The Manchester Ramblers will be in court on 1 July in a last ditch attempt to prevent the permanent closure of a public footpath - FP 181 - in Chorlton which could provide a key route within the local community.
Lawyers acting for the Ramblers will be arguing in the magistrates’ court against an application by Manchester City Council for the path to be closed and will be supported by local residents and representatives from path protection groups.
The path has been obstructed for many years and, despite being aware of these unlawful obstructions and of its duty (under the Highways Act) to deal with them, the Council has taken no steps to restore the through route.
We’ve made efforts over the years, alongside others, to press the Council into action but to no avail - earlier this year the Council took the decision to try and close the path rather than restore it to public use.
If re-opened, the path would provide a short-cut between the communities and facilities in Chorlton and Chorlton Park, with views of Chorlton Brook, and it has the potential to be used by people travelling on foot to reach local schools, shops and transport links.
Walking plays a vital role in people’s everyday lives, offering an easy and accessible way to exercise regularly, and link paths away from busy roads such as FP 181 are an important element of encouraging healthier lifestyles.
District Judge Richardson, sitting in the magistrates' court, has ruled that the western stretch of the path, running alongside Chorlton Brook – the stretch of path which we and others were seeking to save – should remain as a public right of way and not be permanently closed. This should mean the development of a plan for its restoration to public use.
The full written judgment in the case will not be available until the end of July, after which we'll explore ways of working with the council to secure the re-opening of the path.
You can find out more about how to keep a path properly maintained and how to get an obstruction removed in our advice for walkers section.