were to secure the contract we would be accountable to the county council as much as the other two interested parties. I understand your concerns that if we were government funded there would be a conflict of interest but this simply isn’t the case.
>
> Yes, you are right to notice that some of our sites are old colliery sites, but we also own and manage ecology parks, community woodlands and award winning wetlands and stretches of Cumbria’s coastline. Although these sites all differ wildly in their specifications and needs, they are all managed with the same ultimate aim: that they are cared for forever. This will be the case with the Roaches too. Where appropriate, we will get organisations like the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to manage sites on our behalf – giving the benefit of local knowledge, skills and experience supported by the security of a national organisation.
>
> As for the Trustees they aren’t just development or remediation experts, there is a great breadth and depth of knowledge including some very passionate conservation and environment professionals.
>
> When we take on a new site, we always, always set up a friends of the park group and prior to ANY changes or management plan implementation we contact as many stakeholders as possible to seek views and opinions on how the site should be managed, maintained and evolve. Everything we do is in recognition of ‘local ownership’ without the legal or financial liabilities so that the public at large can enjoy such spaces safe in the knowledge that they will be there forever.
>
> Regardless of the outcome next Friday, if you or anyone concerned with the management of our open spaces wanted to meet up and have a frank and open chat I’m sure the Trust would be happy to arrange something. We may even stretch to a cheeky pint!

I'm sorry, I've been over your site with a fine toothcomb. All I can see is that you manage a variety of post industrial sites (Including the award winning wetland!). The Roaches is a fundementally different site, with a fundementally different outlook on management required.

As an example, I think you misinterpreted my "frends of" comment. I'm not talking about a "friends of xxx" volunteer group, overseen and directed by you, I referred to the Friends of the Peak District - ie an example of an external and independant charity whose opinions you should seek, ideally through committee positions in your organisation.

On a wider, and more worrying note, I can still see no way for users to have any sort of influence or role within this organisation, beyond unempowered practical volunteer roles - Any organisation managing such an important site MUST be publically accountable - I can't see anything on your website like Articles of Association, for example.

As it is, It looks from your public information as though you exist purely to implement section 21 agreements, provide a site management service to public bodies, and undertake similar service agreements. I'd point out that the Staffs Wildlife Trust have rather more in the way of security and support of a "national organisation" than the Land Trust do - the Wildlife Trusts national holding dwarfs yours, and they have been in existance for rather longer. And, of course, the NT are in a different league of experience and ability again.

I'm sorry, but my comments about being worried about the Land Trust still holds, and your reply does nothing to reassure me. Put simply. How can individuals hold the Land Trust to account? We can't vote, we can't join.

Adam Long - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News:


PDNPA meeting starts at 10am today. Word is the Authority will be recommending the SWT bid to the committee, however it will be up to the committee members themselves to make the decision.

More info here:

http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/index/committee-meeting-papers?com=audit111125

Item 7.

Unfortunately the part A paper which you can download is a tad light. The juicy bits such as finance and the NPA's opinions have clearly been held back for the part B paper which is confidential.

I haven't seen the part B paper, but apparently the NPA's opinion went for the SWT versus the NT application due to an over-professional/ business like approach from the NT, and the fact they are a national organisation with many other properties. They all sound like advantages to me, but there you go.
toad - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to UKC News: I think for climbers, the NT would have been the safest option - "business as usual", but the WTs have really stepped up their game in the last few years in terms of innovative approaches to managing big areas.

And of course they are a membership organisation, with a lot of opportunity for members to get involved at all levels of their operation. If you join the SWT, you can have a say in what they're doing, unlike the Land Trust (not quite given up gnawing that bone just yet ;) ). NT are are also more easily accountable, but the sheer size and national nature makes that process a little more remote (look at the ongoing hunting rumblings at every AGM, for example).
Dave Garnett - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to toad:

I was thinking of letting my SWT membership lapse, but maybe not if they get the Roaches.
Simon Caldwell - on 25 Nov 2011
Adam Long - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to toad:
> NT are are also more easily accountable, but the sheer size and national nature makes that process a little more remote (look at the ongoing hunting rumblings at every AGM, for example).

Our experience in the Peak has been that NT are much more pro-active than the WTs in terms of stakeholder engagement, giving climbers lots of opportunity for input and feedback.

The meeting was a tad disappointing though, and not because the decision went against the BMC preference. The way in which the future of such a well-loved piece of publically owned land was decided - behind closed doors, by an unelected body, guided by a confidential document - left a bitter taste. All hidden due to the weak excuse of 'information relating to financial or business affairs'. Much of what was discussed did not fall under those headings and should have been made public. In fact a better approach might have been to ask the three bidders if they needed any 'financial affairs' keeping private, as I'm sure the answer would have been no.

Best of luck to Staffs Wildlife Trust, the estate has the potential to give them a great deal and I hope they can repay the favour.
toad - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Long:
> (In reply to toad)
> [...]
>

> The meeting was a tad disappointing though, and not because the decision went against the BMC preference. The way in which the future of such a well-loved piece of publically owned land was decided - behind closed doors, by an unelected body, guided by a confidential document - left a bitter taste. All hidden due to the weak excuse of 'information relating to financial or business affairs'. Much of what was discussed did not fall under those headings and should have been made public. In fact a better approach might have been to ask the three bidders if they needed any 'financial affairs' keeping private, as I'm sure the answer would have been no.

Isn't that always the way? The bureaucratic instinct is always for secrecy, often wholly unneccesary. Having said that, I'm not sure if the bidders would have been as happy as you think to have the financial details in the open.

I understand the BMC preference - it would have been a safe bet and a known quantity, and I happily acknowledge a WT bias on my part, but I think they'll do ok, particularly with a knowledgable and vociferous user group to keep some of their restrictive instincts in check
>
> Best of luck to Staffs Wildlife Trust, the estate has the potential to give them a great deal and I hope they can repay the favour.

Yep. I'd guess this will be a very big deal for Staffs Trust, and I'm sure they'll be keen to step up and be seen to be doing right by everyone.

And I'm very relieved the Land Trust are out of the picture.
Tyler - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Long:

Do the SWT have a position with regard to climbers and climbing at the Roaches? Has it been made public, i.e. was it something they were asked to cover in their submission? Is there any reason to fear that climbing will be more restricted at the Roaches in future? Do they own any manage any other sites that are of interest to climbers?
Adam Long - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to toad:

> And I'm very relieved the Land Trust are out of the picture.

Not so fast I'm afraid. They are VERY interested in Stanage.

Agree with you on the WT, I think they have the potential to do well. However it will require a very different style of management to most of their reserves.

A big plus for the NT on this was their willingness to involve us in their bid from the start. Hopefully the WTs will move this way in the future.

Adam Long - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Tyler:
> (In reply to Adam Long)
>
> Do the SWT have a position with regard to climbers and climbing at the Roaches? Has it been made public, i.e. was it something they were asked to cover in their submission?

It would presumably be covered in their submission, but these are not made public.

>Is there any reason to fear that climbing will be more restricted at the Roaches in future?

I don't think so - most is CRoW land. The DWT are quite restrictive on access down Chee Dale, but that is a different environment and a different trust.

>Do they own any manage any other sites that are of interest to climbers?

Until today their largest reserve was Black Brook which includes Gib Tor and Baldstones. Access to the crags is not restricted but they ask you not to walk between them.


toad - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to Adam Long:
> (In reply to toad)
>
> [...]
>
> Not so fast I'm afraid. They are VERY interested in Stanage.
>
>Oh.
Simon - on 25 Nov 2011
In reply to toad:
> (In reply to Adam Long)
> [...]
> >Oh.



This was communicated at the Peak Area meeting on Wednesday.

There maybe a bid from the Land Trust for North Lee's Estate when they are asked for.

I'm yet to meet a member of this Trust and would encourage dialogue as per a post you received on here recently.

The more open dialogue and communication the BMC can have the better really...

Cheers

Simon



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