Forums are ‘unfit’ say villagers angry over path decision

Frustrated: Walmer Bridge residents and committee members in Dob Lane fields
Frustrated: Walmer Bridge residents and committee members in Dob Lane fields
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Village leaders have blasted a council scheme set up to improve neighbourhoods.

Members of Walmer Bridge Village Committee, Little Hoole Parish Council and The Village Hall Committee have accused South Ribble Council’s My Neighbourhood Forum of “not being fit for purpose” and “gate-keeping” community funds.

The row began after the groups lobbied SRBC to fund a bitmac footpath across the Dob Lane Playing field. The path would connect the village hall in Gill Lane to Dob Lane and would help the school to set up a walking bus to alleviate parking congestion.

The request was declined by the Western Parishes My Neighbourhood Forum, which instead offered £4,000 for a cheaper Toptrek path opponents say will be poorer quality and need more maintenance.

Tanya Wilcock, chair of the Walmer Bridge Village Committee, said villagers were denied an appeal and left “disillusioned” with political representatives.

Stewart Bradley, chair of the Walmer Bridge Village Hall said: “Despite apparent early support from our local councillors, it now seems that the local authority have decided that the footpath is not worthy of the added expenditure and that they are to enforce a Toptrek path on our village.”

Councillor Colin Coulton, Chair of the Western Parishes Forum said: “We found that Toptrec would be more in-keeping with the rural location, is better for the environment as it’s a recycled product, it offers grip all year round, does not need planning permission and is more cost effective as specialist equipment isn’t needed to install or maintain it.”

He added £43,000 is already earmarked for work the area.