Battle commences to open vital footpath link over viaduct from Read to Ribble Valley

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A VALUABLE link between footpaths in Read and the Ribble Valley could be reopened if enough evidence can be gained from local users.

Lancashire County Council is requesting evidence showing support for the 800m link to be reopened between Dunkirk Farm Lane and the Martholme viaduct, which prior to its closure was used by residents for more than 30 years.

Following the closure of the Padiham to Great Harwood railway in the 1960s, this length of path provided a vital link from footpaths on the north of the River Calder from Padiham and Simonstone, to paths on the Hyndburn side leading to Great Harwood and the Ribble Valley via Whalley Nab.

However, during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2000, access to the old railway was blocked and Lancashire County Council erected a fence at the Hyndburn end of the viaduct denying public access.

Four years later, an official application was made to Lancashire County Council to have the path included in the definitive map, but the application was refused.

The committee justified refusal on the grounds the disused railway line was to be included in the REMADE project funded by Lancashire Rural Development Agency to create a cycle way from Rosegrove to Great Harwood.

But the REMADE project will end in March, as no further funding is available.

Read Parish Council and Great Harwood Town Council have urgently requested Lancashire County Council to use powers to obtain a public footpath creation order for the Martholme link.

Supporting letters can be sent to Jo Turton, executive director for the environment, Lancashire County Council, PO Box 78, County Hall, Fishergate, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 8XJ, or to local county and district councillors.