This section of the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) was last upgraded in 1989 when a red shale path was constructed. Over the years the surface has deteriorated, so that it becomes very muddy following rain, rendering it impassable for most users. In addition the path has become overgrown, where trees and shrubs have grown up close to the path reducing its width. There are several old “A” frame barriers which restrict the use of the TPT for many people who are unable to get through them. These include people in wheelchairs, people riding adapted bikes and people with prams and larger pushchairs. It's a condition of the grant funding from Sustrans that all of the existing “A” frame barriers must be replaced by Equality Act compliant access controls.
The aim of the project is to restore the path to its original width and standard but future proofed so that it will last far longer and allow for all year round use. As well as pedestrians and cyclists, the new path will allow easier access for people in wheelchairs, mobility scooters and families using pushchairs and prams. It would also be more suitable for horse riders.
A public consultation exercise took place between 24 November and 12 December 2021. This consisted of an online survey and a drop-in public exhibition held in the Village Hall on 1 December.
Over 50 people attended the exhibition and over 300 responses were made using the online survey form. We are very grateful for everyone who responded to the consultation.
In summary there was strong support to the scheme which would justify its delivery. However a number of valid concerns were raised over the use of tarmac as the proposed surface. It is perceived to be unsuitable in a rural area and is unpopular with horse riders, runners and dog walkers. In addition the scheme development work by the council had identified issues that a tarmac path would have on drainage and its impact on nearby trees.
In the light of the consultation, and also following discussions with Sustrans and other local authorities, the design has been reviewed. It has been agreed that the path will be surfaced using Flexipave which is a 50/50 rubber crumb and golden aggregate mix bonded by polyurethane to form a hard wearing yet porous surface. Flexipave has been successfully used on many similar paths and cycle ways in the UK including in Barnsley, Lancashire and Salford. Its main benefits is that it has a much lower environmental footprint requiring less tree removal and good porosity which allows for better drainage. It is a more yielding surface which is better for all users including runners, dog walkers and horse riders. It is also much more attractive than tarmac thanks to the 50% golden aggregate giving it a speckled appearance. A key statistic worth noting is that this project will use over 10,000 recycled car tyres which means a saving of 230,555kg of CO2 had these tyres been burned.
The path width would remain the same at 3.5m but there would be no requirement for a separate 2m wide trotting lane for horse riders. This saves on the width required for the overall scheme and means that there is far less need for tree removal. There would be some limited canopy pruning to increase natural light for wildlife and low level vegetation and also to reduce the effect of leaf drop. The tree survey commissioned by the council identified a need to remove 16 dead or diseased trees in the interest of public safety.
All “A” frame barriers and gates within the scheme would be removed and replaced by suitable Equality Act compliant access controls whilst retaining access for maintenance vehicles.
The council will be working with two contractors (AE Yates and KBI Ltd) to deliver the scheme. The scheme is proposed to start at the end of February and should be completed in late May. The Statham Avenue car park next to the ranger cabin will be used as the contractor’s compound.
The TPT between Whitbarrow Road and Reddish Crescent will be closed to the public for the duration of the works.
From the TPT exit on the west side of Whitbarrow Road, head south to Dane Bank Road, turn left into Dane Bank Road to Rush Green Road, turn left along Rush Green Road to Reddish Crescent, then turn north up Reddish Crescent. You can rejoin the TPT on the east side of Reddish Crescent.
From the TPT exit on the east side of Reddish Crescent, head south down Reddish crescent, west along Rush Green Road, take the second right into Dane Bank Road then the third right into Whitbarrow Road. You can rejoin the TPT on the west side of Whitbarrow Road.