Hold-ups on old rail line

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Work to transform a former railway line into a new pedestrian route and cycleway has stalled due to landowner objections.

Wigan Council confirmed it is currently having to smooth over issues before improvement work on The Line in Standish can get under way.

The town hall says it hopes the problems can be resolved as soon as possible as the project was supposed to be started by now so the revamped Line could open by the end of the year.

However, a statement from the local authority suggests the scheme could end up several months behind schedule.

The delay has been met with frustration from community groups backing the scheme to resurface the old mineral line, which runs 1.45km from Brookfield Road to the centre of Standish, and make it a showcase for the area’s heritage.

Council director for economy and environment Karl Battersby said: “We remain fully committed to The Line project and have been making good progress with the plans.

“We have had one objection from a landowner which has delayed work but we are working with them and are hopeful it can be resolved. We hope a contractor can be appointed to begin work before the end of the year and we will update residents as soon as we can.”

Standish Voice expressed its irritation at the hold-up, saying July and August would have been a good time to get on with the work.

A spokesman said: “It is disappointing that work on The Line has been delayed as the school summer holidays was an ideal time to begin it, but we know that it is a complex situation involving a number of landowners.

“It is a vital project which will improve the sustainable transport infrastructure in Standish, giving schoolchildren and residents an alternative route other than using our busy roads.

“We hope the problems can be solved quickly and the council can carry out the work as soon as possible.”

The Line’s improvements involve resurfacing the entire route as well as installing new lights to allow year-round use for school children, dog walkers and horse riders as well as cyclists and pedestrians.

The upgrade work is being paid for through section 106 money from developers building homes in the area.