South Ribble's first Green Link pathway sparks concerns over dangerous motorcycling
South Ribble residents are welcoming the area's first Green Link pathway - but have raised concerns over it being used by speeding motorcyclists.
The new Dog Kennel and Cockshott Woods walkway connects Brownedge Close in Bamber Bridge with Hennel Lane in Walton-le-Dale. It is just over one-mile long and provides a cycle route that runs parallel with the A6 and connects to the Capitol Centre, Bamber Bridge Leisure Centre and the Old Tram Road.
It is the first instalment in a new network of rural pathways designed by South Ribble Borough Council to help cut road traffic and air pollution while promoting health and fitness. The path will allow pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders to avoid crossing the busy A6.
Julie Powell, who lives in Walton Park, plans to use the pathway to take her children to their father's house near the Brownedge Close entrance.
She said: "It's fairly quiet and safe for them as they are aged four and six so with no traffic or roads to negotiate to get between the two locations of our houses, it's just perfect for us as it means we can now walk or meet half way.
"Whereas before this path was built, it wasn't practical nor safe to go via foot."
But Wendi Whittle, of Danesway in Walton-le-Dale, has mixed feelings and is worried about motorbike riders using the route dangerously.
She said: "I live right behind it and have dogs and it's a fantastic path as hardly anyone knows about it at the moment so it's great.
"I walk my dogs down there all the time and never see anyone else. But as more people know about it I'm just frightened you will get idiots speeding up and down there on motorbikes as there is nothing to stop them.
"We back onto it and have had motorbikes in the fields behind us before, which were noisy and annoying. But it’s the safety side I worry about as the paths are designed for walkers, not speeding motorcycles.
"Other similar pathways in the area have provision either end to stop motorbikes whereas this doesn’t. It’s wide open at both ends and even a small car could drive down it!"
Meanwhile Simon James, of Brownedge Road, said it is ideal for joggers as it flat with occasional turns but the lack of lighting could cause accidents.
But the council has said it would be costly to install lighting as the path does not have suitable facilities for power.
Coun. Mick Titherington, South Ribble Borough Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Well-being and Leisure, added: "Lighting isn’t often provided on semi-rural paths, only on short urban links. This is for a number of reasons, including: lighting doesn’t guarantee safety; and it can disturb the resident wildlife population.
"The installation of anti-motorcycle measures would also cause access issues to others including mobility scooters and cyclists carrying children. We have committed to an open access policy for all on all our green links, but we could review this on an individual basis if any problems were to occur.
"The health, safety and welfare of our residents is always our prime consideration.”