RORY STEWART SUPPORTS MEDIATION FOR FOOTPATH LINKING CUMBRIAN VILLAGES

RORY STEWART SUPPORTS MEDIATION FOR FOOTPATH LINKING CUMBRIAN VILLAGES

Rory Stewart MP met with Caldbeck Parish Council to discuss the proposed plans to create a wheelchair and pushchair friendly path and cycle way joining together two picturesque Cumbrian villages, Caldbeck and Hesket Newmarket.

A call for such a footpath was included in the 2005-15 Parish plan and was overwhelmingly supported by parishioners. The parish Plan was written following a questionnaire to all its residents. In response, there were 200 suggestions for local footpaths, and out of those, 173 called for a safe footway between Caldbeck and Hesket Newmarket. The road is sometimes narrow and has a complete absence of verges along most stretches. It is notoriously tricky both for pedestrians and cyclists and has become known as the road that separated two villages rather than linking them together.

The proposed path which would follow the road, is just over 2 kilometres in length and would take walkers about 30 minutes to access the opposite village.  Currently it takes over one and a half hours to walk between the villages along roads and footpaths crossing rough farm land.

The hope is that the footpath will allow visitors to be able to enjoy both the villages, walking safety and directly along the path enjoying the delights both villages have to offer including a number of pubs, shops, tea rooms and galleries.

The Parish Council has received £100,000 as a generous gift to pay for the mapping and construction of the footpath and has firm estimates to ensure the work can be completed within budget. 

Plans for the footpath have been rejected by Cumbria County Council. However, Caldbeck Parish Council is keen to pursue a variety of options to try and move the proposal forward. It is continuing to work closely with Cumbria County Council, the Lake District National Park, Allerdale District Council and land owners. Mr Stewart welcomed the update on the project by the Parish Council and hopes a resolution can be found. 

After meeting with the Parish Council Mr Stewart said - "It is fantastic to see local people coming together to work on projects like this. It highlights why it is so vital to have local Parish plans. They address the issues surrounding village life and help to develop ideas that will benefit the whole community.”