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Campaigners win battle to re-open Wirral riverside walkway
1:41pm Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
CAMPAIGNERS have won a 12-year battle to re-open a historic Wirral riverside walkway.
The route linking the Woodside and Seacombe Ferry terminals has been officially added to the definitive map of Wirral and will re-open on September 21.
It follows negotiations between the Wirral Ramblers and Wirral Footpaths and Open Spaces Preservation Society with Port Authority and Wirral Council.
The campaign was founded by Wirral resident Graham Handley in 2000, when he discovered - on taking his six-year-old niece Rachel Handley to see the QE2 sail into the River Mersey - that the waterfront at Twelve Quays had been closed to the public.
This not only blocked off wonderful views of the river, but also the best view of the world famous vista, the ‘Three Graces’ – the three buildings that form the centrepiece of Liverpool’s World Heritage Site.
Campaigners fought to get the historic section of embankment re-opened and the campaign was soon supported by more than 40 local and national organisations.
This included the Ramblers, who Graham Handley approached for help in getting the route shown on the Definitive Map, having discovered strong evidence that the walkway should remain open to the public.
An initial joint application by the Wirral Ramblers and the Wirral Footpaths and Open Spaces Society to the Council for the route to be recognised as a public right of way was rejected, but they made an appeal to the Secretary of State and the council was directed to open up the path.
In 2005 the joint applicants worked with the council and Peel Holdings, the new owners of Port Authority, and came to an agreement to avoid the cost and delay of a public inquiry.
Mr Handley said: "The successful outcome shows what can be achieved when people and organisations come together as a community and find a way to work together."
Performing the opening ceremony on September 21 will be Wirral mayor, Cllr Gerry Ellis.
He said: “We are happy to see the successful resolution of this to the satisfaction of all concerned.
“I am looking forward to officially opening the official walkway and seeing for myself its fine views across the Mersey.”