Councillors are being urged to create a new cycle route and pathway on a derelict train line in Deepdale.Advertisement
Part of the former Preston to Longridge railway has long been earmarked for work to tidy it up and connect to the cycle route out to Grimsargh.
Now Preston City Council’s cabinet is to be told it risks losing nearly £200,000 of money from developers if it doesn’t act by November.
Preston Trampower has long-held ambitions to use the former railway line for its tramline in the city, but council officers say with a lack of ‘forthcoming plans’ by the tram group it states the council should spend the money on the stretch of old railway line.
Read more: A history of the ghost railway line running through Preston
Money from the building of the Morrisons off Blackpool Road, which backs onto the tram line, as well as other developments on the former James Hall site.
Just over £200,000 would be spent on landscaping the former railway line behind West View leisure centre and linking it up to existing cycle routes which allow access to Grimsargh.
The stretch runs from Skeffington Road to the back of the leisure centre.
The funding would also allow improvement works to the existing cycle route which runs behind the Morrisons store and joins Blackpool Road.
Council officers state in April this year Morrisons contacted the council to remind them a five-year time limit on the funds runs out in November this year.
A report to the city council’s cabinet said: “It should be noted that Trampower have had plans to construct a tram route from the M6 motorway footbridge (near Sulby Drive) to the city centre along the former Preston to Longridge track bed for many years, but at this point in time they do not have planning permission or the consent of the owners.
“Work to the cycle route has been placed on hold for several years, awaiting Trampower’s formal proposals to come forward. Even though Trampower remain determined to progress their scheme, it is not certain it will go ahead and there is a risk that the S106 funding for the cycling route will be returned to developers if it is not implemented by November 2018.
“If Trampower receive the necessary consents in future years and their scheme goes ahead, then they will be required to alter the cycle route and accommodate it within their scheme. They have indicated that the line can physically accommodate both the tramline and a cycleway/footpath.”
Director at Preston Trampower Lincoln Shields said: “We’re aware of the city council’s plans to extend the Grimsargh Cycle Route. A shared footpath and cycleway remain part of our plans for this stretch of tramway and we’re in positive discussions with all parties about how we can accommodate both the cycleway improvements and proposed tramway within the ex-Longridge railway boundary fence lines.
“We remain committed to bringing forward our plans to reintroduce a modern and sustainable tramway for Preston.”
Read more: Preston Trampower appoints contractor to build Deepdale test line
Large sections of the former railway line have already been converted into a cycle route, linking Grimsargh to the city.
Chairwoman of Grimsargh Parish Council Lindsay Phillipson said: “The length from Bluebell Way to Grimsargh was finished years ago as part of the Guild Wheel and is well used.
“It’s a welcome addition to see opportunities extended for residents of Preston to walk and cycle.”
What do you think of the cycle route proposal? Or should they wait for the trams? Let us know in the comments below