A councillor is calling for plans to make a green corridor along a former railway line to be moved along. Last summer we reported that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) Cabinet had given the go ahead for the authority to begin the process of an Asset Transfer of the Cheadle to Cresswell Disused Railway line from the Department for Transport to the ownership of SMDC.
A councillor is calling for plans to make a green corridor along a former railway line to be moved along.
Last summer we reported that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) Cabinet had given the go ahead for the authority to begin the process of an Asset Transfer of the Cheadle to Cresswell Disused Railway line from the Department for Transport to the ownership of SMDC.
It is part of the council’s plans to deliver one of the Moorlands first Green Travel Corridors along the disused rail line.
Town and district Cheadle councillor Gary Bentley had put forward the idea for the railway line to be made into a public footpath to be used by cyclists, walkers and more, to SMDC some ten years ago. Cllr Bentley has since encouraged many members of the Cheadle community to get involved and also helped set up a Friends of Cheadle to Cresswell Railway Path group.
Since the last train travelled on the line in 1986 the route has become a popular informal footpath well used by pedestrians.
SMDC is looking to establish the route as a greenway to: “encourage active travel, including walking and cycling, for both commuter and recreational use,” as part of its plans to introduce Green Travel Corridors across the district.
Twelve months on and Cllr Bentley is calling upon SMDC for the project to be moved along.
He said: “Why has the railway line not been taken on by the council, when it’s being offered to them at no cost.
“It’s crying out to be used as a green access from village to village.”
He added: “Since being on the district council for three years, I have actively been working with the district council to make this public right of way available for push bikes, walking and for use as a bridal way.
“I would like to see this done sooner rather than later. I feel that the people of Cheadle are missing out on not having their own scenic walkway alike to what Biddulph has already got.
For those who would like to know what I am trying to achieve – take a look at Biddulph Valley Way which was a disused railway line which shut at the same time as Cheadle’s.”
The Cheadle & Tean Times contacted SMDC and also councillor Mark Deaville, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Leisure and Sports at SMDC, for comment on plans for the Green Corridor on Cheadle.
A spokesperson for the council said: ‘SMDC are working with the Department for Transport with regards to a number of elements of the transfer of the freehold line. We have established that there are potentially some outstanding maintenance and repairs to the assets along the line, which are the current tenants responsibility.
“The Department for Transport (DfT) are reviewing the outstanding items with a specialist railway engineering company. Additionally there are legal issues associated with the land title that are also being negotiated.
“The council are in regular contact with the Department for Transport and are awaiting a proposal from them for the transfer of the asset which will be considered as soon as the proposal is received.”
Cllr Deaville added: “Both the council and myself remain fully committed to delivering this project which will be a fantastic asset for the local community.
“We’re working with the Department of Transport on the transfer of the line to the council but, as with any project of this nature, this takes a little time. I’d like to thank people for their patience and assure them it will be worth the wait.
“I’d also like to thank local residents who have worked hard and really helped on the background to this project. Whilst it is quite complex when dealing with a transaction such as this, it remains a key objective to deliver this scheme.
“Our Member of Parliament Sir Bill Cash is making strong representations at Westminster with the Department of Transport so we are all working in partnership to deliver this – and it will happen.”
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