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Monday, April 19, 2021

Walkers will no longer get that sinking feeling

As more people enjoy the great outdoors and the days get longer, walkers will have the benefit of a new footbridge to cross, following concerns that the previous one was sinking into the brook beneath.

The bridge is on a public right of way on the edge of Wood Park in Alsager, close to the border with Church Lawton.

Calls had been made in the last few years for Cheshire East Council to replace it as its condition deteriorated.

In a question to Cheshire East’s Cabinet in January last year, Labour Coun Michael Unett, who represents East Ward on Alsager Town Council, said: “The bridge is sinking, the brook is wearing the bank away where the bridge is and the path has become increasingly impassable.

“The issue has been raised by myself and several of my fellow councillors. Can the council please look into this issue and ensure that the bridge is safe and that this popular right of way is once again usable?”

The bridge has finally been replaced with a new version, a move welcomed by Coun Unett who said: “I had requested several times to Cheshire East for a new bridge to be constructed and now I’m glad it’s gone ahead.

“It’s a very popular route and use it myself. A lot of dog walkers use it and it provides access to the Salt Line.”

In a post on social media welcoming the replacement bridge, he said: “I first reported this as a resident and then several times as a newly-elected town councillor, before raising it at the Cheshire East Cabinet meeting in January 2020 along with other issues – so it is brilliant to see the work has finally been completed.

“It was also great to speak to the workmen completing the bridge and to hear of the friendly comments of praise for their work from local residents.

“Thanks to Cheshire East Council, fellow councillors, residents and the workmen for helping to get this popular right of way open again with a new path and new safe bridge.”

Cheshire East Council said it was eager to see the bridge replaced and the footpath improved owing to the pandemic, which has emphasised the need for residents to be able to exercise and enjoy some fresh air.

The old bridge – and the land around it – had been affected by recent flooding, making the area muddy and difficult to walk, the authority added.

Thanks to two local landowners, the council was able to gain the access it needed to be able to carry out the work.

Coun Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “Cheshire East is a predominantly rural borough and we are extremely fortunate in being surrounded by outstanding countryside.

“Therefore, it is extremely important that we maintain access to our public footpaths and public rights of way that allow our residents, and their families, to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors.

“I am pleased that we have been able to install this new bridge and improve the connecting path, enabling us to maintain valued walking routes for the benefit of the people of Alsager and visitors to the area.”

The work took place over two weeks in early February and cost around £11,000.

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