IMPROVEMENT work to make a popular Neston pathway more accessible to all is to finally go ahead after the project was awarded a grant from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Cuckoo Lane is a bridleway with access rights for the farmer and his vehicles only and is predominantly used for walking, cycling or by those riding horses.

But over the years it has fallen into a poor state and is work is urgently needed to make it more accessible to users in all weathers, including those with small children or with limited mobility.

A spokesman for Cheshire West and Cheshire Council said: "We have a statutory obligation to maintain public rights of way to a reasonable and safe standard and Cuckoo Lane was judged to be in a poor state and at times inaccessible for most.

"The LSTF funding made available allowed us to progress improvement plans, which included consultation with statutory partners such as the Council’s Ecologist and Archaeologist - both of which resulted in approvals being given to proceed.

"The project does not require planning consent and therefore public consultation is not mandatory.

"Concerns have been raised that this work has been undertaken to improve the area for cyclists.

"This scheme was designed to provide better access for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in equal measure and there is no priority for any one type of user.

"We sincerely hope that these works, once completed, will see many more local people being able to access the pathway at any time of year to enjoy it, travel to work via it or connect with nearby areas."

There are several link schemes under way in Ellesmere Port at the moment. They are to help pedestrians and cyclists to commute safely to work, recreation and to retail centres, in particular to the Cheshire Oaks.

LSTF money is not just for cyclists and walkers; it is also being used to improve and promote public transport.

Among those supporting the project is Peter Williams, from Chester Cycling Campaign.

He said: "It is an existing Bridle Way but in wet weather and through the winter months the Bridle Way could only be used by very fit and able people.

"It was very difficult to push a push chair along it or ride a bike unless using a mountain bike.

"The Chester Cycling Campaign supports such projects which improve the infrastructure for cyclists and which encourage a modal shift to sustainable means of transport. 

"We support "sharing with care" and respect for other users, such as dog walkers, pedestrians and horse riders."