Lydiate – The state of our LLC towpath

Towpath north of Jackson’s Bridge

The towpath of the Leeds Liverpool canal through Lydiate leaves a lot to be desired; a subject I’ve blogged about before I might add. Here’s a couple of links back to previous postings in October 2015 and June 2019 :-

October 2015 – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/10/22/lydiate-leeds-liverpool-canal-bank-collapse/

June 2019 – tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/07/29/lydiate-improvemnets-to-tow-path-flow-from-controversial-house-building-site/

The worst section of towpath is probably that which is north of Lollies Bridge (Southport Road Bridge) up to and past Lydiate Hill Bridge (also known as Billy’s Bridge) where the land and fields adjacent to it is higher. This causes water run-off onto the towpath with muddy almost impassable conditions at times especially after heavy periods of rain.

Lollies Bridge

View from Billy’s Bridge looking back towards Lollies Bridge.

Canal bank collapse just south of Lydiate Hill Bridge – Photo 2015

Ok, now to try to put all this in context of what Lydiate Parish Council is trying to do in 2021. If you’ve read the links above you’ll know that some planning gain money (otherwise known as Section 106 money) from the housing development at the end of Maghull’s Turnbridge Road (the new estate is known as Rosehill Gardens) has been allocated to the Canal & River Trust to upgrade the towpath along the section of it which is adjacent to the new housing i.e. the Green Lane Maghull to Bells Lane Lydiate section. The money amounts to £67,000 I understand. These works are yet to be undertaken I might add.

The recent intervention by Lydiate Parish Council has been along the lines of saying to the C&RT that whilst money to upgrade the towpath is obviously welcome there are actually worse parts, far worse parts, of the towpath through Lydiate which could do with attention and can we discuss how this can be achieved either using the S106 money or other funding sources. The response of the C&RT has been that the S106 money can only be spent on the defined section of canal towpath as detailed in the planning permission.

The Trust do however acknowledge though that the towpath elsewhere through Lydiate Parish Council’s area is in poor condition and that it can become impassable during inclement weather. They also say they’d be happy to work with the Parish Council to help identify improvements and priorities for the canal in such locations.

As readers may know the C&RT is a charity (similar to the National Trust – I’m a member of both I might add) and it is reliant on securing funding via developments (such as Rosehill Gardens) to try to improve the condition of the towpath surface or through bidding for funding via local and national schemes and initiatives. They seem to be happy to work with LPC to try to improve the canal towpath but clearly this means significant extra resources will need to be identified. At a very rough back of a fag packet type guess I’m thinking that to do up the whole of the towpath through Lydiate Parish could involve say £250,000+ and presently there’s just £67,000 in the pot for one already defined section of it, which is partly in Maghull.

There’s some good news however as the canal bank collapse (pictured above in 2015) is, we are told by the Trust, scheduled to be repaired in the next financial year – 2021/2022 assuming scarce maintenance resources do not have to be redirected to more urgent works.

The Parish Council is going to discuss the matter again at its February Zoom meeting to see if ways forward can be identified with regard to the bad sections of towpath.

I’ll update further as things hopefully develop…….

And a look back to the days when pedestrians and cyclists were unwelcome on our canal towpath – notice as seen at the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port

Lydiate – Accessing (or not) the Leeds Liverpool Canal from Southport Rd/Lollies Bridge

Steps could be erected here but cost and land ownership issues will be factors.

It was recently suggested to me that there should be pedestrian access/steps down from Lollies Bridge on Southport Road to the Leeds Liverpool Canal tow path.

Presently the only access to the canal is on the opposite side to the tow path along a footpath that enables you to join the tow path at Lydiate Hill bridge (otherwise known as Billy’s Bridge), the next bridge north of Lollies Bridge.

The photo above is taken from the footpath which runs along the opposite bank to the tow path looking south towards Lollies Bridge and Southport Road. The problem being that to walk northwards along the canal is quite easy as you join the tow path at Lydiate Hill Bridge. However, if you want to walk southwards (towards Maghull) along the canal from Lollies Bridge you first have to walk north, along the parallel footpath, to Lydiate Hill Bridge then back again along the tow path. The only alternative is to join the tow path at Pilling Lane bridge which is the next bridge/access south of Lollies Bridge.

I raised this issue not so long ago at a Sefton Rights of Way Liaison Group meeting and was advised to contact a specific Sefton Council officer who holds regular meetings with the Canal & River Trust. This I have done with the help of the Clerk to Lydiate Parish Council. What will happen from here is presently unknown. Whether it is possible to build steps at Lollies Bridge I do not know. Clearly, land ownership and the cost of such works will be significant factors but the pebble has been thrown into the Canal & River Trust’s pond (or is that canal?) and we will see if progress is possible in due course.

Lydiate – Leeds Liverpool canal bank collapse

I posted about the collapse of part of the bank between Lollies Bridge and Lydiate Hill Bridge (otherwise known as Billy’s Bridge) back in June:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/06/20/lydiate-damaged-canal-banking-an-update/

This is how the scene looks now:-

IMG_6356r

Seems that the Canal & River Trust still can’t afford to do the repair work so have erected a substantial wooden fence around the collapsed banking. Lydiate residents will recall that a similar situation occurred back a while ago when significant repairs were required around the Pilling Lane stone bridge. There it was many months before they could find the money to do the work.

The bottom line here is that the Trust’s bottom line is no money. They operate in a similar way to the National Trust but don’t have anything like the same resources.