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Becoming a member

Would you like to become a LAF member? We are always keen to appoint new members so why not get involved and help shape improvements to public rights of way and access to the countryside. Interests that it is hoped to have represented by the Forum include:

  • walking, cycling, horse riding and recreational motor vehicle use
  • landownership and land management
  • accessibility
  • tourism
  • access provision
  • relevant professions

To apply to become a member, either contact the Forum secretary or complete the membership application form.

Current membership

Sheila Cooper (Chair) has been a member of the Local Access Forum for Solihull Warwick and Coventry since its inception. She keeps rare Castlemilk Moorit Sheep on her small holding in Berkswell Solihull and is a life member of the Castlemilk Moorit Sheep Society. Sheila campaigns on behalf of affected resident rights on all things High Speed Rail 2 commenting on Schedule 17 and other planning applications and deputising at the SMBC HS2 Advisory Implementation Group Meetings in Solihull on a regular basis. She is a member of CPRE Warwickshire, the Countryside Charity and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Sheila takes a keen interest in all local planning issues and particularly those that affect the irreplaceable rural environment, ecology, ecosystems and, therefore, biodiversity. She believes that conservation and preservation of the countryside, and particularly the green belt, is vital to ensure it is protected for our future generations. Sheila is deeply concerned about the accelerating climate emergency and urges all planning authorities to ensure that every approved application has net zero carbon embedded within the conditions for approval. It is no longer enough to talk the talk we all need to urgently walk the walk. Much of the above negatively impacts historically important Public Rights of Way as does the failure of Government, both National and Local, to provide adequate funding for their maintenance. PRoWs when appropriately maintained offer a valuable and irreplaceable network of paths, bridleways and green lanes which provide important, free at the point of use, recreation for all.

John Hall (Vice Chair) is a retired public rights of way officer having worked for Warwickshire CC, Birmingham  Council and Coventry City Council. He also worked for the Ramblers’ and the British Horse Society at their national headquarters dealing with regional and national matters respectively. He is a member of the Institute of Public Rights of Way Officers and is a founder member of this Local Access Forum.  He was also a founder member of the Ramblers’ Coventry Group and was their Group Footpath Secretary for 17 years.  His total experience to date is 34 years split between voluntary and professional work.  He is currently the Open Spaces Society’s Local Correspondent for the City of Coventry and was elected as a Trustee of that body in 2017.  He now deals with public rights of way, commons and town and village green matters. Johns’ interests include the balance of rights and responsibilities for all the above, between owners of land, local authorities and the public.

Claire Sangster is a business consultant. She has been a parish councillor and has been involved in the Parish Paths Partnership Scheme. She is a school governor and is currently Chair of the Warwickshire Governors Association.

Mike Murray is a Chartered Town Planner with over 35 years’ experience in countryside management and environment planning.  While working for Coventry City Council, he managed Coventry’s Countryside Project (Green Belt Management Service) for over 25 years and is one of the founding members of the joint Local Access Forum. Mike is involved in numerous environmental working groups, including Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and is also a long-term Volunteer Planning Consultant with the National Trust.

Vaughan Owen has been chair of Warwickshire & West Midlands Association of Local Councils which represents the views of local Town and Parishes. He has experience as a member of the West Midlands Regional Association of Local Councils, a member of the board of Warwickshire Rural Community Council.  He was also a Parish Councillor and is actively involved in rights of way preservation and retention of hedgerows in the local countryside. He also represented his Parish Council when interacting with HS2 Ltd. He continues to take an active interest in all matters associated with the Local Access Forum.

Joe Carroll gained a National Certificate in Agriculture at Warwickshire College of Agriculture and has experience in milk production, beef, sheep and mixed arable farming, together with Agricultural Mechanisation. He is a freelance Access Consultant acting for various organisations and public bodies. Joe is an Inclusive Design Assessor for the Civic Trust and a keen conservationist, being interested in Ornithology particularly and natural history in general. He is a member of the SIA and the Centre for Accessible Environments and is keen to help to promote good access to the countryside for all.

Robin Hickin is the current secretary and National Rights of Way officer for the Trail Riders Fellowship and is a previous Director of Saltisford Canal Trust and Trading. His interests include Leisure Trail Riding and Rights of Way Improvement.

Gina Rowe is the Landscape Recovery Development Manager at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. She has worked at the trust for over 17 years, developing partnership working, major funding and strategic approach to landscape-scale work for the benefit of biodiversity and engaging people. She has been involved in practical wildlife conservation with volunteers for many years at BTCV from 1985, from delivery of projects on the ground including access construction work, through to managing teams of staff and volunteers and to undertaking regional development work. She has established and continues to support landscape scale partnerships across the sub region, including Tame Valley Wetlands, Dunsmore Living Landscape, Warwickshire Avon Catchment Partnership, and Tame Anker Mease Catchment Partnership. Tame Valley Wetlands Partnership has enhanced and promoted a number of routes around North Warwickshire. She is chair of the Local Biodiversity Action Partnership and of the Local Wildlife Sites Panel.

Sarah-Jane Cash

Andy Wright

Craig Williams

Byron Melia

Diane Smith

Kenneth Thomas

Michael Patrick

Roger Waring

Michael Orlik

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