Public urged to back re-opening of popular Uppermill footpath

Cllr Graham Sheldon by the closed footpath at Bridge Street

ANOTHER concerted effort is being made to re-open a public footpath in Uppermill inaccessible for more than six years.

Now campaigners hope residents and ramblers back their bid to overturn the closure of the route between Bridge Street and Spring Street.

It is currently under one of many temporary closure notices issued for the path by Oldham Council.

Supporters fear when the latest order expires in July, council bosses will attempt to shut it permanently because of the high costs of restoration and repair.

But Saddleworth Parish and Oldham MBC councillor Graham Sheldon is determined to restore the path that runs alongside the River Tame.

Oldham Ramblers are also keen for the path to be brought back into commission.

“I am determined we will find a way to reopen the path,” says Cllr Sheldon.

“The council seem to be of the opinion there is no interest in re-opening it.

Cllrs John Hudson, Pam Byrne and Graham Sheldon by the upgraded foopath by Kenworthy Gardens

“I believe there is and would urge residents, walking groups and ramblers to email in to voice their enthusiasm to reopen this path.

“We believe works to this area will cost tens of thousands of pounds and not hundreds as the borough is guessing.

“Most of the land slip from the last 12 months has washed down the river but there are still some excavations necessary to uncover the path.”

Campaigners are also keen to establish ownership of the strip of land on which the footpath is situated on.

The last owners are thought to be the Shaw family of Uppermill though this small piece is thought not to have been sold off.

In January 2014, Cllr Sheldon donated around £700 from his council allowance so the path could be spruced up.

But just 48 hours later, the footpath was closed after heavy wind and rain eroded a sections causing a landslide.

Trees which fell across the path and into the river were removed in the interest of safety. The path has remained closed ever since.

A Council spokesperson said: “The landslip involves private land and is not council-owned property.

“The council continues to look at various options around this issue and public access is provided via alternative routes.

“We only have limited resources and must prioritise where we use them.

“We would welcome viable input from the residents about a way forward.”

If you support the re-opening of the footpath you are asked to contact traffic engineer Jean Greer by email: jean.greer@unitypartnership.com

• MEANWHILE a soggy footpath in Uppermill has been upgraded after the intervention of local councillors.

The walkway between Kenworthy Gardens and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal – on land owned by Saddleworth Parish Council – is a short but popular ramble.

Now Cllr Sheldon, with support from colleagues John Hudson and Pam Byrne, have ensured repairs, running into four figures, have been carried out without extra cost to the Parish.

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