Hampshire Countryside Access Forum is the Local Access Forum for Hampshire (excluding the New Forest), Southampton and Portsmouth, as required under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.
The main aim of the Forum is to
Provide guidance on and contribute towards improving opportunities to enjoy Hampshire’s countryside and coast.
The remit of the Forum is to
2.1 Fulfil the statutory duty to advise on the improvement of public access to land for the purposes of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of the area, as described in the Countryside and Rights Of Way Act 2000.
2.2 Contribute in an advisory capacity to the development and monitoring of the Countryside Access Plans (Rights of Way Improvement Plans) and contribute to their implementation.
2.3 Promote the appropriate use and enjoyment of the countryside by all.
2.4 Advise upon the appropriate management and maintenance of access, including the road network, balancing this with biodiversity, wildlife management and the interests of land owners and managers. This to consist largely of influencing policy and, as appropriate, national legislation.
2.5 Advise on developing additional opportunities for everyone to enjoy the rights of way and access network where needed, with particular emphasis on encouraging those who might feel excluded, for example people with disabilities.
2.6 Work to ensure that the necessary resources are available to fulfil Forum aims and to deliver real improvements.
3.1 The Forum is a joint Forum with the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton and covers the whole of the administrative area of the county and two cities, with the exception of the New Forest and South Downs areas as described below.
3.2 A Local Access Forum (‘New Forest Access Forum’) has been established by the New Forest National Park Authority and Hampshire County Council to advise on the New Forest National Park area and the remaining parts of New Forest District.
3.3 A Local Access Forum (‘South Downs Access Forum’) has been established by the South Downs National Park Authority to advise on the South Downs National Park area.
4.1 A representative of the Hampshire Forum will maintain links with neighbouring Local Access Forums, including strong links with New Forest Access Forum and South Downs Access Forum.
5.1 Forum members will, through consultation, represent an area of interest rather than the views of any specific organisation they belong to.
5.2 Meetings will be held at least quarterly and are likely to be arranged for week daytimes.
5.3 The meeting shall be deemed quorate when 50% of its members are present.
5.4 Specific issue groups will be established by the Forum, as and when required.
5.5 The Forum shall produce and distribute an annual report.
5.6 Members who have a personal interest, whether direct or indirect, in a matter to be discussed by the Forum should disclose that interest at the meeting. A personal interest is defined as one which might affect a member’s well-being, financial position or business, or that of a relative or friend, to a greater extent than that of other council tax payers, ratepayers or other inhabitants of the area. Personal interests will be recorded in the minutes but will not necessarily prohibit that member from taking part in discussion of the item.
6.1 The Chair and Vice-chair will be drawn from Forum members and elected by separate secret ballots. One post should be filled by a member with principally land-managing interests and the other with a member who has principally user interests; members of the appointing authorities are not eligible for either position. The period of appointment should be one year, finishing at the Forum AGM.
7.1 The following observers may attend and take part in discussion but cannot vote or take part in decision-making
7.2 The list may be amended by decision of the Forum, with due regard to the desirability of maintaining a balance of interests during discussion.
8.1 All meetings are open to the public.
8.2 A period of not more than 10 minutes per person and not exceeding 20 minutes in total will be available for representations from members of the public at each Forum meeting.
8.3 These representations will need to be made in writing to the officer responsible for the administration of the Local Access Forum a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the Forum meeting.
8.4 A limited period will be available, after representations have been made, to deal with any issues raised.
8.5 An annual meeting, open to members of the public, will be held to report on the activities of the Forum and to obtain feedback from the public. The public may attend any Forum meeting but may not speak other than at the annual meeting unless they have made prior representation as described above.
8.6 Agenda, minutes and reports relating to the Forum will be available to the public via the Forum website and on paper.
Appendix 1: Members’ Roles and Responsibilities and Appendix 2: Authorities’ Roles and Responsibilities follow.
9.2 In addition to this document, see the regulations governing Local Access Forums.
Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council will between them