Penwortham protesters join the fight to save their shortcut

No way: New school gates will block off a well-trodden shortcut for the elderly
No way: New school gates will block off a well-trodden shortcut for the elderly
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Elderly residents are joining forces to save a well-trodden shortcut to their GP’s surgery.

County councillors have voted through an application by a girls’ school for 2.4-metre high security gates to block off a cut-through which locals claim has been used for four decades to reach the centre of Penwortham.

Now at least 20 householders affected by the decision are preparing to submit claim forms demanding the shortcut is officially decreed a public right of way. And others are expected to join the protest.

“The fight goes on,” said local Liberal Democrat councillor David Howarth. “Numerous residents have asked for claim forms - feelings are running very high over this.”

Coun Howarth championed the cause at a meeting of the development control committee at County Hall last week.

Addressing members he claimed many of those who use the shortcut are elderly residents from Alcester Drive, Clifton Drive and Hill Road who would face a long detour to see their doctor, or visit the church hall and local shops.

“There is no reason for this to be closed off because the school grounds are still open to the public along other parts of its boundary,” he said. “Anyone using this footpath, particularly the elderly and infirm, are not rampaging through there. A lot of them are probably in their seventies or eighties and they are not creating damage with their walking sticks.”

The residents are hoping to have the cut-through recognised because it has been in use since before Penwortham Girls High School was built.

Committee member Coun Kevin Ellard said: “I am looking for a bit of common sense here. We want a solution that satisfies the school and also its neighbours.”