Popular footpath closure sparks anger

Pam Kent at the footpath she can no longer use after it was closed with her dogs, Bracken and Honey and her son Gary's dog, Pico.
Pam Kent at the footpath she can no longer use after it was closed with her dogs, Bracken and Honey and her son Gary's dog, Pico.

The closure of a footpath, which has been popular with dog walkers for generations, has sparked outrage in the community.

The path, which links Pendle Road and Worston Road in Clitheroe, has been blocked off for six months while housebuilder Taylor Wimpey starts work on a huge residential development.

Resident Pam Kent, who regularly uses the path to walk her two pet dogs along with many other dog walkers, said: "This footpath has been open and well used for decades by hundreds of people.

"No obvious notice was given about the closure and I turned up one day to find it all fenced off.

"The closure is in place for six months but work on this area of the site, which I believe is where a new school will be built, is not due to start for another two-and-a-half-years so why have the closed the footpath now?

"I hope it doesn't mean the path will be closed for all that time."

Already a controversial topic in the Ribble Valley, the project will eventually see around 1,000 homes, a school and pub built on the site, known as the Standen Estate.

Campaigners battled against it, claiming the development would destroy Clitheroe as a rural market town.

The scheme hit the headlines again in June this year, sparking a row after a proposed mini roundabout that was due to to be built this year has been put on ice for another 12 months.

Mrs Kent said the footpath meant a lot to her family and many others who have used it for years to walk their dogs.

She added: "It just seems like there are more and more restrictions on dog owners all the time.

“Ribble Valley Council are telling us to keep our dogs on leads but now Lancashire County Council are closing our footpaths.

"My husband Bob, who is now 64, used to run the footpath course when he was at Ribblesdale High School.

“Now we have to walk around to a different footpath on Pendle Road which is very narrow.

"It's also very dangerous because you have to walk beside traffic travelling at speeds of 40 mph."

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "The path is being closed so that a housing developer can build new homes close by.

"People's safety is our main concern and we cannot keep the path open, as the building work and equipment would cause a danger to people using it.

"The path closed on Thursday, September 14th. for up to six months, depending on how long it takes the developer to complete the work."

Work on the site is underway to connect gas, electricity and water services and make a sewer connection.

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said:“Following the start of building works in the area we’ve agreed with the council to close the footpath between Pendle Road and Worston Road for the next six months as the health and safety of locals remains our highest priority.

“We welcome feedback from anyone affected by the construction of the development and look forward to becoming a part of the Clitheroe community throughout the duration of the build.”