Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Footpath 181 VICTORY

You may remember that last September I blogged about the Council's plans to reopen Footpath 181 which runs from Claude Road (at the side of Meade Manor), behind South Drive and alongside Chorlton Brook onto Oakhouse Drive. This historic path has not been in use for 65 years, however following pressure from the Ramblers Association, Manchester City Council made it a top priority to reopen the route. I was deeply concerned by this action and encouraged the Council to reconsider. I opposed the reopening of the historic path because many people told me they didn’t want it reopened, it would be a disgraceful waste of public money (estimates said £40,000 to £50,000) and I was concerned that a reopened path could result in more criminal activity particularly burglaries, vandalism, anti social behaviour and gangs loitering.

Many local residents joined me and my Chorlton Lib Dem colleagues in raising their objections with the Council. Following a concerted campaign I am pleased to let you know that the Council have finally seen sense. Yesterday Council Bosses told us that having assessed the situation at great length they have decided to stop up the full length of Footpath 181 as provided by Section 116 of the Highways Act 1980. The Council will be advertising the stopping up order and making application to the courts.

I would like to thank all the residents that joined us in opposing the reopening; it shows how powerful the community can be when we work together.


  1. So, the Council have decided to apply for an Order to close this public footpath PERMANANTLY. This will relieve them of their obligation to maintain it; something they have neglected to do for many years.
    You've only to look at a map to see why it was there in the first place; it links two parts of Chorlton that are close to each other, but are a long way to get between, particularly if not driving.
    Essentially, this footpath links two Park areas, and two Schools. In times when so much is being done to reduce traffic and promote walking and cycling, why was this path allowed to become obstructed?
    I've read articles elsewhere that observe this has happened because Chorltonville residents, whose gardens adjoin the footpath are only too happy to permanantly add it to their gardens, and exclude passers by.

  2. I don't see what's changed. Despite what Victor says, the council never wanted to re-open this path. Now the council will apply to the court for an order. They have to advertise that they are doing this so that people can object and objections will be lodged.

    The council proposes to use s.116 of the Highways Act 1980. This allows a path to extinguished if it is unnecessary or it can be diverted. Those of us who support the path were prepared to consider diversions, but the council was not. So in practice, the council must now convince the court that very few people will use the path. If people say they will walk the path, it will be difficult for the council to prove they won't.

    So it could go either way.

    The court is not able to consider whether a majority of residents support or oppose the path as the Act does not allow a path to be closed simply because those who live nearby object to it.