Sustrans has big cycle route projects on the go but will the Trans Pennine Trail through West Lancs get an urgently needed upgrade?

This was the state of the Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail through Great Altcar Civil Parish in the winter of 2017 – it’s not got any better.

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has the article on its website, see link below :-

ciltuk.org.uk/News/Latest-News/ArtMID/6887/ArticleID/20306/New-projects-to-improve-access-and-safety-on-National-Cycle-Network-underway?gator_td=107QxtmDbxphgZPEl3MiUiwBbsbInstb%2bwwl6QjANKIN%2bkGPiAQn1eF%2boToMyy2jMURXokt1%2fFuRUftQqh%2f8WYuH0yKeXpWBUp3XSTR8rGwTqLJ6ORGTSNsCUnNgoqARgCXHl0wc974RlfQHmXxFDIq9werhM6BVGCiKVL4WU1%2fy656KO1e9jqVnprtBewe5

Quoite from the article linked above – ‘At least 55 new projects will be delivered over the next five years across the UK to kick-start the major overhaul of the National Cycle Network to transform it into paths for everyone. The projects are a result of the first ever review and an independent audit of the 16,575-mile Network, published in November 2018.

The “Paths for Everyone” report classified 54% of the Network as “good” or “very good” and unveiled a long-term plan to make it traffic-free and tackle physical problems. These include poor surfaces and barriers that prevent access for many people, particularly those with adaptive bikes, wheelchairs or prams.

Among the key measures to improve the Network are 55 “activation projects” which we aim to deliver in partnership with local authorities and other landowners across the UK. These range from improving signage, to removing unnecessary barriers and creating new traffic-free sections. The projects are to be finalised by 2023, at a cost of approximately £60 million.’

With thanks to Mike Perkins for the lead to this posting

Cycle Routes – They are generally poor

The BBC has the article on its website – see link below

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46179270

As a cyclist, I find this article interesting and to the point. I’ve commented before along the similar lines by highlighting local cycle route inadequacies which I have encountered.

Often segregated cycle routes do not have logical ends and are in effect bits and pieces between destinations. The route from Switch Island to Ormskirk along the busy A59 is an example. From Switch Island to the Maghull boundary there’s a brand new cycle path but it stops well short of Liverpool Road South. Yes, I know that Sefton Council intends to address this but really it should have been done in tandem with Highways England doing the first stretch.

But then moving north through Maghull & Lydiate a safe cycle route has yet to be sorted out. It’s either the busy dual carriageway or pavement for cyclists.

A59 Cycle path becomes narrow pavement at Robins Island.

Then at Robins Island, a cycle path appears again, on both sides of the A59. Generally, it is in good condition but parts of it are not – patches of grass, poorly completed surface repairs & tree roots make the later stages of these cycle lanes poor. But then as you climb into Aughton the cycle route peters out altogether just like through Maghull & Lydiate. This makes the last mile or so into Ormskirk a cycling challenge.

This was the state of the Cheshire Lines Path through Great Altcar Civil Parish in the winter of 2017 – it’s not got any better.

I could illustrate other problem routes where cycling facilities in Sefton and West Lancashire are inadequate but will settle for just one. The Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail. This former railway track is in very poor condition through West Lancs because since it was created there has not been the regular maintenance that is clearly required. Some of the route is now really only suitable for mountain bikes and a once wide path where cyclists could pass each other is presently very narrow in places.

There is much to do to make our cycling routes safe, logical and well maintained.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Maghull – For all you volunteer litter pickers out there – Sunday 6th May

Meadow Community Wildflower Garden behind Sefton Drive on the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull.

merseysidenorth.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/sunday-morning-spring-clean-litter-pick.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+MerseysideNorthVolunteers+(Merseyside+North+Volunteers)

At Meadow Community Wildflower Garden – Just behind Maghull’s Sefton Drive – See link above for details

Volunteer litter picking seems to have become a big hit in Maghull and Lydiate in recent times

Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine Trail – Surface condition though West Lancs Borough

A few weeks ago I blogged about the poor condition of this footpath/cycle path through West Lancashire and as a consequence of my finding it in such a poor state I have been lobbying various bodies with responsibility for it or connections with it. My previous post is accessible via the link below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2018/01/30/cheshire-line-path-trans-pennine-trail-through-west-lancashire/

I have exchanged e-mails with a local volunteer who works with the environmental charity Sustrans and also the Trans Pennine Trail Office in Barnsley. All indications so far seem to point towards West Lancashire Borough Council being the lead organisation that needs to find some grant funding to address the matter.

This is what the Trans Pennine Trail folk said to me:-

West Lancashire have flagged up the urgently needed work on their section of the Trail for some time now but unfortunately have been unsuccessful in securing funding. Earlier this year we helped our colleagues in West Lancs to try and secure some funding via their Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) but despite many of our supporters voting for this project we were unsuccessful which is a great shame for all concerned. The level of funding needed is far beyond our partners budget allocation but this doesn’t infer that they aren’t committed to the works, this is purely down to a lack of funding available.

Sustrans and the Friends of the Trans Pennine Trial are both registered charities which can be used to channel funding should there be a suitable ‘pot’ available.

My guess is that little is going to happen in the short term unfortunately.

Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine trail through West Lancashire

It’s many years now since the Cheshire Lines Path was created on the trackbed of the old Cheshire Lines and Southport Extension Railway and of course it subsequently became a part of the Trans Pennine Trail.

Sadly the part of the Path/Trail through the Great Altcar part of West Lancashire has not been maintained and the surface is now rough and narrow considering that it is for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The photo above illustrates one particular part of the path where agricultural vehicles regularly cross over it – this particular site is the extension to Cabin Lane off Altcar Lane in Great Altcar. After the recent heavy rain it’s a horrible muddy mess for walkers and cyclists.

Yes I know austerity will have played into the lack of maintenance but in reality the decline in the surface well predates the financial crash. In terms of cycle riding areas of the path are now only really suitable for mountain bikes in my view. I fear that if something is not done reasonably soon this long distance path is going to be compromised such that folks will stop using it especially in the winter months.

I have made my views known to those who have responsibility for the path in the hopes of some plan to redress the decline.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

My thanks to Champion Newspapers for publishing an article based on this blog posting on 7th February

Maghull – Volunteers requested to assist Sustrans on Cheshire Lines Path/Trans Pennine trail at Meadow Site behind Sefton Drive

Time for a sit down. Theses seats were put in in the past few weeks, by volunteers, on the Meadow Site behind Sefton Drive on the Cheshire Lines Path in Maghull.

Call for assistance from volunteer group:-

On Sunday the 14th May 2017 Staff and volunteers of Sustrans and the Trans Pennine Trail will be attending the Meadow site in Maghull.

There are various activities taking place through the day and you are invited to come along to the project site. We have been awarded funding to transform this area of land from a misused, overgrown stretch of path into an area that will be of benefit to the community, path users and also the wildlife of the area. Over the past year, we have cleared a large majority of the brambles and overgrowth, installed benches, begun to install bird and bug houses and scattered wildflower seeds. In preparation for the 14th May, we have ordered 500 wildflower plants ready to be planted on the site. This is your opportunity to come along, visit and discuss the project… take away some information… and if you can, lend a hand! Please also take this opportunity to walk or cycle along the this area of the Cheshire Lines (NCN 62/Trans Pennine Trail)… It’s a beautiful and amazing resource that we have in our area!

Feel free to pop along at any point through the day

Timing for the day:

10am onwards – Scything, raking and clearing the ground in preparation for planting will continue throughout the day. Bring a rake along and help us clear the ground of the spring overgrowth

1-3pm – Wildflower planting, publicity stand and kids activities.

Refreshments:

Sefton Meadows Garden Centre and Cafe are in close proximity to the site area.

Clothing:

If you are attending to participate in any of the raking, clearing and planting, please wear suitable clothing, sturdy footwear and gardening gloves.

Location:

Cheshire Lines/TPT – back of Sefton Drive, Maghull L31 8AQ

Any support that can be offered is always greatly appreciated, but if you do have any questions or require any further information… please do not hesitate to email me…

Thanks for your time and hope to see you soon

John Callaghan

E: jc@photoreal.co.uk
M: 07713158716
W: Merseyside North Volunteers merseysidenorth.uk