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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:

Cuckoo 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:

cuckoo Lane - before

Antony Annakin-Smith:

Cuckoo LaneI 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.

Anthony Annakin-Smith
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

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At 15:39 on 19th December 2013, Helen commented:
Unfortunately I didn't attend the Council meeting as I wasn't aware it's was taking place, but I think it's disingenuous to hide behind the excuse of no comments having been received until now, being as few knew exactly what was being planned until works began - would it have been too much to post a notice on the footpath to notify people? I would also be keen to learn if the works were referred to in the meeting as a "tidy up" rather than the wholesale destruction that has taken place
Good to know that Councillor Loch has admitted that it could have been handled better - I think the exercise merits becoming the dictionary definition of "omnishambles"
I use the path at least 5 times a week, through all weathers, and have never once found it impassable; yes, it' s often muddy but it's the countryside - if I want to walk on mud free pavements in the area I'm not spoilt for choice!
Odd that it's now become Kevin Reid's initiative - not what we were led to believe in the original article - thought it was all down to Councillor Loch..........
At 16:21 on 19th December 2013, Diogenes commented:
Beyond belief the destruction that is taking place of such a natural and ancient pathway. It is also incomprehensible as to how anyone, with the slightest bit of intelligence, would make such a decision.

The only thing Cuckoo lane needed was to clean up the dog dirt as it has become an outdoor dog toilet-they come from miles around and few, if any, clean up after their dogs.

At 16:30 on 19th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
I agree with Antony Annakin Smith and Helen. My husband and I walked up Cuckoo Lane this morning and noticed that some of the sandstone near Gorston lane has been broken and thrown in the hedge. The Sandstone natural pavement further up was still showing. I've been told that that particular area is of geological importance. Please don't cover this. One tree was damaged but that's to be expected with the big wagon that were going up Cuckoo this morning. The brambles could have been trimmed back. There was an abundance of wild flowers in some parts of the lane. Now they are all obliterated under a wide river of tarmac.
At 16:47 on 19th December 2013, CB commented:
I'm with Anthony on this one... I appreciate the work that the councillor has achieved with the track on the Dee, however, i feel that this should remain an unspoilt area... people can still ride and enjoy the surroundings without this...pedestrians and cyclists.. with the track in its current state it helps to keep the speed down for cyclists and walkers/dogs together, this area is one of the few remaining areas where i can walk my dog and dogs can roam off the lead...
At 17:03 on 19th December 2013, Helen commented:
I have been searching without success for the minutes of the CH 64 Transport Group Meeting where the works were discussed. I'm presuming that the minutes are published so perhaps Councillor Loch could provide a link to or a copy of the minutes as I am most interested to find out how the "improvements" were sold to attendees in the public presentation
I find it bizarre that the works are still being referred to as "surface improvements" when it is clear to all that it is so much more than that
At 19:44 on 19th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Helen if you find them I'd love a copy.
Dave Carter
At 20:28 on 19th December 2013, Dave Carter commented:
Helen, Cathy,

I think they are here:


But they are not very detailed (you may say that is an understatement) and I suspect that this would have been a small part of a much larger presentation under item 3.

But I wasn't there so I can't be sure.

Dave Carter
Dave Carter
At 20:34 on 19th December 2013, Dave Carter commented:
Helen, Cathy,

Does that link work? If not look on AMA for an article of 23rd April entitled "Petition launched to stop Bus Cuts...." and look near the bottom for an amendment dated 10th September which gives the link. The meeting was indeed mostly about bus services according to the minutes, and I suspect that the Cuckoo Lane plan will have evaded the attention of many people there.

At 21:38 on 19th December 2013, Helen commented:
Thanks Dave - as you say the minutes aren't very detailed. No wonder they are having trouble defending their decision!
Katie Robson
At 22:20 on 19th December 2013, Katie Robson responded:
I've never seen any formal minutes of the CH64 Transport Group meetings, but I think that's because they are more like a forum than an official, minuted meeting. Maybe someone who was in attendance can advise.
Louise g
At 08:30 on 20th December 2013, Louise g commented:
Hi there are minutes and at the one in july it was chaired by david rudd (a resident), not by me. These are the notes from the section under discussion
3.Local Sustainable Transport Fund Projects ( Beth Edwards) £4.6 million had been secured from the Department of Transport Local Sustainable Transport Funding which will be put towards projects to enable smarter travel for local people especially in connecting them to jobs and that the previously mentioned Deeside Shuttle Bus was part of this funding.

The funding is targeted towards improving local access for longer distance commuter trips, local trips to work and training and smarter choices, marketing and promotion.

As the funding runs through to 2015, residents were asked to put forward their ideas for sustainable travel to work which would be considered for funding e.g. bike fleet loans and any ideas for events( to improve access to employment) or marketing campaigns.

Best wishes Louise

At 09:57 on 20th December 2013, Bernard commented:
Total fail CWaC, this is was beautiful ancient pathway, I do wonder if commercial interests have influenced this act of environmental vandalism
At 11:22 on 20th December 2013, Haroldjo commented:
Ref K. Loch's "BOAT" - does this mean that I can drive from Chester High Road to Little Neston and if so, I presume it will have a 70mph speed limit.
On a more serious note, was any thought given to the probable mis-use of what will be a very hard to resist race track by all "traffic".
All in all yet another legalised act of vandalism.
Harold Jones.
At 11:40 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:
I have checked the Cheshire West and Chester Definitive Map this morning, and from what I can see, Cuckoo Lane is NOT classified as a BOAT on that map; it's marked down as a Bridleway Neston BR 49. Indeed, if you do a general search on BOATs in the Neston area, no results are returned
It may be that the map is out of date, and that the Bridleway was reclassified - I've asked Councillor Loch to advise me urgently, and I will post her reply her - presupposing I get one of course - which would be a first!!
I think Harold Jones makes a very important point as well. Depending on when BOATs were registered, some allow vehicular access as well as walkers, cyclists etc - convenient for any possible wind turbine or other development in the area. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but something about this whole exercise stinks
At 11:47 on 20th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
I agree with Helen, Bernard and HaroldJo.
Special meeting on Saturday 21st December at 12:15 at the corner of Gorston Lane and Rock farm Drive where Cuckoo Lane emerges.
At 12:01 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:

I have just heard that a journalist and photographer from "The Ellesmere Port Pioneer" will be on-site tomorrow at 12.30pm. I urge all concerned residents and users of the path to attend to make our discontent public
Details are 12.30pm, Saturday 21st December Gorstons Lane and the junction of Rockfarm Drive. Cathy - I'll be there at 12.15
Geoff H
At 12:02 on 20th December 2013, Geoff H commented:
There’s something not right here. Cllr Loch is correct in stating that CWaCC sought expert archaeological advice on this scheme. However, what she
DOESN’T say is that it has been totally ignored. I’ve seen it and it contains some fascinating historical information and it could well be that Cuckoo Lane is at least 700 years old.

The concluding line of the expert advice is: “The sandstone surfacing should therefore not be covered over but ways found of preserving it as an integral feature of this historic routeway.”

Cllr Loch also states that Cuckoo Lane is a BOAT (byway open to all traffic). Well, not on the Definitive Map it isn’t – and I’ve got a copy in front of me now. It’s a bridleway – BR49, to be precise.

I’ve been in touch with the Ellesmere Port Pioneer over this and have arranged to meet their photographer tomorrow (Saturday) at 12.30 at the junction of Rock Farm Drive and Gorston’s lane. I have suggested that we all meet a little earlier at 12.15. The Pioneer would like all concerned parties to attend if possible.

Please try to give your support.

By the way, I’m advised that this morning the contractors were still working flat out and that it was not just a “tidying up exercise”. Worrying.
Geoff H
At 13:13 on 20th December 2013, Geoff H commented:
Further to my earlier message, I've been advised that, sadly, the destruction of the sandstone bed of the sunken part of Cuckoo Lane is well underway. CWaCC is fully aware of the groundswell of concern and the media interest but has failed to suspend the work. I fear that this is deliberate so that,even if objectors succeed, it will be too late to save this 700 year old routeway. Vandalism at its most extreme.
Anthony A
At 13:14 on 20th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Very interesting - and quite worrying - Geoff. I'd be really interested to see the archaeological advice (and any other related material on the development). Are you able to email me a copy please (annakinsmith@btinternet.com) or point me to where it is available.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
At 13:46 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:
I have walked up Cuckoo Lane from the Wirral Way end and there is already some evidence of sandstone being dug up. However there' s still quite a substantial amount left, and I don't think they have started the widening yet so it may not be too late to save at least the bottom part of the Lane
I also walked along the field edge adjacent to the top end of the Lane and the destruction is heartbreaking. There were 2 diggers on site and a wagon waiting to drop off a load of Tarmac. I would say that the work was clearing still going ahead - appears we have been lied to by the Council
Still no reply from Kay Loch re the BOAT issue and no substantive reply from the sustainable transport team - I am appalled by their arrogance and total disregard
Anthony A
At 13:54 on 20th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Geoff H has kindly forwarded to me a copy of the archaeological advice relating to this development and, as he says, the archaeologist makes it clear that the sandstone should not be covered. I have asked CW&C for a copy of the contractor's brief to see if they were given this advice but cannot obtain it as the project manager is now away until 6th January. However, in none of the communications I have seen/had with councillors and the project manager has this been mentioned as being a stipulation to the contractor. If, as appears to be the case, solid historical advice is being ignored then it is utterly scandalous - especially as this appears to be a scheme for which there is little, if any, public demand. This is turning into a very murky and unsettling affair which does not reflect well on the machinations of local government.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
At 14:25 on 20th December 2013, Diogenes commented:
The tarmacking was initiated by Ness gardens which are owned by the University of Liverpool. Any possibility that the U of Liverpool is trying to "industrialize" the area to justify the wind turbines and to provide access for their installation at the expense of the taxpayer? Has this decision been made Kay Loch alone? Why are we paying Ms Loch to destroy the natural environment? It appears that she is obviously spaced out!

At 14:27 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:
Well said Antony. I think the fact that not through want of effort none of us have been able to get any answers to our questions must at best make us all suspicious of dirty dealings afoot. I am a project manager, and am convinced that the contractor's brief will be held on a shared drive controlled by the configuration librarian - there should be no problem accessing it regardless of who is in the office.
It looks increasingly that Councillor Loch and Ms Edwards are hoping that through a toxic combination of delay and obfuscation they will win enough time to finish the work, and that it will all be forgotten about. Well I for one will not let this drop - the whole thing smacks of malfience in office. Shameful behaviour by all concerned
Old Timer
At 14:47 on 20th December 2013, Old Timer commented:
Just returned from the site. Sadly they have progressed way beyond the junction with the footpath which leads past the nature reserve to Woodfall lane. Tarmac planings have been laid about 75 metres past this point down the sloping section of the lane .Beyond that a similar stretch has been excavated in preparation for the hard core. The remainder of the hollow section of the lane has been completely trashed by the tracks of the contractors vehicles passing up and down for a week. Currently the machine are tidying up the areas close to the hedges that have been used to accommodate the spoil dug from the main track. I understand they are to start working upwards from the bottom of the lane as soon as the edges have been completed to avoid the need for the machines to traverse the newly laid surface. The contractors instructions are to lay a 3 metre wide track over the whole length of the lane using the recycled tarmac road planings . Environmental vandalism ,what a shame
Old Timer
At 14:54 on 20th December 2013, Old Timer commented:
As there are two threads going on this topic I am giving this info already on the other one. All interested parties are asked to attend a photo shoot and meeting with the press tomorrow at 12.30 at the Gorstons Lane end of Cuckoo Lane . See you there.
At 14:55 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:
With reference to Ness Gardens involvement with the scheme, it should be of interest to note that their were plans to shut the gardens during the winter months, apart from one day a week, and to reduce opening hours in the Summer. The University are currently advertising for a Garden and Collections manager, and the job details make it clear that funding will not continue beyond 2015 and that the Garden must break even by that date. If the main motivation of this scheme is to facilitate visitors to the Gardens it's a specious argument to say the least. It seems increasingly likely that the project it is linked in some way to the wind turbine application, and once there is an access road in place, it will be that much harder to protest about any future housing developments planned on the adjoining fields. Maybe it's time for Councillor Loch to make a full and transparent statement on the decision making process behind this and her part in it, or resign
Anthony A
At 15:41 on 20th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Having just returned from Cuckoo Lane I regret to advise that the entire length from the Wirral Way has been utterly devastated. The section along the top of the hill, and part way round the corner, is deep in planings to a width of 3 metres - far more than is required to facilitate a simple 'improvement' for cylists and walkers which was the alleged motive given for the exercise.
In the lower section - the holloway - the verges have been destroyed since yesterday and thick mud spread across both sides of the track. Only a little of the sandstone base now remains visible and some of this has clearly been scraped at by the digger - so much for the 'only tidying up' that Bethan Edwards, which the CW&C Council project manager claimed would happen today. All of this runs contrary to the advice of the county archaeologists who recognised the historical importance of this route and specfically said that the sandstone should remain uncovered - yet I have been told by one of the parties involved that the archaeologists' views "were taken into account".
I would like to believe this is all cock-up rather than conspiracy but I am now struggling to convince myself that there has not been brazen duplicity somewhere along the way.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
At 16:52 on 20th December 2013, Philw commented:
I am disappointed in Councillor Loch's attempts to brush aside our opposition to her scheme to "improve" Cuckoo Lane, primarily because it appears to have scant regard for the wishes of her electors but also it now seems that Cllr Loch has tried to avoid responsibility for this debacle,

Initially Cllr Loch had been happy to be associated with this scheme and had been quoted on CH64 as "having been working for some time with Bethan to obtain this substantial improvement to the poor state of Cuckoo Lane and am very pleased that the work will be starting shortly

However when the brickbats from her electors began Councillor Loch quickly attempted to sidestep them with an ill thought out and factually incorrect statement:

"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." this statement from Cllr Loch is untrue, Cuckoo Lane is detailed on the definitive plan as a bridleway- not open to all traffic.

"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", Cllr Gittins has refuted this claim and stated that the meeting was chaired by a local resident. - Who should we believe?

"There is no requirement for public consultation for a surface improvement to a BOAT" - Yet again Cllr Loch does not see the value of our locality surely if she had this would not have happened lane is not a BOAT does Cllr Loch actually know what she is talking about?

Kevin Reid of Ness Gardens initiated this scheme early on in the transport meetings in order to improve access to Ness Gardens " so now it is somebody else's fault

"it was agreed that the scheme would be an improvement to the public network and improve access to the Wirral Way from Little Neston". Has Cllr Loch inadvertently created a fait-acompli? Once Cuckoo Lane has been tarmaced over it will be a short step for it being used for the proposed wind turbines, while not granted the application can only be supported by this new access road

CW&C Highways consulted both archaeologists and ecologists and taken their comments into account when scheduling the works. - These recommendations have been ignored

Clearly Cllr Loch has attempted yet again to gain positive publicity, this is not the first time that this self aggrandising politician has attempted this: I remember her election leaflets claiming that she had supported the residents of Ness in their Village Green application, when the truth was that she refused to help and identified herself at the hearing as a neutral observer & not a supporter.

Given all of the above and the evident strength of local feeling against the actions of Cllr Loch, I feel that the time has come for Cllr Loch to make a correct choice for once and to resign.

I trust that other concerned residents will join me in calling for Cllr Loch's speedy resignation.
At 17:10 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:
I have written to the Leader of the Council and the elusive Ms Loch to invite them both to the meeting tomorrow - doubtful that either party will turn up, but you can but try
The longer this goes on, with no concession from the Council that mistakes may have been made, and that the work should be held in abeyance until concerns have been addressed, the angrier I get. The conceit and self-importance of those involved in this scheme of brutish vandalism, hiding behind excuses, ignoring emails, feeding us misinformation about the classification of the Lane etc absolutely horrifies me. As Anthony said, it's brazen duplicity, which I believe is fuelled by the arrogance of those in positions of power thinking they know better than their electorate - shameful. If they were teenagers wreaking this sort of vandalism and destruction they would be forced to do Community Service in high-vis waistcoats - why should Councillor Loch et al be allowed to get away with!!
At 18:08 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:
Well here is Councillor Loch's considered reply with Ms Edwards' contribution. If you weren't angry before reading it you will be afterwards. I have told Councillor Loch that her reply is a disgrace - not one ounce of consideration given to the outpouring of genuine concern on this forum. I'm not interested in scoring political points but remember her high handed attitude come the next election and utilise your franchise wisely. I think it's time to put the human chain operation into action!

Loch's reply below

Thank you Helen and apologies for the incorrect info on classification.

From: EDWARDS, Bethan R (Transport)
Sent: 20 December 2013 12:46
To: LOCH, Kay (Councillor)
Subject: Confirmation of PRoW

Morning Kay,

I have just checked with PRoW and it appears that Cuckoo Lane is a Bridleway as opposed to a BOAT after all, with access rights for the farmer and his vehicles only. That being said, it makes no difference to our scheme as we’re only bringing it up to standard for peds, cyclists and horse riders. I have asked the press team to take out the mention of BOAT in the response that Lynn Riley is being asked to send out.

Kind regards,

At 18:15 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:
Their gross mistake in the classification of the Lane must also put into doubt the efficacy of Councillor Loch and Ms Edwards' decision making process. It's easy to see how they were able to ignore the recommendations of the experts they commissioned - they probably decided "it made no difference to our scheme" For scheme read vanity project or publicity opportunity. It's a disgrace
At 19:03 on 20th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Anthony A

My husband took photos of the sandstone pavement on Thursday whilst it was still OK. Do you have any today?
Dave Carter
At 19:24 on 20th December 2013, Dave Carter commented:
I really don't want to take sides in all this, I am not even a Little Neston resident much less a representative, however:

Concerning bridleways, section 30 of the Countryside act 1968 states that:

"(1)Any member of the public shall have, as a right of way, the right to ride a bicycle, not being a mechanically propelled vehicle], on any bridleway, but in exercising that right cyclists shall give way to pedestrians and persons on horseback.

(2)Subsection (1) above has effect subject to any orders made by a local authority, and to any byelaws.

(3)The rights conferred by this section shall not affect the obligations of the highway authority, or of any other person, as respects the maintenance of the bridleway, and this section shall not create any obligation to do anything to facilitate the use of the bridleway by cyclists."

And some other things which are not relevant here. So if Bethan thinks that they are obliged to facilitate cycle access to this bridleway, she is wrong.
Anthony A
At 19:53 on 20th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Hi Cathy 21, I didn't get any of the sandstone pavement today - it was getting dark when I got there. I will get some tomorrow. If you wish to share yours feel free to email them (annakinsmith@btinternet.com) or, if you are on facebook tag them to my Wirral Walks page.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
At 20:32 on 20th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Dave Carter, What are the regulations about turning a bridleway into a Road? Eg Woodfall lane by the school is now a surfaced road.

Anthony, will download ours and email them to you tomorrow.

Will you be at the gathering tomorrow?
Robert P
At 22:02 on 20th December 2013, Robert P commented:
I am appalled by the complete disregard for the landscape heritage and the wanton act of vandalism. Ironically I am an LSTF Project Manager, though not in this area, and I am sure that the regional Steering Board would not look favourably on such a cavalier attitude. What has Sustrans to say on the matter? My dealings with them in parts of Merseyside is that they advocate a sensitive approach and although preferring 3m width in heavily used shared use routes they recognise that 2m or less is appropriate especially if a bridleway can be kept separate with a natural surface.
Whilst advocating increased cycle access generally this should not be at the expense of precious landscape heritage and urbanising the rural environment.
I shall be there at the protest tomorrow
At 22:36 on 20th December 2013, Helen commented:
Thanks Robert - look forward to seeing you tomorrow. The more people at the meeting the better I think
Dave Carter
At 22:55 on 20th December 2013, Dave Carter commented:

Sorry I don't know at the moment how change of status happens, this is of course in the CWaC remit not Town Council. I will try to do a bit of digging in the new year. I can't make tomorrow, or I probably can't as we have something on I need to be around for.

Dave Carter
Anthony A
At 23:49 on 20th December 2013, Anthony A commented:

A member of CW&C's six-person Executive Committee (effectively a director of the council) is apparently intending to issue a press release on the Cuckoo Lane debacle. I have tonight written to her asking her to address a number of points in the release or, failing that, to supply me with some answers to the points for onward transmission to all those concerned locally. My email to her is rather too long to reproduce here but if you wish to contact me I will send you a copy (annakinsmith@btinternet.com).
(Your email address will not go on a database or be used for any other purpose.)
Hope to see everyone at 12.15 on Saturday.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
Susan C
At 10:03 on 21st December 2013, Susan C commented:
This pleasant area was one of the few where one could stand and listen and not hear traffic; sometimes muddy and diffiult, but it was great to feel that one was out in the wilds even if only briefly!
Was the local history society, (who have studied this area for decades) consulted on its historical relevance ? (They know more about its detailed history than any Cheshire archeologist, much as I bow to the archaeologists' expertise on some matters)?
Susan Chambers
At 10:26 on 21st December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Come to the meeting today 12:15 at the junction of Gorston and Rock farm Dr, where Cuckoo Lane comes out.
At 10:47 on 21st December 2013, Helen commented:
Sadly I don't think many bodies or experts were consulted, and if the were, their views dismissed. If you look on the Council's websites there are links to notices on public path orders, showing closures etc, and Definitive Map Modifications applications. So even if we accept their dubious claim that they were not obliged to consult the public on their plans, at least the closure of the path for 3 weeks should have been listed.
I have made a formal complaint to the Council this morning stating that their decision to make the improvements is flawed as it was based on the erroneous belief that the Lane was a BOAT. I have also complained about the lamentable lack of information provided by Bethan Edwards and Councillor Loch. You can complain on line, and it's really easy so make your voices heard! I am also investigating lodging a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman - we need proper answers as to what's gone on
At 11:08 on 21st December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Helen, Do you have a link for the Council Website?
Thanks. See you Saturday 12:15

For everyone who doesn't know come to a meeting at junction of Gorston and Rock Farm Drive at 12:15 today Saturday 21st

Anthony A
At 11:11 on 21st December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Regarding the wanton destruction of Cuckoo lane by CW&CC, BBC Radio Merseyside have indicated that they will run the story on their one remaining news bulletin today, at 1200. Other areas of BBC news have also indicated that they may run the story. I will keep readers posted.
At 11:29 on 21st December 2013, Helen commented:
Cathy - I think this is the link eforms@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
If that doesn't work if you go onto the Council's homepage and click the Contact Us tab that will take you to a page with a tab on the right-hand side called Complain or provide feedback
At 11:47 on 21st December 2013, Helen commented:
I have just been forwarded this email which will be of interest

Both, FYI

From: EDWARDS, Bethan R (Transport)
Sent: 20 December 2013 17:24
To: LOCH, Kay (Councillor)
Subject: FW: Cuckoo lane

As discussed.

Kind regards,


Bethan Edwards
LSTF Programme Manager
Safe and Sustainable Travel Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council

Visit us at: www.itravelsmart.co.uk
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/itravelsmart

-----Original Message-----
From: JEFFREY, John
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2013 04:35 PM GMT Standard Time
To: GITTINS, Louise (Councillor)
Cc: EDWARDS, Bethan R (Transport); SEWARD, Charlie; WILLIAMS, Sian (Engineering); CARROL, Kevin; COLLINS, Kieran
Subject: RE: Cuckoo lane

Dear Cllr Gittins,

Thank you for the emails, I understand the work will not restart again fully until the 13 January 2014 and I have therefore asked my Highway team to look at the concerns being expressed by yourself and the other residents via the website link you provided.


On initial feedback, the service teams believe they are acting properly and the works being carried out are in fact legal and very necessary, I will make some further inquiries upon my return to work on the 2 January but at present I understand the actual works carried out are correct and as was intended. The Council will be issuing a formal statement to this effect in the near future.


John Jeffrey
Director of Localities

Tel: 0151 356 6539
E Mail john.jeffrey@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

From: GITTINS, Louise (Councillor)
Sent: 20 December 2013 13:23
To: WILLIAMS, Sian (Engineering)
Cc: EDWARDS, Bethan R (Transport); JEFFREY, John; SEWARD, Charlie
Subject: Cuckoo lane

Hi Sian; I'm contacting you as Bethan is away now. I was very disappointed to see that the work on cuckoo lane has continued today despite assurances it would stop yesterday. As I requested yesterday please can this stop immediately pending further investigation. This is attracting much publicity and putting the council in a very poor light
Susan C
At 12:24 on 21st December 2013, Susan C commented:
This reminds me of the recent Chester bus station saga, where the Council paid no heed at all to the views of users and wasted a vast amount of money doing something nobody wanted and was totally unnecessary.

I have incidentally just spent 15 minutes on CWAC web-site and cannot find what the 'Director of Localities' does? Mr Jeffreys appears to be Head of Waste Management and Street Scene 2012/13- is there a connection? I am intrigued as to the term 'very necessary' in his e-mail to Cllr Gittins.

Oh for old fashioned local democracy!

Susan Chambers
At 13:40 on 21st December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
An interesting meeting at Cuckoo lane, about a hundred people.
One person pointed out that the waste and tarmac being used up the lane is a biohazard and shouldn't be used near farmland. Another person picked up a broken hone that was in the tarmac and bits of metal, surely a safety hazards for walking children.

NB Louise has set up a Save Cuckoo Lane Facebook page.
At 15:27 on 21st December 2013, Helen commented:
Good turn-out today - still no real answers from Councillor Loch but it's good to know she thinks we can't live in the past - presumably why she thought it acceptable to destroy a 700 year old Lane.
Just in case you missed it we are meeting with Councillor Gittins at 8.30am on Monday to make sure that the Council don't back down on their undertaking that works won't begin again until 13th January. Remember they lied to us before so can't be trusted to stick to their word so be there if you can
Thanks to Anthony and Geoff for organising the meeting and for speaking so eloquently
Anthony A
At 15:32 on 21st December 2013, Anthony A commented:

Firstly – a huge thank you to everyone who turned out at the meeting today. It was great to see so many people there. Clearly there is much strength of feeling about this act of council vandalism.
The latest council communication shows they have no intention of backtracking and ominously say that work won’t start again ‘fully’ until 13 January…….which presumably means they WILL be working there in the mean time. So...
1) Please keep your eye on any work being undertaken and report it here and/or on the Facebook page which Louise Gittins has established (thanks Louise). Please also take photographs as the contractors wreak their havoc.
2) Can I ask everyone who is concerned to lobby widely please. This means contacting as many of the following as possible:
- Local councillors. It was good to see Kay and Louise there today so that they are aware of the strength of feeling. However an email to them from everyone who is concerned would reinforce the point;
- Andrew Miller, the local M.P. (millera@parliament.uk);
- Cheshire West and Chester council. They have an online ‘Complaints’ page. Also, as no single point owner has yet stepped forward publically to take ownership for this scheme you might also try: lynn.riley@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk (executive responsible for highways), john.jeffrey@ceshirewestandchester.gov.uk (‘Director of Localities’ (don’t ask me!)), Bethan.edwards@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk (project manager for the scheme)and sian.williams@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk (scheme engineer).
- Any local media – BBC News, Wirral News, Ellesmere Port Pioneer, Chester Chronicle, Wirral Globe etc. etc.
- Neston Civic Society who have an interest in overseeing the local heritage;
- The management at Ness Gardens who, we have been told, initiated this woeful scheme (though I do not know if they endorse its outcome) (kfhreid@liv.ac.uk or nessgdns@liv.ac.uk);
- The Local Sustainable Transport Fund who paid for and presumably support this ludicrous project (contact details please anyone?);
- Sustrans so they can see the kind of environmental destruction being perpetrated for their cause (reception@sustrans.org.uk or their regional office: 0161 923 6050).
3) Please continue to comment on the AboutMyArea website and use the Facebook page ‘Save Cuckoo Lane’. Louise is also tweeting at #savecuckoolane
4) Please also ask your friends and neighbours to get involved and lobby too.
5) Finally, if anyone can send me any photos of the meeting today, or ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots of the lane I’d be very grateful so I can use them in publicity.
I suspect the council think this will all be forgotten by the new year. Please don't let them be right!
Anthony Annakin-Smith (annakinsmith@btinternet.com)
Geoff H
At 16:18 on 21st December 2013, Geoff H commented:
Thanks to all for a great turnout today. It far exceeded my expectations, particularly as the Pioneer made its request just 24 hours earlier and it is the last Saturday before Christmas, when most people are busy. Cllr Loch seems totally unrepentant and I agree with Anthony's comments above that we must not let this drop and also assume that AlLL work will not stop until 13th Jan.

I'm tied up for the rest of today but will be working on this issue tomorrow. By the way, if anyone wants to contact me by email, please use happyrambler1@gmail.com

Thanks again, everyone.

Geoff Holland
At 17:10 on 21st December 2013, Philw commented:
I think those who were at the meeting today will agree that we can expect no help at all from Cllr Loch, who rather than coming to the meeting to listen to the views of her electors, came armed with a handout to try and justify her actions. If only Cllr Loch had spent as much time getting her facts in order as she did on preparing this grubby piece of propaganda, then we might not have seen the destruction to Cuckoo Lane. I know that Cllr Louise Gittins has promised to attend on Monday at 8.30 am, to ensure that the contractors do not continue with the works. Please attend if you can so that we can continue to show our displeasure at this wanton act of vandalism.
At 17:46 on 21st December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
I got one of the handouts. It states that the photos were taken Spring 2013. It was obviously raining as she or whoever was the photograher has part of an umbrella in up position in the second photo. It sataes the surface was chosen to maintain the rural character of the lane. It doesn't and one lady found a broken mobil and some bits of metal.
Louise said she has been advised to go at 8am. I'll try to get there.
Great work everyone.
CO Jones
At 18:16 on 21st December 2013, CO Jones commented:
What an absolute shambles. This is wanton destruction of the environment and the only reason this work is being done is so obvious, it is painful.

It is so they can get the lorry in with the turbines on. All involved in facilitating this destruction should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. I am glad I did not attend the meeting as I would not have been able to hold back from confrontation with the imbeciles who signed this off..

One of the lines in the email quoted above states "the service teams believe they are acting properly and the works being carried out are in fact legal and very necessary, " Very necessary to who? Not the walkers, horse riders and cyclists ! No, very necessary for the wind turbine lorries.

Councillor Loch you are an absolute disgrace and should hang your head in shame.
At 18:20 on 21st December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
CO Jones, A lot of people at the meeting this morning thought as you, Turbines!
Dave Carter
At 18:27 on 21st December 2013, Dave Carter commented:
CO Jones,

I wil repeat what I wrote on the other thread which is that I am absolutely certain that this is not to do with wind turbines, because if the road was needed for the turbines CWaC would sit tight and make the University of Liverpool pay for it. The fact that they are doing this at their own expense indicates if anything that CWaC are not expecting the turbines to go ahead, or at least Councillor Loch isn't.

I think that there is a really good case against the path, based largely upon what Anthony has written, but please do not weaken it by erecting your own straw man for CWaC to shoot down.

In my view the reason for this is very close to that put forward by Helen in the very first post below the first article. It is the disproportionate influence that the cycling lobby has within CWaC.

Most local cyclists seem to be against this though, and thats something to point out.
CO Jones
At 18:28 on 21st December 2013, CO Jones commented:
Hi Cathy, I have to admit, thus far i have been on the fence regarding the turbines but am very upset at what has happened up there. Shocking.

I just cannot put into words the contempt I have for the people who signed off on this.

I work for the Environment Agency and would be very interested in whether there has been an Environmental Impact Assessment carried out pre-work? so much of the bee friendly habitat has been completely destroyed.. All so sad.

What can I do to help?
At 18:30 on 21st December 2013, Jimini commented:
Was councillor Loch solely responsible for this ( she seemed very keen to take the "credit" for it) or were other councillors complicit, if so it would be nice for them to be identified.
CO Jones
At 18:38 on 21st December 2013, CO Jones commented:
Dave Carter,

OK, completely disregarding the amazing free access road being put in for wind turbine lorries at the expense of the taxpayers, how, in any way shape or form is this destruction an improvement?

I am not implying you are for the work by the way and apologise for my seeming confrontational stance on this but I am so annoyed at what has been done.

It is probably all too late now anyway. The damage has been done.

Anthony A
At 18:45 on 21st December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Hi CO Jones

Great to have someone from the Environment Agency on board. Don't know your role but can you bring any influence to bear internally?

Other than that, please see my post above with suggestions for what you can do to help. Lobbying would be brilliant - for example I have this afternoon written to our M.P., Ness Gardens and Sustrans (having sent several emails to various CWAC people already). Will be talking to the media on Monday. We just need to keep the pressure up and make everyone aware how many people are against this madness.

Oh.. and please tell all your friends!
At 18:51 on 21st December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Jimini, only click on the Zing once, it takes a while, every click puts another copy on!
How many councillors even knew about it?
CO Jones
At 18:53 on 21st December 2013, CO Jones commented:
Hi Anthony,

My role is Flood Risk Resilience so not that valuable to this current plight. I actually walked from the Wirral way all the way up the lane late this afternoon and can only assume the plan is to put the planing surface all the way down Cuckoo Lane? Still cant believe this has happened with virtually zero community engagement.
Anthony A
At 19:29 on 21st December 2013, Anthony A commented:

My understanding is that notice is required by law to close a public right of way - and CWACC have attempted to do just that by erecting notices to this effect at each end of Cuckoo Lane. I also believe this notice must take a certain form and be posted a certain time in advance. Is anyone aware of such notice having been given? I cannot see find any evidence for it. I am investigating further.
Louise g
At 22:00 on 21st December 2013, Louise g commented:
Hi to CO Jones could we have a chat re recent tidal surge my email
Katie Robson
At 22:43 on 21st December 2013, Katie Robson responded:
As Cathy says above, please just press the 'zing' button once to submit your comments, otherwise they appear multiple times. Sincere apologies for the slight time lag when posting, it's due to the sheer number of comments on this thread.

Following today's meeting I had other commitments but will endeavour to get a couple of photos of the meeting up tomorrow (will also send some to Antony as requested).

Also, Cllr Loch has emailed me today to ask that it is reiterated on her behalf that the scheme is unrelated to the turbine application, which she has always opposed. I will publish her comments in full when I put the photos up.
Old Timer
At 16:55 on 22nd December 2013, Old Timer commented:
It would be nice if we could have as many happy Santa's to party at the bottom of Cuckoo Lane around 8 am.. I think the contractor will start early and we want to give them a warm welcome.
Mince pies and coffee etc. will be very welcome . .Please remember it is the season of goodwill to all men, well most of them anyway.
Anthony A
At 11:37 on 23rd December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Another great turnout by concerned locals this morning, at each end of Cuckoo Lane. Contractors at the bottom end agreed, after talking to their boss, not to do any further work. An officer from CW&C came along to the Gorstons Lane end to meet a crowd of about 20 locals (or "posse of fxxxxxx kxxx-hxxxx" as one of the contractors called them) including Councillor Gittins who is stronly opposing the scheme. The official was unrepentant about the scheme, alleging there had been full consultation, that the scheme was appropriate and that it was being carried out correctly. She showed no interest in the chunks of broken sandstone littering the verge, and did not believe that the asphalt planings contained other waste such as old electrical equipment despite the evidence we showed her. She did however agree, in front of everyone, that no work to progress the scheme would be carried out without further consultation. She also agreed that only 'tidying up' work would be done today and tomorrow using machinery to compact the ashphalt laid to date; otherwise only hand tools woudl be used to clear mud etc. from the trackway. If anyone spots anything else going on, please let this forum know.

So a huge amount of damage has been done but there appears to be a temporary reprieve. Nevertheless it is important that lobbying continues as the council clearly believe the scheme should continue.
At 14:37 on 23rd December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Well done Anthony and Louise for leading the protest group so efficiently.

Thank you old timer for the mince pies and coffee, really kept our spirits up.
At 14:44 on 23rd December 2013, Diogenes commented:
What happened to Democracy? These elected twits are expected to carry out the wishes of the people. Since there is no support from any one for the destruction of Cuckoo lane, the twits are acting in a dictatorial manner and must not be re-elected. Resignation is out of the question because the twits will not give up their undeservingly high salaries that we pay them. Like Socrates said, "politicians only have to know how to win elections".

Anthony A
At 17:37 on 23rd December 2013, Anthony A commented:

I have managed to hack into a secret online file marked 'Cuckoo Lane: the 10 year Vision'. It even shows the wind turbines. Take a look on my Wirral Walks facebook page (link below)!

Have a great Christmas.

Anthony Annakin-Smith
martyn w
At 19:19 on 23rd December 2013, martyn w commented:
Diogenes, I must say councillors generally work hard for us for no or little money and some tabloid fuelled abuse, even if I don't agree with them. Council officers/workers are of course unelected, they get paid to do a job just like most of us.
At 20:07 on 23rd December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Diogenes and Martyn W
Louise is an unpaid councillor and she works extremely hard. Though officially on holiday she was out on Saturday then again this morning at Cuckoo Lane for 8am in cold, wind and rain. Thank you Louise.
At 21:09 on 23rd December 2013, Jane commented:
Couldn't work out how to post photo I took in March this year, of this the ancient bridleway showing the sandstone, which has already been partly destroyed but not completely. A sacrilege, and that's coming from a keen cyclist. Check out photo on Save Cuckoo Lane Facebook page.
At 00:15 on 24th December 2013, Diogenes commented:
Did not mean Louise. She is wonderful! I meant some of the fat cats in the council.
At 08:06 on 24th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Diogenes, I agree with you four times.
jane, I've seen you photo, brilliant, send to Anthony Annakin-Smith and he'll put it on for you.
At 14:30 on 24th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
HAPPY CHRISTMAS, Carrie and all followers of this intersting debate.
Anthony A
At 11:35 on 26th December 2013, Anthony A commented:

I have today put posters up around Cuckoo Lane asking users to lobby against the devastation being done to the ancient track. If anyone can put any more posters up I would be happy to email you copies (or please make your own).

One of CW&C's justifications for the scheme is that it was fully supported by Neston Town Council - indeed it was allegedly a priority for them. However, no one has yet been able to give me any written evidence for this and there is no record of any such discussion in Town Council meeting minutes. I am writing to all our town councillors to see how many of them knew about the scheme. I have also requested that the issue be discussed at the next full Town Council meeting (28th January).

Incidentally, while I was putting up posters today, many walkers commented to me with horror about what had been done so far.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
Old Timer
At 11:19 on 27th December 2013, Old Timer commented:
You may be interested to read the archaeologists report that was available to the council officers responsible for this projects design.Route 2 running along Cuckoo Lane, Gorstons Lane and the field track follows the line of a historic
routeway which is shown on the 1
Edition OS map running from Ness to Windle Hill and beyond.

The Cuckoo Lane/Gorstons Lane section of the routeway is potentially the oldest section and is recorded
on the 1849 Tithe Map and Greenwood’s map of 1819 where it leads to Windle Hill and continues to what
is now Hanns Hall Road and then possibly on to the Lydiate, the site of a hamlet in the 14
Bryant’s 1831 map divides the upper reaches of Cuckoo Lane (the red section on the map) into Cuckoo
Lane and Padman Way, north of Windle Hill a field to the east of the track is called Padman’s Way Field.
The term ‘Padman’ may refer to a ‘foot pad’ or perhaps the equivalent of a pedestrian; if it is the former it
may suggest the sunken hollow way may have been the haunt of robbers.

Windle Hill is recorded in 1340 as the site of a mill ‘molendinum de Parua Neston’ and on Bryant’s map a
smithy is marked there.

The historic mapping and the documentary evidence point to the route being an ancient trackway perhaps
linking Little Neston and Ness with the windmill during the medieval period. Cuckoo Lane with its high
sides bordered by hedgerow and trees has the features of a medieval hollow way, a heavily used
routeway which results in ‘U’ shaped hollowed out trackway, which thus supports the documentary
evidence. The well worn sandstone surface of Cuckoo Lane is a testament to its ancient and continuing

The sandstone surfacing should therefore not be covered over but ways found of preserving it as an
integral feature of this historic routeway.
The following information was given to me by Neston Town Council Office two weeks ago." Footpaths are not within the council remit but are the responsibility of CW&C. No "wish list "exists and no motion on this matter has ever been passed by council."
I am concerned that it mentions Cuckoo Lane as route 2. Does anyone have any info. on what may comprise route 1.
At 12:05 on 27th December 2013, Helen commented:
Very interesting indeed - would be very interested to see how hard Kay Loch and Bethan Edwards worked to find ways to preserve the ancient sandstone rather than covering it up with bits of old road and associated detritus. I imagine they must have spent quite literally seconds pondering the problem before shrugging their shoulders and exclaiming " ah well one can't live in the past can one"
I will email Loch today to ask her about Route 1 - hopefully it's the Burton cycleway but who knows which other of our beautiful footpaths they have cast their baleful eye on
At 12:55 on 27th December 2013, Diogenes commented:
Although I totally object to the destruction carried out at Cuckoo Lane, there are other issues. Cuckoo Lane for decades has been hijacked by totally irresponsible dog owners and has turned into a dog toilet.

Irresponsible dog owners come from far and wide to let their dogs foul the area and do not clean up, because they can not be seen. The area sticks of dog **** and the soil is a toxic as a result of all the parasites harboured in dog faeces(Toxoplasmosis, toxocara etc.). The number of parasitic diseases transmitted to humans by dogs and cats are over 70 and can survive in the soil for over 7 years. We and many others do not go/take our children for a walk on Cuckoo Lane because it is covered with dog ****. It is a shame , because as I remember it, it is a fantastic lane. It is not only Cuckoo lane, the path at the end of Woodland has also succumbed to the same fate.

From what I heard from various objectors on the gathering of the 21st of December, a lot of objections were centred around their dogs and how they have been taking their dogs to Cuckoo lane for years. Do these people want to preserve the natural setting of Cuckoo lane or their dog toilet?

Finally, Cuckoo lane must be preserved to its natural state, the toxic soil removed, the irresponsible dog owners prosecuted according to the law so that Cuckoo lane (and other lanes) can be enjoyed by every one and ceases to be know as the Dog Toilet of Little Neston.

K & C
At 13:26 on 27th December 2013, K & C commented:
Let us not forget what the issue we are fighting here is, destruction of Cuckoo Lane by the council and upon the wishes of a certain arrogant Tory Councillor. If we get bogged down with dog poo it will not help. Yes there are irresponsible dog owners, just like their are irresponsible people in all areas of life just like there are litter droppers etc., etc., but the post above sounds like a dog hater. To state that those who attended the meeting were wanting to preserve the area for a dog toilet is an insult to those people who cared enough to get out of bed and attend that meeting and to say Cuckoo Lane is the dog toilet of Neston is to denigrate a lovely lane we are fighting to preserve. NOT HELPFUL! Personal and bigoted views about dog walkers have no place on a forum which is about council vandalism of a local beauty spot.
Anthony A
At 13:16 on 28th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
I notice the council's own plan for the Cuckoo Lane works (which Tim A has found: see http://neston.org.uk/cuckoo-lane-improvements) says that undergrowth should be cleared, and planings laid to a width of "2 - 2.5 metres'. The contractors have, in fact, done it to 3 metres. While the scheme is completely unnecessary anyway they should, at least, have carried it out to their own specification!

I note also that the scheme is described as part of 'Ness Cycle Routes' (note the plural - more to come?!). Given that it is clearly intended for cyclists, the previous claim that it was to help 'other vulnerable users' looks spurious.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
Anthony A
At 13:51 on 28th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Video of council offical visit.

A gentleman was taking video of the visit of Sian Williams, the CW&CC engineering officer, to the Cuckoo Lane site on Monday 23rd December. During this visit she claimed adamantly that the Town Council were fully consulted about the project (I have yet to find any evidence for this). Please can the person taking the video supply me with a transcript of her comments on this particular point (annakinsmith@btinternet.com). Many thanks.
At 14:28 on 29th December 2013, Bernard commented:
In life we can make errors of judgment, I am hoping Kay Loch has had time to reflect on the resulting destruction of Cuckoo lane and have a change of heart. She would gain a lot of respect if she admitted wrong decisions have been made and then put all efforts into saving what remains and perhaps reinstating the original area.
At 18:17 on 31st December 2013, dhc commented:
Having recently walked along Cuckoo Lane with my wife and grandson I was appalled to see the desecration of our lovely country lane.It is hoped that no further work is undertaken on the rest of the path and that nature can heal the ugliness of the work done to date.I cannot imagine that the decision to 'upgrade'!! was taken by a non elected body of people.!!!Let us hope that some degree of common sense will prevail!!
Anthony A
At 18:57 on 31st December 2013, Anthony A commented:
As the year ends, a HUGE thank you to everyone who’s contributed to the campaign so far:
Almost 100 at the protest meeting; 163 Facebook members so far; over 200 AboutMyArea comments; and many letters/emails to councillors, CW&CC officials etc. Just brilliant. We’ve shown that the issue really matters to people.
Also, massive thanks to Louise Gittins for setting up the Facebook page and for her tremendous support to date.
We’ve had some real victories so far – local press coverage with, hopefully, more to come. And the council have conceded that work will not continue until there has been local consultation – we’ll see!
I will be asking to speak at the CW&CC executive meeting next week to request that the project be stopped, and also at the next full Neston Town Council meeting – they have been shabbily kept in the dark by CW&CC.
We all want to save a lovely little lane but, while I’m not a political animal, there is also an issue about democracy here – about utterly daft decisions being foisted on an unwilling public.
The fight continues. Happy New Year!
Anthony A
At 08:54 on 4th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Request for speakers and supporters please!
The announcement of the Neston Town Council meeting is very welcome and I hope everyone will attend. But there's an opportunity before that to make our feelings felt directly to the CW&CC executive as well, in Chester on 8th January at 5.30 p.m. The public have an opportunity to speak there. I've requested to speak and I'd welcome one or two others who also feel passionately (numbers are limited as a total of only 15 minutes is allowed for ALL of the public speakers). Even if you don’t want to speak PLEASE, PLEASE COME ALONG TO CHESTER ON THE 8th (as well as Neston on the 10th) to make CW&CC realise that this issue really matters to local people.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
At 09:06 on 4th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Anthony A, Please can we have details a about where the Chester meeting will be please? Also any info about parking would be appreciated. We always go to Chester by Park and Ride but think that stops at 5:30
At 17:26 on 4th January 2014, Jane commented:
Hi Anthony
As a keen cyclist, but one unhappy at the lack of consultation over Cuckoo Lane, I would be happy to speak. But I would have to leave by 6.15 so that may not be practical. Jane
Anthony A
At 09:52 on 5th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
I am disgusted to read that Cllr Loch alleged at her surgery yesterday that opposition to this scheme was whipped up by her political opponents. As one of the first to protest I can assure her that my opposition is solely because of the unnecessary destruction of the countryside. Cllr Loch misinformed me in writing at the start of this debate that the Town Council had asked for this scheme – but absolutely no evidence has been put forward to support this – and that Cllr Gittins chaired the meeting at which it was discussed – this is simply untrue. However, I was stupid enough to believe her, so my opposition at that point was to every single councillor who supported the scheme regardless of their politics.
Councillor Loch: read all the comments. The people are passionate about the countryside; the politics are irrelevant.
Old Timer
At 12:40 on 5th January 2014, Old Timer commented:
When the work on Cuckoo lane had been in progress for a couple of hours I spoke to one of the contractors. In the course of our amicable conversation he mentioned that there were clumps of ferns in the hollow lane which he had been told not to touch as they were "protected" ,
We have already seen the report from the archaeologist about the sandstone pavement but nothing on the lanes ecology. We know an ecology report exists because Kay Loch tells us so in her infamous contribution to AMA, the one about BOATS. This report should be made public.
K & C
At 18:01 on 5th January 2014, K & C commented:
We are organising a peaceful protest outside the CWAC offices Chester before the meeting on Wednesday 8th Jan. Can people attend at 5pm and bring banners (we will also make some to bring) and then people can go into the chambers (without the banners) to support the issue and I understand the public speaking part is first. Please try to attend and pass on to other like minded people.
Anthony A
At 17:33 on 6th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
I've had a letter today from Andrew Miller M.P. copying me in on a letter he has written to the chief exec of CW&CC asking the council to take account of local concerns before proceeding any further with the works.
While the focus of the Save Cuckoo Lane campaign should remain on saving the track, rather than getting involved in the politics, I am delighted that the local M.P. has recognised the importance of this issue and has lent his weight to the argument.
Incidentally he said that 'a number of constituents' had written to him - so thanks to all who did so. Please keep the pressure up.
Anthony A
At 15:15 on 7th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
As a speaker at Wednesday's CW&CC executive meeting I have been asked to supply my questions in advance. My principal question is: "In view of CW&CC’s commitments in its Altogether Better plan (2011-2015) to consulting and engaging with communities ‘as a matter of course’ and to ‘protecting and enhancing our green spaces’ will it agree to suspend the works on Cuckoo Lane, Little Neston, for sufficient time to allow full consultation to be undertaken with the local community and other interested groups concerning the works?".

I have asked a number of supplementary questions which I can supply to you if you wish (annakinsmith@btinternet.com).

Kathy Owen and Jane Marshall have also very kindly volunteered to speak at the meeting.

Supporters of the campaign would be very welcome from 5 p.m. when we plan to protest peacefully outside the HQ building. The meeting will be webcast at http://www.cheshirewestandchester.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/122728 from 5.30 p.m.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
Old Timer
At 17:53 on 7th January 2014, Old Timer commented:
Anybody need a lift to the council meeting on Wednesday night.?
At 18:48 on 7th January 2014, Philw commented:
You may be interested to know that Mike Jones leader of the Council will be interviewed on Dee106.3 Chester's radio station, this Friday. It would be a good opportunity to keep up the pressure. Your questions can be sent via email to studio@dee1063.com
At 18:49 on 7th January 2014, Philw commented:
You may be interested to know that Mike Jones leader of the Council will be interviewed on Dee106.3 Chester's radio station, this Friday. It would be a good opportunity to keep up the pressure. Your questions can be sent via email to studio@dee1063.com
Anthony A
At 19:27 on 8th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
CW&CC Still Don’t Get it!
Firstly - brilliant turnout of SCL campaigners at council HQ this evening. Thanks everyone and thanks to Kathy, Philip and Jane for speaking so well. With full page coverage in today’s Chronicle too a senior CW&CC person told me that they are very aware of Neston’s anger.
CW&CC intend to use Friday’s town council meeting to present their local sustainable transport scheme which encourages cycling etc. (though this is not what the meeting is supposed to be for; they seem to think it is the place for the consultation that should have happened months ago). They just don’t seem to get that, regardless of the merits of the sustainability scheme, it shouldn’t entail turning historic byways into asphalt roads. Why aren’t they listening?!
The portfolio holder responsible for the scheme, Cllr. Lynn Riley, addressed the group of supporters before the meeting. It was nice of her to come over but she then managed to insinuate that it was the failure of the people of Neston to engage with the debate about the sustainable transport scheme that has led to the Cuckoo lane debacle. Er, run that by me again Cllr. Riley!! I’ve been trying constantly for over three weeks to get a scintilla of evidence that ‘improving’ Cuckoo Lane has ever been on anyone’s agenda. Nothing, nada, zilch.
Friday will be really important. As said above, CW&CC are sending a representative and will be using the meeting to decide whether to suspend the works or not. We need a really good turnout please and for them to realise that putting a road through the countryside is simply unacceptable.
Geoff H
At 22:16 on 8th January 2014, Geoff H commented:
I'm in France this week so apologies for not being able to attend but thanks to all who did. We are fighting a stubborn high handed authority here which has no regard for democracy. The strength of the councils opposition to user's concerns over what appears to be a relatively minor issue just strengthens the believe that there's a big hidden agenda here. Let's hope that we can keep up the pressure.
Anthony A
At 23:15 on 8th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Anthony Annakin-Smith
Do you want to speak at Friday’s meeting?
Town council officials have made it clear to me that speakers must refrain from making points that other speakers have made. It’s certainly not for me to dictate who should or shouldn’t speak, but it would be better if things were co-ordinated so that people don’t duplicate and to make sure everyone gets a turn. Otherwise speakers risk being asked to stop.
I plan to talk about the many errors and omissions in the consultation and delivery process. There is plenty of scope for other perspectives – it would be valuable to hear from different types of user (cyclist, horse riders, the disabled, walkers, families etc.) , and people could discuss the varying impacts of the destruction (ecological, historical, visual etc.), the importance of the lane to local people, the community reaction to the changes, the alleged value of the scheme to Ness Gardens etc. etc.
You may wish to contact me to let me know what topic you plan to cover and I’ll let you know if anyone else plans to cover the same area – but if you want to do your own thing that’s fine! (annakinsmith@btinternet.com)
Katie Robson
At 08:52 on 9th January 2014, Katie Robson responded:
Morning all.

Could I please suggest that we now switch to adding comments only to the thread entitled 'Cuckoo Lane in Little Neston - Latest'? Several of you have been very helpfully adding your comments to all three current threads, but I think it is safe to now just update the main one.

After Friday's Town Council meeting, it's possible that there will be too much to report to be able to add it to an existing article, so there is a good chance I will have to start a fourth, and I wouldn't want you all to have to be adding your comments four times.

Just to reiterate the bullet point I have added at the top of the 'Latest' article - I have received no official press release or comment from CW&C since before Christmas.

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