Rights of way victory for Blackpool footpath campaigner who warned of neglect

A campaigner has won his battle to get a Blackpool footpath re-opened after warning the council over its neglect of public rights of way in the town.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 2:12 pm

Ken Cridland and his wife Diane held a mini opening ceremony at footpath 11 before striding out along the route from Preston New Road to Marton Mere.

The path had become overgrown and was unusable but council workers have now cleared the way enabling walkers to return to the route.

It is among a number of improvements made to public footpaths in Blackpool after Mr Cridland addressed the council's tourism, economy and communities scrutiny committee in February 2021 about their neglected state.

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Ken and Diane Cridland 'open' footpath 11

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Council accused of failing to maintain rights of way in Blackpool

He said: "We were delighted this public right of way has now been cleared so that it can be used once again.

"We would like to say thank you to the councillors on the scrutiny committee, and particularly the ex-chairman Coun Martin Mitchell.

"They and the cabinet member responsible moved into action once the problems over Blackpool's rights of way had been explained to them.

The footpath leads towards Marton Mere

"We are now seeing some benefits from the improvements made since then. It was interesting to see the old path signs still there and now back in operation.

"We met three workmen working at putting a new fence up and stopped for a chat. There is plenty of evidence of the scale of the work which had to be done to clear the path."

Ken is now urging people to make use of the newly reopened paths.

He added: "Path 11 is the only public right of way into Marton Mere from the south. It takes you to the eastern end of Marton Mere.

The entrance to footpath 11 before it was cleared

"We would advise wearing stout walking shoes or boots, and treading carefully as there are still obstacles and roots in the way in the newly cleared area.

"We do hope regular maintenance is now carried out to keep it clear, as the roots left could soon produce some vigorous growth.

"Marton Mere is one of the jewels in Blackpool's crown and we love it as we move out of the caravan park into the countryside beyond."

Path 11 runs in a roughly northerly direction from Preston New Road, round the back of the new housing estate and alongside the caravan park on Marton Mere.

It crosses the caravan park, and then enters Marton Mere at its eastern end near a footbridge over a stream before continuing north towards Staining, with other paths including 56 & 12 branching off it.

There are 47 public footpaths in Blackpool, covering 12km in total, including a number of paths on Marton Moss which have also been cleared thanks to joint working between landowners, the council and Marton Moss Forum.

These include paths linking Sandy Lane (off School Road) to Worthington Road, and between Werneth House (just off Division Lane) and Sandy Lane are now open.

Councils have a statutory duty to maintain public rights of way which includes keeping them in a fit state to use, removing obstructions, adding signs, working with landowners and protecting the public’s right to use paths.