Local Writer and Councillor at Loggerheads Over Cuckoo Lane
|Published: 19th December 2013 14:38|
Local author, Antony Annakin-Smith, is one of several Neston residents currently venting their frustration regarding a so-called 'improvement' project taking place along Cuckoo Lane.
However, Cllr Kay Loch, Cheshire West and Chester member for Little Neston and Burton, who has lobbied for the scheme, takes a different view. Read their opposing arguments below.
A photograph taken on Thursday December 19 illustrates the current state of the Lane:
A somewhat ironically captioned picture of the Lane, as it used to be, is included in a book called The Wirral Penninsula compiled by Peter Coward and sent to us this morning by Deborah Colclough:
I am astonished that CW&C is presiding over the wanton vandalism of a unique part of our local landscape. I refer to Cuckoo Lane which is being ‘improved' by widening, and the laying of 150mm of planings to form a new surface.
Cuckoo Lane, which includes a sunken road or ‘holloway', is a unique feature in the local landscape and is extremely attractive at any time of the year. A large part of its character derives from its narrowness and, in particular, from the exposed sandstone on the slope to the south-west of the Wirral Way. But, from my viewing today, the lane is clearly being widened and the sandstone is to be buried.
The lane was mapped in 1788, but is almost certainly much older. It takes centuries for holloways to form and there are several other local examples that are certainly medieval. The fieldscape which surrounds it is also ancient. If the council chose to trash a building that was at least 225 years old, and quite possibly 700 or more, there would be uproar. But they seem to be happy to vandalise the local landscape.
I understand that one of their reasons is to improve the local cycle network but, despite being a keen cyclist, I can see no justification for this particular piece of work given the proximity of the Wirral Way. I am also concerned that no detailed plan appears to have been put forward locally for consultation before the work started. Surely a selective improvement approach, just dealing with the wetter areas in the lane if necessary, would have been much more appropriate?
Please can someone in authority stop this pointless destruction.
Author of ‘Wirral Walks: 100 Miles of the Best Walks in the Area'.
Cllr Kay Loch:
Cuckoo Lane is a byway open to all traffic (a BOAT) and its surface falls well below that which is acceptable for such a designation, being often muddy and impassable.
The scheme to improve it was presented by Bethan Edwards at a CH64 Transport meeting in the Town Hall this summer, which was well attended and chaired by Cllr Gittins. No comments were made either at that meeting or since (until now).
There is no requirement for public consultation for a surface improvement to a BOAT so the public presentation actually went beyond official requirement (although I agree absolutely that it could have been handled much better). Kevin Reid of Ness Gardens initiated this scheme early on in the transport meetings in order to improve access to Ness Gardens and it was agreed that the scheme would be an improvement to the public network and improve access to the Wirral Way from Little Neston.
CW&C Highways consulted both archaeologists and ecologists and taken their comments into account when scheduling the works.
Cllr Kay Loch
Cheshire West and Chester Council member for Little Neston and Burton
See also: Cuckoo Lane in Little Neston - Latest