WORK on a popular Neston footpath has been put on hold while discussions take place between the local authority and town council.
Improvement work to make Cuckoo Lane more accessible to all began after the project was awarded a grant from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
Over the years the bridleway has fallen into a poor state and work is urgently needed to make it more accessible to users in all weathers, including those with small children or with limited mobility.
The scheme – which does not require planning consent – is designed to provide better access for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in equal measure.
But the work has sparked outrage among residents and members of Neston Town Council, who feel they have been left in the dark over what they believe is the “destruction” of the ancient bridleway.
More than 200 people attended an extraordinary meeting in Neston on Friday, where they demanded answers over why they and Liverpool University – who own the Woodfall fields that Cuckoo Lane cuts through – were not consulted.
One resident who was present at the meeting, Jim Furlong, told the Globe: “Just before Christmas lorries turned up and laid asphalt along half of this historic lane without any public consultation.
“Feeling is very strong in the town and the campaigners will continue until Cheshire West and Chester Council withdraw their plans for Cuckoo Lane and reverse the damage already done.”
But Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC), who are carrying out the work, told the Globe that although a consultation is not required, work will be temporarily put on hold while discussions take place.
Councillor Lynn Riley, executive member for localities, said: “Work on Cuckoo Lane will not continue while discussions take place with Neston Town Council and residents regarding the bridleway scheme.
“While we do not need to formally consult on the work, it is clear that it has generated a great deal of interest and we want to hear views as to how the work should be taken forward.
“We are also a listened council and want to learn from this experience.”
Four senior CWAC officers attended the meeting of Neston Town Council on Friday and are due to attend a second meeting of its Planning and Environment Committee this week.