Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Footpath 181

The Council recently informed Chorlton residents that they are planning to reopen Footpath 181 which runs from Claude Road (at the side of Meade Manor), behind South Drive and alongside Chorlton Brook onto Oakhouse Drive. This historic path has not been in use for many decades, however following pressure from the Ramblers Association, Manchester City Council have made it a top priority to reopen the route. I am deeply concerned by this action and am encouraging the Council to consider more options. I'm opposed to the path reopening because:

· It would be a disgraceful waste of public money. The Council estimates reopening the path would cost £40,000 to £50,000 (and potentially even more).
· I'm concerned that a reopened path could result in more criminal activity particularly burglaries, vandalism, anti social behaviour and gangs loitering.
· The pathway has been closed for more than 20 years. Even the Ramblers say the path has been obstructed for 65 years!
· Many people have told me they don’t want to see the path reopened.

I would like to gauge local opinion on this plan, so please get in touch to let me know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. I am a resident of Anchorside Close and a director of the management company that looks after our estate. Footpath 181 runs through our land and many of us are very much looking to being able to gain quicker and easier access to the Water Parks, Beech Road and Chorlton Green.

    Residents have long aspired to create a path like this and fully support the Ramblers. The management company has produced a number of briefings on the issue and not a single resident has objected to our supporting the re-opening of the footpath.

    Your piece is misleading in that it implies the council is in favour of re-opening the path. Sadly, this is not the case. But the council does have an obligation (enforceable through the courts) to keep open and to maintain public rights of way.

    The Ramblers first served legal notice on the council, under the Highways Act, in 2009. The council agreed to open the path and the Ramblers allowed this notice to lapse. But nothing happened.

    The Ramblers served notice again in 2010 and the council produced an action plan to re-open the path by June 2012. Again the Ramblers allowed the notice to lapse. But the council ignored the actions in its plan.

    Now, just this week, the Ramblers have served notice for a third time and indicated that they will not allow this notice to lapse.

    This means the council is liable to be ordered to re-open the path by the court (and face a legal bill for this action).

    The estimated cost of re-opening the path (which you rely on here) is apparently contained in a council report that has been marked as a draft and released only to opponents of the path. Council officers have refused to circulate this report more widely on the grounds that it is misleading.

    There is an unopposed proposal to re-route out of the gardens to 103-107 Cundiff Road, which would eliminate the cost of removing obstructions 1-6 and A-B on your list.

    The costs may be for a gold-plated footpath?

    (Thank you for taking a far more open and relaxed position to that of your Lib Dem colleagues in Chorlton Park ward. They have argued that the council should simply ignore its statutory obligations and refuse to open the path. This would, of course, be unlawful and expose the council to legal peril and significant legal costs.)