New Lydiate Branch of Leeds Liverpool Canal takes shape.

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Work on the new Lydiate Branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal goes on apace with hope that the extension will reach Lydiate Village Green later in the year. This was the scene yesterday as contractors were hard at their task. Pilling Lane stone bridge remains closed to all traffic.

The project, which is being funded by the Merseyside Branch of the Canal Development Society, is aimed at giving boaters the opportunity to sail up the short branch so that they can obtain provisions, refreshments etc. at the shops and businesses that sit around Lydiate’s historic Village Green.

Pilling Lane Canal Bridge – The big job starts

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Following a long campaign by canal users, walkers, Lydiate Parish Council and even the odd nudge from me the Canal and River Trust has started the repair work to and around the Pilling Lane Canal Bridge in Lydiate.

The first two shots above show the road closed to vehicles but, subject to safety, the contractors are trying to keep it open for pedestrians as often as possible. Mersey Motor Boat Club is just off the pictures to the right i.e. on the Lancashire side of the works.

Lydiate Parish Cllrs. Dave Russell and Edie Pope discuss repair works with the construction manager.

Lydiate Parish Cllrs. Dave Russell and Edie Pope discuss repair works with the construction manager.

Temporary dams are being built either side of the bridge. When complete the water will be pumped out to allow further repair work.

Temporary dams are being built either side of the bridge. When complete the water will be pumped out to allow further repair work.

The works, I am told are likely to last for some months with the bridge being closed to road traffic until April. Boats are clearly unable to pass under the bridge so any on the Maghull/Liverpool side of it are stuck in it for quite a while.

Without the works the bridge would have become unsafe.

Mersey Motor Boat Club

Continuing an occasional theme of mine associated with the Leeds Liverpool Canal meet Mersey Motor Boat Club, hidden away down Pilling Lane in Lydiate.

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www.mmbc.co.uk/

The MMBC was founded at Litherland in 1932, according to their web site and is one of the oldest Inland Waterways cruising clubs in existence. The club’s objective is to encourage interest in boat building, cruising, popularise inland waterways and social contact with people interested in these and allied activities. The MMBC is affiliated to the Inland Waterways Association and the Association of Inland Waterways Cruising Clubs.

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Pilling Lane Canal Bridge, Lydiate – Action but a problem too?

At long last the Canal and River Trust is taking action over the problems associated with the stone canal bridge over Pilling Lane and the closed pedestrian steps leading up from the canal tow path to the Lane.

This is me at the bridge

This is me at the bridge

A planning application is before Sefton Council and Lydiate Parish Council made representations on that application at its meeting last night – 26th November.

I am really pleased that work is soon to start on the bridge (my present understanding is that it will be in January) but having dealt with issues associated with canal bridges in the past I do have concerns about the road closures that will be required. My worry is that alternative routes are a long way around and whilst that is understandable for vehicles, what about the poor old pedestrian? Surely, something has to be put in place to ensure that those who normally walk across the bridge still have some access?

Lydiate PC and I are presently pursuing this aspect of the project but we are aware that the first bridge closure, for detailed site investigations, will mean at least daytime blockages for both vehicles and pedestrians so we have made appropriate representations to the contractors working for the Canal and River Trust on behalf of pedestrians. Another potentially longer closure will follow when the repair works start.

Of course the bridge needs to be repaired but we don’t want folks who live on the rural western side of it to be marooned in the process.

Lollies Bridge looking towards Maghull – Leeds Liverpool Canal

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This is a shot of the Leeds Liverpool Canal through Lydiate looking towards Liverpool from what locals call Lollies Bridge on Southport Road. In the very far distance are the outer northern moorings of the Mersey Motorboat Club. You will have to click the photo to enlarge it and look carefully to see the moored boats.

There is no canal towpath access at Lollies Bridge, which I have often thought is most odd. However, there is a footpath that is accessed by the bridge on the opposite side to the towpath heading north only towards Lydiate Hill Bridge.

Lollies Bridge is the next bridge northwards from Pilling Lane where the access has been closed by the Canal & River Trust for many months now. Repairs are due to be undertaken in January so I am told. The goodish news is that at last the Trust has put up notices at Bells Lane (the access south of Pilling Lane) and just north of Lollies Bridge (where a footpath joins the canal towpath) making it clear that you can’t access Pilling Lane due to the closed steps leading up from the canal.