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Cuckoo Lane in Little Neston - Latest

Published: 26th January 2014 15:26

Protests continue, with gatherings at Cuckoo Lane for BBC North West Tonight and Radio Merseyside coverage over the last few days.

Below is an article published just before Christmas, when protestors gathered on site to express their concerns and discuss ways forward.

Anthony Annakin-Smith interviewed at Cuckoo Lane by Radio MerseysideAnthony Annakin-Smith interviewed by BBC Radio Merseyside at Cuckoo Lane on January 24. Photo by Bernard Rose.

The latest key updates to this are:

Filming by BBC at Cuckoo Lane on Sunday January 26, the next four photos are © Bernard Rose:

BBC Filming at Cuckoo Lane. Photo by Bernard Rose

BBC Filming at Cuckoo Lane. Photo by Bernard Rose

BBC Filming at Cuckoo Lane. Photo by Bernard Rose

BBC Filming at Cuckoo Lane. Photo by Bernard Rose

  • 4.2.2014 - Cuckoo Lane in Little Neston - Saved! 
  • 30.1.2014 - Cheshire West Council Leader 'Mrs' the point over Cuckoo Lane. 
  • 26.1.2014 - BBC North West Tonight filmed protestors at Cuckoo Lane,with footage broadcast on the Sunday evening local news slot. A number of local residents turned out with home made banners and posters to support speakers including Anthony Annakin-Smith and Cllr Louise Gittins. Once again, there did not appear to be anyone at the gathering who was in favour of the work on the lane.
  • 24.1.2014 - BBC Radio Merseyside interviewed Anthony Annakin-Smith at Cuckoo Lane. Around 30 people gathered to show their support for the 'Save Cuckoo Lane' campaign.
  • A slideshow of photos taken by local resident Gerry Moore, of Cuckoo Lane before the work started can be viewed here.
  • SURVEY opened on the 'Save Cuckoo Lane' Facebook page.  If you wish to take part, you can access the survey here.  Results so far (up until Weds 22.1.2014) can be downloaded here. (Opens as Word document).
  • Extraordinary Meeting of Planning & Environment Committee - 17th Jan 2014, 6pm at Neston Town Hall, to consider CWaC's revisions to the scheme at Cuckoo Lane. Full report here.
  • WORK SUSPENDED. Read our report of the Extraordinary Meeting of Neston Town Council here.
  • Several protestors travelled to the Chester HQ of the Council on Weds January 8 to attend the Executive meeting.  Some took the opportunity to ask the Councillors present some probing questions regarding the project.  The impression attendees were left with was that CW&C intend to take a steer from the outcomes of the Neston Town Council meeting on Friday (see bullet point below) and will also be fielding representatives to present the Council's sustainable transport scheme.
  • Andrew Miller, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, has written to Cheshire West and Chester Council, urging them to take account of local concerns before proceeding any further with the works.
  • No official press release or comments have been received by AMA from Cheshire West & Chester Council since before Christmas.

Original article follows:  

Around a hundred people gathered at Cuckoo Lane in Little Neston on December 21st, to protest over the current Council-led 'improvement' scheme.

Cuckoo Lane protest - 21.12.13Around a hundred residents attended the protest on December 21st.

Widely discussed on two separate threads on AboutMyArea in recent days (see links below), the essence of the argument is that some of the Sustainable Transport funds allocated to the Neston area are being used by Cheshire West and Chester Council to clear, widen and tarmac Cuckoo Lane, which in the eyes of many local residents should have been left well alone.

Cuckoo Lane has been used as a thoroughfare for hundreds of years and has often been cited as one of the area's most attractive walking/riding routes.  It is officially designated as a bridleway, though much of the controversy thrown up over the past few days circulates around it's mis-designation as a 'BOAT' (By-way open to all traffic). 

Local author Antony Annakin-Smith led the protest, alongside Geoff Holland of the Wirral Footpath Association.  Mr Annakin-Smith addressed the gathering and read out some correspondence received from CWaC.  In one email (reproduced in full in the comments section of one of the threads linked below), Council officer John Jeffreys had stated that: "On initial feedback, the service teams believe they are acting properly and the works being carried out are in fact legal and very necessary."

Cuckoo Lane protest - 21.12.13Antony Annakin-Smith (left) and Geoff Holland address the crowd.

Some suspect that the timing of the works means that this project is a back-door facilitation for the installation of Wind Turbines nearby - an assertion that Councillor Kay Loch, who has come in for a considerable amount of criticism over the project, vehemently denies:

"Nothing could be further from the truth. As you know, I have opposed the wind turbine application vigorously and it is currently pending whilst the applicant considers the strong objections on air safety grounds from both Liverpool and Hawarden airports."

At the protest meeting on Saturday morning, Cllr Loch handed out a statement to residents, which stated that the bridleway had been identified as requiring improvements to make it more accessible to a wider range of users in all weathers, addressing 'trip hazards' and using a surface tthat would discourage excessive speed from cyclists. 

The choice of surface was one of the issues raised at the meeting, with one attendee stating that hoggin should be used in place of the material piled up on site at the moment which appears to contain fragments of metal and other waste material.

Cuckoo Lane protest - 21.12.13Cllr Loch handed out a statement and was the target of verbal abuse from some protesters.

Cllr Loch's statement continued:

"The route has been prioritised over other potential improvements as it makes the Wirral Way more accessible for all by connecting residential areas to Hooton Station/ Ness Gardens and Leahurst.

"The work has been funded from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) which was secured in June 2012 to address economic growth in Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston through addressing links to employment. LSTF aims to enhance routes to work by addressing transport barriers in order to grow the economy through providing services and infrastructure which encourages more sustainable forms of travel.

"The scheme does not require planning permission and therefore a public consultation is not required although it was presented to the public at a CH64 Transport meeting in Neston Town Hall on 24 July 2013. Whilst appreciating the historic character of Cuckoo Lane, we aim to ensure that our ancient routes are fit for purpose for current users."

Work has apparently now stopped for the Christmas break, although Councillor Louise Gittins and some residents stated their intention to be on-site on possible work days over the period to ensure that work has indeed halted to allow time for a re-think by the Council, in light of the strong feelings being expressed.

Cuckoo Lane protest - 21.12.13

Cuckoo Lane - Before

Cathy21 has kindly shared the following six photos with AboutMyArea, taken in the past, before the works on Cuckoo Lane commenced:

Cuckoo Lane - Before

Cuckoo Lane - Before

Cuckoo Lane - Before

Cuckoo Lane - Before

Cuckoo Lane - Before

Cuckoo Lane - Before 

Related articles:

Cuckoo Lane in Little Neston - Saved!

Cheshire West Council Leader 'Mrs' the point over Cuckoo Lane

Future plans for Cuckoo Lane remain unclear following second Neston Town Council meeting

Work suspended as CWaC bows to people power

Local writer and Councillor at loggerheads over Cuckoo Lane

Cuckoo Lane in Little Neston to close for maintenance works.

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At 09:38 on 22nd December 2013, 8H commented:
It is far from clear to me that Councillor Loch opposes this crude destruction, especially as she has claimed credit for herself in an article on this very web site citing herself as its principal architect. I don't think it's thanks or votes we should be offering to her.
Louise g
At 10:32 on 22nd December 2013, Louise g commented:
It was a fantastic turn out. A couple of things I'm following up are: the farmer wasn't consulted and he has allegedly said that his cows will struggle to walk on the material being laid and also that Leahurst were not consulted either and they could have animals on the path too. I'm also pursuing the rumour that there are similar plans for footpaths in Ness!!! Can I make it clear that I was not consulted either: it may have been discussed at the ch64 meeting but I can't remember and neither can Cllr Williams and Beth admits she can't remember what she said as it was 6 months ago after all. I found out by chance
Best wishes
Anthony A
At 10:45 on 22nd December 2013, Anthony A commented:
8H: Kay Loch is strongly in favour of the alleged 'improvements' to Cuckoo Lane, which I have yet to find anyone else wanting, but has 'campaigned vigorously' against the proposed turbines (see quote in news story above).
Anthony A
At 11:33 on 22nd December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Louise - are you saying that even the owner of the land did not know what the council planned for it??!! This gets worse!

More generally I am struggling to find any evidence that the detailed plans for the Cuckoo Lane 'improvement' were given any serious local debate at all. There is no reference in town council minutes to them, the CH64 transport meeting minutes are very superficial, and there is no evidence of consultation with local civic or historical organisations. Further, no one has yet been able to supply me with any offical written justification for the scheme or detailed plan of the works that were put forward for consideration.

Has local democracy gone out of the window? What is to stop similar schemes being pushed through on a council whim in the future?

Please can I ask Kay Loch to provide me with a copy of all the publicly-available documents that have been produced during the evolution of the Cuckoo Lane project?
Susan C
At 13:42 on 22nd December 2013, Susan C commented:
It is the final line of Cllr Loch's statement that sends a chill through my bones
-'Whilst appreciating the historic character of Cuckoo Lane, we aim to ensure that our
ancient routes are fit for purpose for current users.'

My personal view is that is the simple basic reason for this scheme. The ramifications, (including a mention of 'trip hazards' somewhere along the line) are horrifying.
Why on earth should our precious, peaceful ancient highways be desecrated - are wheel chairs going to be mentioned next? There must be a balance between accessibility and conservtion of local historical features, and this has been ignored.

And how on earth can such a gross error over the designation of the bridleway have been made?

Susan C
Dave Carter
At 16:00 on 22nd December 2013, Dave Carter commented:

Funny you should say that because making the path available for wheelchair and other disabled users is the one coherent and reasonable argument I have heard from supporters of this project. I support this aim in principle but a medieval sandstone footpath is not the right place.
Old Timer
At 16:01 on 22nd December 2013, Old Timer commented:
Quite easily really . Gorstons Lane and the westerly end of Woodfall Lane are shown as bridleways but should infact be designated as BOATS as they are open to all traffic .
Old Timer
At 16:04 on 22nd December 2013, Old Timer commented:
Will I be able to sledge on Cuckoo Lane when it snows then?
Old Timer
At 16:06 on 22nd December 2013, Old Timer commented:
Be like the Cresta run!.
Susan C
At 17:26 on 22nd December 2013, Susan C commented:
RE Dave Carter's response above: yes, that is the point, a centuries' old track cnnot be made totally accessible to all without damaging its historical and environmental aspects. We cannot have it every way unfortunately.

Sometime in the next few months a comprehensive book on Neston's history is going to be published, and I think this part of the section on Little Neston is relevant -
"The exposed sandstone that is a prominent feature of this part of the parish provided a solid base in addition to building material for the cottages. Most of the farms and cottages were built around the Green, where the exposed sandstone can still be seen. Mellock Lane led from the village centre past one of the wells and petered out into the fields; the Rake, now Lees Lane, led up to the common grazing, past another well. Several old tracks, still passable and peaceful today, ran between the fields to the east of the Green area – Cross Lane, Padman Way, Ditch Way, Cuckoo Lane and Woefy Lane."

Let us hope this paragraph is not out of date before the book is published!
Dave Carter
At 19:30 on 22nd December 2013, Dave Carter commented:
What you could do if you wanted to preserve the track and allow wheelchair access would be to run a boardwalk above the track, but that might be too expensive both in terms of capital and maintenance costs.
K & C
At 19:41 on 22nd December 2013, K & C commented:
This kind of arrogant decision is typical of Cllr Loch and her Tory ilk. Riding roughshod over the community and using the good old chesnut 'elf and safety' as the ludicrous reason for widening the road when we all know it is to get ready for the lorries which will erect the wind turbine. Cllr Loch and her side kick Cllr Lynne Riley need to go, how dare they destroy our landscape with such little regard for the public who pay huge amounts of council tax yet appear to be superfluous when decisons about their community take place! Let us send a clear message to them both at the time of elections.
martyn w
At 22:46 on 22nd December 2013, martyn w commented:
If the tarmac is being laid for wheelchair access, why does it have to be 3 metres wide?

If Cuckoo Lane is a 'Byeway Open to All Traffic', and it connects Gorstons Lane with the A540, it will become a road, and no longer be at all safe or pleasant for walkers, cyclists or horse riders.

If my old OS map is correct and Cuckoo Land is a bridleway, then money has been wasted laying down a 3 metre swathe of unwanted tarmac for walkers and horse riders.

Either way it's not good.
Anthony A
At 11:31 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. She 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.
Anthony A
At 11:34 on 23rd December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Sorry, let me make it clear when I say 'she was unrepentant about the scheme' I meant the CW&C official, not Councillor Gittins who is doing everything she can to get it stopped.
Dave Carter
At 12:21 on 23rd December 2013, Dave Carter commented:
Hmm... is it really appropriate that they should be compacting the ashphalt laid to date? I would have thought that would make it more difficult to remove if that is what the outcome is to be. Not that I really know.
At 13:06 on 23rd December 2013, Dafydd commented:
Anyone who thinks what is being done to Cuckoo Lane is an improvement, whether coucillor or council official, lacks judgement. The idea that every place should be actually accessible to everybody, whatever their state of health or disabilities, though generous, is misconceived. In my own case, my age means that places I once enjoyed are no longer accessible in practical terms. I would not want such places destroyed so that I could go where once they were. What is being proposed and begun for Cuckoo lane will be its destruction and not an improvement.
Susan C
At 13:24 on 23rd December 2013, Susan C commented:
Wise words, and very much the point I was trying to make yesterday. Supposedly creating total access for everyone's capabilities will lead to loss of the original inherent value. The interesting terrain and natural features of Cuckoo Lane are what made it pleasant. It was good to have access to this untouched unspoilt area within a few minutes' walk of houses and roads.

Anthony A
At 17:35 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
Susan C
At 18:52 on 23rd December 2013, Susan C commented:
Well Anthony, be reasonable, we can't expect Ness Gardens traffic to use Hinderton Road; or Lees Lane; or Mill Lane; or Dunsan Lane; or Mudhouse Lane...........can we?
K & C
At 20:16 on 23rd December 2013, K & C commented:
When I asked the Council official what was going to become of all the wildlife, voles, field mice etc that had been decimated along the path verges, she said not to worry it would all grow again. Such knowledge and wisdom explains why we now have a vandalised building site instead of a beautiful pathway!
K & C
At 20:16 on 23rd December 2013, K & C commented:
When I asked the Council official what was going to become of all the wildlife, voles, field mice etc that had been decimated along the path verges, she said not to worry it would all grow again. Such knowledge and wisdom explains why we now have a vandalised building site instead of a beautiful pathway!
At 20:41 on 23rd December 2013, Helen commented:
https://pic.twitter.com/AZWAUdmJH0 Here is photo of the type of rubbish found in the road waste being used to cover Cuckoo Lane. Be in no doubt this is no decorative gravel ! How can Cllr Loch think that this is in any way suitable to use in our countryside?
At 10:39 on 24th December 2013, GO commented:
To Antony A and others -
To increase pressure, I suggest you raise the public profile by contacting national media which is short of news at this time of year. You may get airtime which at other times you would not. A call to the BBC newsroom might result in a short mention in the NW local news TV slot or even a mention on the Radio 4 Today programme.
Louise g
At 12:01 on 24th December 2013, Louise g commented:
Just like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful 2014. Thanks to all of you who have been keeping the pressure on this: fantastic community spirit and a great example of people power. I'll update everyone after the holiday period with any developments and don't forget we have a Facebook page: Save Cuckoo Lane and. Anthony's: Wirral Walks. I'll also be tweeting @weezegee and using #savecuckoolane. Apologies to the none techy folks. Thank you all
At 23:02 on 25th December 2013, Dafydd commented:
I walked the length of Cuckoo wLane today. The work done destroys the character of the lane completely and leaves a bleak and charmless route. The urgent task now is to establish defintively whether all proper procedures have been followed by councillors and council officers. If they have not, then what has been done is illegal. In that case the work should undone as far as possible, for example by removing the tarmac planings. The expense should fall upon any councillors or officers who have acted ultra vires, in the same way as, say, a house extension carried out without planning permission might be subject to a demolition order at the offending owner's expense.
Anthony A
At 11:34 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
Guy T
At 12:28 on 26th December 2013, Guy T commented:
Hi - new to the CH64 forum, but would like to add my support to the battle to save Cuckoo Lane and paths. I was out running along Cuckoo Lane and up the sand stone hill this morning, and was shocked by the state of the 'improvements' underway. I regularly run, cycle and walk on footpaths and bridleways around the Wirral and the sandstone hill path was one of the most characterful and unique paths around. How the current work can be of any benefit or added value is hard to understand.
I will also write to the local Councillors to add to the weight of local feeling.

Gary L
At 18:52 on 26th December 2013, Gary L commented:
I would like to lend my support to those protesting against this development. Those of us who live close to councillor Loch's last "sustainable transport project" - the racetrack for cyclists which used to be a pleasant walk (or cycle ride for those who took it slowly enough) along the marsh from Marshlands Road to Burton, can emapthise. I will be joining you in your protests.
Old Timer
At 11:12 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.
Tim A
At 23:55 on 27th December 2013, Tim A commented:
Walked up Cuckoo Lane this afternoon and was shocked and concerned by the work that has been started and the resulting disturbance this ancient byway. The connection that this route provides to the past is self evident from the worn sandstone underfoot and the diverse species in the hedgerows. All this is endorsed by the archaeological comment from CW&C's own web site.
It's such a shame that CW&C do not seem to recognise that an ancient path is as much of a local amenity in it's unspoilt condition as the many other more maintained cycle routes and foot paths that we have here and for which I'm grateful.
Whilst I am in favour of improved access for all and uphold it as a goal we should strive for, this can not be and any cost. The proposed work will in this very special case destroy the thing that is worthy of the access, a historic pathway together with a good portion of it's associated wild life and heritage.
I really hope that our local councillors have the courage required to put a stop to this and have contacted them. We are in danger of loosing the baby along with the bath water.
Tim A
At 08:57 on 28th December 2013, Tim A commented:
Noticed from the Neston Town Coucil web site http://neston.org.uk/cuckoo-lane-improvements that this work was 'partially instigated by Kevin Reid of Ness Gardens to improve access to the Gardens from the Wirral Way'. If this is the objective then why not start with improved signs so that the way is clearly marked? Also the proposed route takes you through Little Neston and then out along Burton Road - far more attractive to turn away from Gorstons Lane and head towards Mill Lane in which case the existing condition of the path on Cuckoo Lane far is superior to what lies ahead!
We have been using this route for years to visit Ness Gardens and the walk along Cuckoo Lane has always been a highlight of the trip. If the work is completed Ness Garden's will not be receiving our patronage.
Anthony A
At 11:51 on 28th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Tim A: I wrote to Ness Gardens a week ago asking for their comments on what has gone on, but no one has replied and I have been unable to get through on the phone today.

I agree with your view. While I would love to see the Gardens thrive, this should not be at the expense of scenic beauty and heritage in the surrounding landscape.

Incidentally, no one (whether council official, Councillor Loch, Ness Gardens or anyone else) has yet been able to supply me with a properly justified business case for this project. I suspect public anger means Ness Gardens risk losing more custom than they can hope to gain.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
Anthony A
At 12:08 on 28th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Old Timer: the routway is mapped earlier than even the council archaeologists indicate. I have copy maps from 1788 and 1789 showing Cuckoo Lane sitting as part of a network of lanes and within an intricate ancient field system. It is almost certainly medieval as are other local holloways e.g. Denhall Lane and Shotwick Lane.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
Anthony A
At 13:03 on 28th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
I notice the council's own plan for the Cuckoo Lane works (which Tim A refers to above: 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' look spurious.
Anthoyn Annakin-Smith
Anthony A
At 13:54 on 28th December 2013, Anthony A commented:
Video of council official 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.
Tim A
At 16:43 on 28th December 2013, Tim A commented:
A walk up Cuckoo Lane is one of my favourite local walks, more often than not we stop at Ness Gardens for a brew, I have a terrible reputation of not doing many miles to the gallon of tea. On that basis I wondered if other visitors and friends of Ness would be interested in the plight of such a beautiful nostalgic walk so posted a message on
their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ness-Botanic-Gardens/143059692401489
At 20:33 on 30th December 2013, BHFL commented:
It was once a beautiful walk with wild flowers such as foxgloves abounding. Such a shame that it is being destroyed. Well done Anthony and Louise for all the work they are doing to save/protect our precious wild route. You can imagine many generations before you enjoying the path and appreciating the wild life, but not now that road planings have destroyed the pleasure. Similarly the Wirral Way used to abound with flowers, birds, bees and pussy willow trees until it was bulldozed, slashed, resurfaced and ruined for wildlife, but made accessible for all like a road!
At 22:20 on 30th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
There are now two strands of this blog. How can we unite the two?
At 22:26 on 30th December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
We need sloe bushes, willow, elderberry etc to re-a-forest the lane. i have fox gloves, any offers for others? There is a Badger footpath, very obviouse, on the holloway, need to save this too.
Katie Robson
At 07:31 on 31st December 2013, Katie Robson responded:
Cathy - unfortunately it's not possible to merge the strands of comments. However, the other articles are hyperlinked in the article above to make it easier for people to find them.
Dave Carter
At 12:33 on 31st December 2013, Dave Carter commented:
Employee, to be fair the Wirral way was not a medieval footpath, it was a Victorian railway line. And the surface is compacted hardcore, which is much more sympathetic. I see plenty of birds and wildflowers walking on the Wirral way (usually the Parkgate to Gayton section). As for bees, there aren't many of them anywhere these days, which is a wider problem.
At 14:18 on 31st December 2013, Cathy21 commented:
Thank you Carrie Spacey.
Best wishes to you for 2014 and to all commentators.
Anthony A
At 18:55 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 13:05 on 1st January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Good coverage in today's editions of the Liverpool Echo and Ellesmere Port Pioneer. Makes me laugh/cry to read Kay Loch saying 'The surface was chosen to maintain the lane's rural character'!!!!
CO Jones
At 20:42 on 1st January 2014, CO Jones commented:
How ironic then that this lane was arguably one of the most bee friendly habitats in the Little Neston and Neston area. It was absolutely full of them last summer including the relatively uncommon Briar Bee. I am no expert but my other half is.

I am back to work in the morning and will not be able to stand in front of any bulldozers for the next week or two but appreciate the efforts of others that can. I walked up Cuckoo Lane yesterday in the pouring rain and the lower half of the track was as it should be. Incredible sandstone pavement and seclusion. The top half looked like an ill conceived and badly delivered attempt at urbanising the countryside. Local authorities are meant to prosecute fly tippers whereas here, seemingly the tax payer is funding it.

Said it before, and will keep saying it. ANYONE involved in the planning and the signing off on this project should hang their heads in collective shame.

Keep the updates coming and best wishes all.
At 21:02 on 1st January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
CO Jones
We did a bee survey last year and counted lots of 4 different types last summer but there were lots of wild flowers.

Everyone, go to FACEBOOK "Save Cuckoo lane" Louise wants 200 members and its nearly there.
CO Jones
At 21:13 on 1st January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Hi Cathy,

I am a non facebooker but have asked my wife to pass the page on to her extensive network of friends. If anyone has any on line versions of coverage, can they link them please. I cant find anything on the echo site and the Ellesmere Port Pioneer must only exist in some parallel on-line universe..

CO Jones
At 21:19 on 1st January 2014, CO Jones commented:
I have only just read this


Quote: 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 use.
The sandstone surfacing should therefore not be covered over but ways found of preserving it as an integral feature of this historic routeway. Unquote.

This is one monumental balls up
At 21:19 on 1st January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
CO Jones, One of the comments had a link to Chester Chronicles article with great photos. We bought the Chronicle on Saturday but couldn't find it. There is 2 strands of comments, might have been on the other one. Try Google Chester Chronicle.
happy new Year CO Jones and everyone.
Dave Carter
At 21:28 on 1st January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
It is here:

CO Jones
At 21:29 on 1st January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Sorry, here again. My better half has tried to join the facebook group and has sent it round to her pals. She has had a message saying that her joining the group has to be approved. If the adminstrator of the group could do that, there may be a few new names to add.

This is the Chronicle article http://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/news/local-news/residents-try-stop-work-historic-6442556

Best Wishes
Anthony A
At 22:42 on 1st January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Sadly, CO Jones, I no longer think this is 'one monumental b**** up'. The way it has been executed and is now being defended by Councillor Loch and council officials strikes me as being cold, calculated and very deliberate. The more I learn and read, the more I think their attitude is utterly cynical and really quite chilling.
At 23:25 on 1st January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Liverpool Uni will withdraw their plan then resubmit them when they have a tarmacked Cuckoo lane,
Anthony A
At 11:54 on 2nd January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Have just had a discussion with the manager in charge of Highways Dept. at CW&CC who are doing the work. At present key people involved in the project are still away but he is planning meetings on Monday and Tuesday to see how things have got to where they are and where they go from here. I plan to contact him again next week. He assured me that no works would be going on covertly in the mean time. Not sure I can push it any further forward at the mo but Louise may have other ideas and contacts.
Anthony A
At 15:18 on 2nd January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Have just had another conversation with a senior CW&CC employee, John Jeffrey – ‘Director of Localities’ I believe. He was very open and willing to listen, and I was able to put a number of points to him regarding the lack of consultation and the nature and scale of the works being undertaken. However he is required to carry out the instructions given to him by his political authorities - and both Councillor Kay Loch and the leader of the council, Mike Jones, remain committed to the work and insist it should continue in the interests of sustainability and accessibility. He did, however, agree to discuss the matter with his colleagues and to review the works to see if their impact should or could be reduced in any way. Sadly, the power concerning what happens to Cuckoo Lane ultimately lies with the politicians; on the other hand the power over what happens to the politicians ultimately lies with the electorate!

I'll keep this forum briefed as things progress.
Susan C
At 16:22 on 2nd January 2014, Susan C commented:
Re-reading Cllr Loch's statement re Local Sustainable Transport Fund- can she demonstrate numbers (estimated even) of people who will benefit from "links to employment" provided by work on this ancient bridle path? Are we supposed to take seriously the suggestion that this will "grow the economy"? If so can we be shown some figures please?
Katie Robson
At 16:55 on 2nd January 2014, Katie Robson responded:
The following has been received today via email, from Eileen and Rob Ward:

We have read the comments made on Aboutmyarea opposing the changes to Cuckoo Lane. We have a different point of view. We've summarised the main objections (excluding comments about wind generators, dog muck and consultation). Our comments are made as local residents, not representing any organisation. We hope that this may help us to come to an amicable compromise.

Objection 1: cyclists might ride too fast, if the surface is made smooth
Our response: One answer is not to make the surface smooth. The Burton Marsh Greenway was made very smooth, and a small proportion of cyclists have used it for racing. Road planings will not make the surface smooth enough for racers.

Objection 2: cars might drive along it
Our response: It now seems to be agreed that this is not a Byway, and only farm vehicles are allowed along it. Bollards could be erected at Gorstons Lane end to stop cars.

Objection 3: sandstone has been dug up or scraped
Our response: We've walked along Cuckoo Lane today. The exposed sandstone is as it used to be. The main exposed section is about 20 metres long, on the steepest part of the path. This secton could be left uncovered, as the archaeologist recommended. If it were covered, rain and gravity would soon expose it again, as it did in the past.

Objection 4: character, derived from narrowness and exposed sandstone will be lost
Our response: The vegetation will soon grow back and the path will become narrow again, as has happened in Mares Hall Lane (between Cuckoo Lane and Lees Lane) and Newhouses Lane (between Well Lane, Ness and Quayside). If cyclists and walkers are encouraged to use the path, a wider path will be an advantage.

Objection 5: verges have been destroyed
Our response They will soon grow back, as happened on the mud left around the ponds and gulleys on the marsh off Parkgate.

Objection 6: a tree has been damaged
Our response A young oak tree has been superficially damaged, probably by a hedge-cutter, and will soon heal itself.

Objection 7: the sloping section is now muddy
Our response If part is covered with road planings, the mud will be covered. If part is left, it will grass over.

Objection 8: vegetation has been cleared to a width of 3 metres, instead of 2 – 2.5
Our response The contractors should not exceed the plan.

The work done so far has made parts of Cuckoo Lane messy: that is inevitable when contractor's vehicles come. In the past, farm vehicles used to drive along the sloping section of Cuckoo Lane occasionally, but the vegetation always recovered quickly.

The junction with the footpath that connects the water tower and Woodfall Lane has been very muddy in the past, because of farm machinery crossing between fields, and is now much improved.
The section between the Wirral Way and the sloping section has also been very muddy in the past. Some time ago road planings were laid on that section, which improved it, but farm vehicles and animals have made it muddy again.

We think it would be an advantage to have Cuckoo Lane, which has long been a bridleway for horses, cyclists and walkers, made more accessible to cyclists, and easier for walkers.

We feel that at the heart of this heated debate should be an acceptance by all of us that we need to 'share the path'. We hope we can compromise.

Eileen and Rob Ward
At 17:12 on 2nd January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Agree with a lot of above with a few reservations.
Sandstone near Gorston lane was laying broken on the verges when we joined the protest on the Monday before Christmas but when the pile of tarmac was removed most of that went too. A lot of us worry that the sandstone pavement further up will be destroyed.
A further worry is that Cuckoo Lane becomes an access road for Turbine building.
Anthony A
At 17:18 on 2nd January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Agree with you on the 'share the path' bit Rob and Eileen but disagree with you on much else you write (too much to go into here).
I also think that ignoring the issue of consultation is rather like asking Mrs Lincoln if she enjoyed the play despite her husband being shot!
Susan C
At 17:31 on 2nd January 2014, Susan C commented:
There would be no point in doing the work if all Eileen and Rob's points were valid surely? The idea (and the reason a LSTF grant was given) was surely to make it a route for accessibility to employment. See Cllr Loch's original piece. A lot of local people like the quiet, unspoiled and yes, unimproved rugged sunken path that it was. See the "Local Sustainable Transport fund- Guidelines on the Application Process" which incidentally makes points about local consultation.
At 18:25 on 2nd January 2014, Gilbey commented:
I moved in to Wood Park House at the Chester High Road end of Cuckoo Lane in 1966 and lived there for nearly twenty years. During that time, as I grew up I either walked or rode on horseback on the lane almost every day.
The sloping section has become rather overgrown in recent years but that is because the farm machinery used by Wood Park Farm has become too large to fit between the high banks in that part of the lane so they have constructed an alternative route along the edge of the adjacent field.
I am absolutely horrified about what the council is doing (particularly at a time when money is tight) to ruin what was always a beautiful, and ancient pathway.
With regard to the lane being a BOAT, I recall in around 1970 or 71 being warned by a local police officer not to use it as a route to Little Neston on my motorcycle. (I only did this twice by the way.) The officer described the lane as a "Bridle Path" and threatened me with prosecution if he saw me again. This was around the time that the woodfall estate was being built (another desecration of the countryside.)
If this work (vandalism) is continued then I imagine it will ultimately become (like the Wirral Way) nothing more or less than a cycle way which gives little or no experience of the true countryside and it will similarly be a place where walkers are constantly at risk fron crazed, Lycra clad, speeding cyclists.
This must not happen!
At 18:32 on 2nd January 2014, Bernard commented:
So reading all the way through that email means it's OK then to use dirty tarmac road debris to create a sustainable pathway for future generations to enjoy...I think not
CO Jones
At 22:10 on 2nd January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Hi Rob,
We know one another and see to eye to eye on many things but I feel that you are being very blinkered with your points. I agree with some of what you say regarding the recovery of the damage already caused to Cuckoo Lane but am dissapointed at what you consider to be progress. I am concerned that there is too much gravitas afforded to cycling lobby groups at the detriment of many other considerations and I say this is a keen walker, runner and cyclist. In the case of Cuckoo Lane we are seeing an ancient path, which has been used for a very very long time in its natural state without any intervention or development, being changed for ever in order to satisfy one interest group at the detriment of many others. You are the first person I have actually heard from who is in favour of the scheme in its current form especially now that Kay Loch is seemingly not capable of engaging in debate.
I just dont understand how the scheme can be justified primarily on the grounds of accessibility when the detirmental impact is so significant. I completely embrace sustainable transport developments but not at this cost. where is the tipping point for those in power when they would actually consider the validity of the archealogical report and decide that the negatives actually outweigh the benefits? When is the urbanisation of the countryside considered a step too far?
I know the whole notion of turbine installation is an area we are not to bring into the debate but I am going to. one of the key stumbling blocks was always going to be accesss for plant machinery and low loaders to the planned site. So we have a scheme proposed by one Liverpool University faculty rejected on several grounds which will undoubtedly be resubmitted in the future and thanks to the cuckoo lane development, fully supported by another Liverpool University faculty a mile or so away, access will be a piece of cake. The access to the propsed site for the turbines is now no problem whatsoever. What an absolute bonuse for the turbine proposers. Incidentally, I am not even particularly anti turbines but I am now at this site.
One last point to consider. I was the unfortunate neighbour in my last house of the footpath "improvements" of Flag Lane between Derwent way and Mellock Lane. This was another scheme that consultation wise involved plant machinery and tarmac turning up at the end of my drive one morning. We did not even get a flyer through the door. On asking the workman what was going on the reply was " footpath improvements mate". so they tarmacced over last green stretch of Flag Lane and almost overnight, I had a driveway deluged with rain water run off as it thundered towards the storm drains rather than taking the natural route down into the soil. It got worse though. Within weeks, the newly tarmacced path at the side of my house was being used as a cut through by the scooter boys, a retreat for cannabis smoking and an incredible amount of smashed glass. By the time we moved out a few months ago, it was being used for drug dealing. I could not wait to get away. I was remined of the tarmaccing of Flag Lane when the engineer from Cheshire West and Chester remarked the other day "but we aint destroying the sandstone pavement mate, we are just covering it up". I truly despair. Cuckoo Lane will Just become another rat run all in the name of improved accessibility.
I suspect many people who intend to use the Cuckoo Lane of the future care little about the irreparable damage the council and the councillors are doing Rob which saddens me greatly. You may consider this as sustainable development and meeting accesibility agendas but to virtually everyone I have spoken to in the last four weeks, you are supporting an act of rural vandalism.
Katie Robson
At 15:55 on 3rd January 2014, Katie Robson responded:
Email received today from Janet Griffiths:

I am writing as a private individual with my concerns over the negative comments on Cuckoo Lane in the hope of giving some balance.

I have been so disappointed to hear all the negative responses to the proposal by CWAC using grants obtained, to improve the surface of Cuckoo Lane. As an ancient Bridleway this track must have been wide enough to take a horse and been used by many of the local population. At present it has become a narrow muddy track only usable by those in wellington boots or hardy walkers in strong boots. Having been approached a number of times by local disabled walking groups asking if anything could be done to improve some of the local footpaths. I feel this is an ideal opportunity.

I could understand the objections if the proposal was to close an ancient pathway and I appreciate that the width does appear excessive but that is the width of a Bridleway. It will not take long for the undergrowth to soften and narrow the path and the whole population of the area will once again have access to this connecting path between Woodfall Lane and the Wirral Way and Willaston as it must have been in days gone by.

Janet Griffiths
CO Jones
At 16:37 on 3rd January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Hi Janet,

In the hope of giving some balance, Cuckoo Lane is still wide enough to ride a horse. It is also wide enough to take a tractor. It is also wide enough to take heavy plant machinery as we have discovered in the last few weeks. It is also disingenuous to suggest that it is only usable by those in wellington boots or hardy walkers in strong boots. Right now it is, but then I would not walk into Neston without wellies or sturdy boots as it is the winter and almost constantly raining.

I would challenge that given the terrain, that muddy track has not changed much in hundreds of years, hence the justifiable discontent.

I walked down there with my 79 year old disabled mother over the festive period. She is a pragmatist and knows her limits. she was dumbstruck at the work being carried out there.

Do you have any correspondence from the local disabled walking groups that have approached you? it would be interesting, in order to bring some more balance, to see some of the concerns raised. My time spent with disabled walkers over the last 20 plus years has always amazed me at how resolute they were in arduous conditions and any suggestion of softening the environment to suit was almost seen as an insult. Your experiences are clearly very different to mine.

At 16:54 on 3rd January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Cuckoo Lane is a Bridleway and as such only the land holding farmer can use motorised vehicles on it so how did CW&C or the contractors get permission for the large trucks that were using it.

Janet Griffiths email is giving me some thought. I think I immediately rushed to defend Cuckoo Lane because I feared it would become a route for Turbine construction traffic.

Also CO Jones comment is well argued. Great both of you!
Anthony A
At 17:31 on 3rd January 2014, Anthony A commented:
I think many people could agree with the idea of ‘improvement’ of the path – or, at least, parts of it that may be difficult to use at certain times. But there is no need for this ‘improvement’ to be 3 metres in width – there is no statutory requirement for this and the council’s own specification for the work, which I hope you have read on the town council website, said it should be 2 – 2.5 metres; the contractors have ignored this. This width error has been compounded by the use of asphalt planings to create what looks like a road. Why not use a material more sympathetic to the landscape?
Your comment regarding the disabled gets to the heart of the matter. Let’s by all means take into account the views of the disabled – as well as cyclists, walkers and others with an interest. But there has been no such discussion, no debate, no consultation – even though this is a requirement of the grant funding to which you refer. Instead, it has been pushed through apparently on the whim of a single councillor. That is why it is wrong.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
At 17:41 on 3rd January 2014, essjay commented:
Has anyone else seen the crudely made sign nailed to the tree at the start of the path saying "Latest 31/12/13 - wind turbine plan has been scrapped by uni" Is this true or someone playing silly beggars
Susan C
At 17:42 on 3rd January 2014, Susan C commented:
I would say to Janet, as I have said to Cllr Loch previously, let's have some facts and figures - how many representations from local disabled walking groups have been received by the council? And when? Where are their comments in the recent discussions?
There are many many miles of easily walkable pathways on Wirral without needing to spend time and money on a quiet, rugged, unspoilt ancient track like Cuckoo Lane.
I have also requested some facts and figures via CWAC web-site enquiry facility, with no response.
At 17:52 on 3rd January 2014, Philw commented:
Whilst I agree that our Council does indeed have an obligation to make improvements to pathways and pavements to assist those who are less able, I agree with Anthony that we have not been presented with evidence of the decision making process behind this work neither have we been provided with any evidence of a consultation with locals concerning this project. Indeed I am a little curious as to why a private individual would be approached by local disabled groups? Perhaps Janet could explain to the forum, why as a private individual she would be approached by local disabled groups, specifically about access along Cuckoo Lane?
At 18:12 on 3rd January 2014, Dafydd commented:
To those who want to emphasise the desirability of sharing, this surely does not mean that everything should be shared by all. rather it means that in a spirit of 'give-and-take' a variety of needs and interests should be catered for in a generally fair way - including the interest of those who like old-fashioned unmodernised things (like Cuckoo Lane, as it was, for example.)
At 18:12 on 3rd January 2014, Helen commented:
I think that everyone will be interested to read that Cllr Louise Gittins has posted on Facebook that John Jeffries is pressing ahead with this work as it is the political will of both Cllr Loch and the Council Leader Mike Jones. maybe those who will be attending Cllr Loch's surgery tomorrow, should ask why she thinks her political will should trump that of her electorate - and perhaps we should explain to Cllr Loch the basic principles of how democracy is supposed to work as obviously she has no idea.
CO Jones
At 18:59 on 3rd January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Mike Jones... Enough said about his track record

Anthony A
At 08:52 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 09:10 on 4th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Anthony A,
Please can I have details about where the Chester meeting will be held and availability of parking. (We usually go by park and Ride and it doesn't run that late)
Anthony A
At 09:22 on 4th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
It's a meeting of CW&CC Executive at 5.30 p.m. on Wednesday 8th January. Room G1 - HQ Building, 58 Nicholas Street, Chester CH1 2NP. It's the big new building opposite the law courts, by the roundabout near the Roodee. Little Roodee car park is just opposite, as is The Castle car park which may be free at that time of day – not sure, does anyone know? Maybe it would be possible to liftshare - any offers?
The public are allowed to speak at the start of the meeting.
Dave Carter
At 09:50 on 4th January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
I think you have to pay in Little Roodee. Last time I went (for the failed attempt to stop the Mostyn House development) I parked at Gorse Stacks which was free after 3pm and walked through the city. However looking at the map I am not sure it is free any more/
Susan C
At 10:02 on 4th January 2014, Susan C commented:
I will go and take a look later this morning at the various carpark situations and post it on here. I know the Castle carpark is free in the evenings, when the workers have gone, but i'm not sure what time that means.
CO Jones
At 10:51 on 4th January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Would love to attend but will be on train on way back from Birmingham. Good luck with this all.
At 10:55 on 4th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Thank you Anthony A, Dave C and Susan C
I'll definitely get to Neston meeting on 10th, not sure about 8th but will try.
Susan C
At 12:36 on 4th January 2014, Susan C commented:
Re car-parking: Gorse Stacks is free after 3pm; Little Roodee is £1.50 after 5pm (cash for machine needed); and Castle car-park is free after 5pm (5.30 at weekend).

The bus of course will not be much use - it would get you into Chester with40 mins to spare (if it turned up), and last one back is 5.45pm.
Susan C
At 12:57 on 4th January 2014, Susan C commented:
Re the Castle car-parking - I shall return to the attendant this afternoon and double check, as various parking info pages suggest it is availbale from 6pm rather than 5pm as he stated.
At 12:59 on 4th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Thank you Susan C
Susan C
At 14:26 on 4th January 2014, Susan C commented:
I have just spoken to the attendant at the Castle car-park, and he assures me that there will be no problem with parking there from 5pm, when many of the council workers, university people and he himself, have gone home anyway.
At 16:28 on 4th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Thanks Susan C,
we will probably aim for the Roodee carpark, thats only £1.50 after 5 according to Google. My husband says he knows the castle carpark and we might use that.

Old Timer, Hope you are on today. The meeting on 8th is definitely in Chester not Winsford.
Anthony A
At 09:56 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 allegedly 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 12:47 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.
At 12:48 on 5th January 2014, Helen commented:
Well said Anthony. Even if Kay Loch reads the comments as you suggest, she won't pay any heed to them as she is simply not interested in the views and wishes of the people she is supposed to represent. All she and her Council bosses are interested in is pressing on with this vanity scheme, seemingly with no justification or accountability.
We have all tried separately and collectively to obtain substantive information from Councillor Loch to support this crackpot scheme, but to no avail. How is it possible that in this time of austerity that many thousands of pounds of public money can be squandered seemingly on the whim of Councillor Loch and Ness Gardens - which in all likelihood will probably close once the University withdraw their funding in 2015
How insulting that Councillor Loch thinks that we are so naive that we can be manipulated into protest by Councillor Gittins, who has actually been of great help to our campaign, listened to our views, and stood shoulder to shoulder with us when we tried to prevent any further damage being done before Christmas. Isn't that what we should expect of our local Councillor, not the high-handed "la-la-la not listening/carrying on regardless because I know better than you" approach that Councillor Loch favours
Let's show the power of our vote by giving Councillor Loch the drubbing at the ballot box she deserves
CO Jones
At 12:58 on 5th January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Helen, you would do much better to not over politicise the cuckoo lane debacle. Accusations have already been levied by councillor loch that the protesters have been whipped up on a political whim, which you and I know is rubbish and an insult.

We are all being told to forget the turbine side issue so lets keep the meetings over the next week focussed on cuckoo lane
Dave Carter
At 15:35 on 5th January 2014, Dave Carter commented:

Do you have any hard evidence that Ness Gardens support this scheme (as opposed to an individual who works there making an off-the-cuff remark at the CH64 transport meeting)? If not I would be careful about making this accusation.
Anthony A
At 15:51 on 5th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Cllr Loch said on another AMA thread on this issue "Kevin Reid of Ness Gardens initiated this scheme early on in the transport meetings in order to improve access to Ness Gardens". Ness Gardens are also mentioned as a driver for the project in council-generated press comments.
I have attempted several times to get a comment from the Director of Ness Gardens to see if he endorses what has actually been done. However, he has been away so I hope we will get his view when he returns this week.
Dave Carter
At 16:02 on 5th January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Kevin Reid is the Director of Ness Gardens, so probably he does have the authority to make such a commitment on their behalf. Whether he did so in that capacity he needs to say.
At 16:26 on 5th January 2014, Philw commented:
Dave I don't think Helen has to be careful at all She has not made an accusation, merely discussed on this forum the statement made by Cllr Loch. This is something that hopefully we can get more info about at the Council meetings.
K & C
At 17:59 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.
At 18:49 on 5th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Surely having banners makes it un-peaceful! I should think you won't be allowed in if you parade with banners first. Ask Louise what she thinks.
K & C
At 19:09 on 5th January 2014, K & C commented:
Peaceful protest should not be feared, it is a Human Right (Article 11) and part of the democratic process. We have an absolute right to do so, banners only allow people to see what it is we are protesting about and we need to get message across. Why should having banners make something 'unpeaceful?'
It is perfectly OK to stand outside the offices with banners then go inside to support the issue but banners cannot go inside the chamber.

At 19:55 on 5th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Thank K & C. I was worried because I've not been on a demo like this before.
Hope to get there on Wednesday but my husband is poorly and I have only this week started to drive again after badly gashing our cars side a few years ago and don't think I'm brave enough to drive through Chester yet. Husband says he'll get me there whatever!
At 20:58 on 5th January 2014, Jayne commented:
This whole sorry tale is as clear an example of individual incompetence as you can get. The real tragedy though is the destruction of a beautiful and historic part of Neston. Those more learned than myself have traced the use of Cuckoo Lane as a walkway way back 700 years. Let’s put this in perspective: locals have been walking this trail before Henry VIII started getting fed up with a monogamous lifestyle, before Charles I felt the sharp edge of an axe and before the Pilgrim Fathers fancied a quick journey across the pond on the Mayflower.

From an ecological view, this is also a tragedy. Much of the original hedgerow and delicate plants have been destroyed and with it, the home and feed for many birds, bees, butterflies and local wildlife. This summer especially saw an explosion in the number of these animals up there – it was a wonderful idyllic walk. Without regard to these animals and flora, the heavy lorries and construction workers have trampled and destroyed this ecological heritage of ours.

Councillors are supposed to be our representatives, and not individuals hell bent on pursuing their own goals regardless of their electorates wishes - Jim.
At 21:31 on 5th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
If records show 700 years its probably that. This was the mqil; cattle drovers track across Wirral and locals MAIN route to the windmill at Leighton. Does anyone have a map for that?
At 21:32 on 5th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
main cattle drovers route
At 21:38 on 5th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
There is an established badger run in the hollow way, how can
we protect it?
At 21:44 on 5th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
What about the rare Ferns in the holloway, the new elderflowerrs at the bottom of Cuckoo lane, the Irish Cabbage and the one Sloe bush that has disappeared.
K & C
At 12:21 on 6th January 2014, K & C commented:
Exactly agree with Jayne's comments re wildlife being destroyed and habitats of same. When the CWAC official came before xmas she walked the route with us all and her comments were 'it will grow back'. How can all these habitats grow back, they have been destroyed not to mention the field mice and voles etc that were living in the verges and hedgerows, they won't 'grow back'. That comments just goes to show that they care not a jot for the ecology of the area. These highly paid officials appear to be ignorant of the damage they have done.
Eunice U
At 13:40 on 6th January 2014, Eunice U commented:
Regarding the posts about Kevin Reid of Ness Gardens---when I spoke to Cllr Loch on Saturday she said 'he's disappeared now--gone.' Very disturbing, particularly as Curator of plants also had' to move on. '
At 14:20 on 6th January 2014, interested commented:
I am confused about CWaC's motives for the' improvement' of Cuckoo Lane and I would like to put forward the following argument.
CWaC itself produced the Cheshire Historic Landscape Characterisation Project (carried out with funding from English Heritage). The resulting publication promotes The Sandstone Trail in another part of Cheshire. It states - 'Stride out along The Sandstone Trail and sample some of the finest walking in Cheshire...this is rural Cheshire at its best, quiet and sleepy at times yet steeped in history and rich in wildlife...where the Trail crosses a Roman road.'
Like the Sandstone Trail, Cuckoo Lane is used predominantly for leisure and recreation. It is steeped in history and rich in biodiversity, albeit on a smaller scale. I wonder if CWaC is considering resurfacing the Sandstone Trail too? Incidentally, Neston's Roman Road was recently tarmacced. Many probably wouldn't even know of its local significance as a Roman road and its archaeological value. Is Neston's landscape and history really less important than that of other areas of Cheshire?
According to CWaC's Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2011-2016, in consultation, 'people tended to regard the network as being for leisure and recreation and would prefer to see it improved for that use.' Personally, I would interpret that as 'sympathetic' improvement. Then, according to their audit results ' ..to use the network for more purposeful journeys, people expressed a desire for good even surfaces that are connected to useful places and well lit where appropriate. CWaC'S definition of 'purposeful journeys' is 'journeys making use of the Greenspace Access Network which are more functional than leisure in nature.' Is Cuckoo lane a functional or a leisure route? Is it really the main arterial route from Windle Hill to Ness or somewhere to appreciate the environment?
When considering such improvements, are Local Authorities not required to consider guidance and law? I understood that the local landscape had to be considered before any work goes ahead eg Biodiversity Action Plans, Historic Landscape Characterisation Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment, Landscape Character Assessment to name but a few.
Wouldn't the 'improvement' budget be better spent on legitimate repairs to our existing surfaces as their own evidence shows?
And just as a little extra - if Cuckoo Lane is resurfaced, it will not last forever because the surface will degrade due to environmental factors and footfall. Potholes will form over time and weeds will grow through. It will need regular repairs and maintenance. What happens when it is icy? Has thought been given to what happens when it rains and causes waterlogging or localised flooding? Will the new surface really be any safer than the existing more attractive and less costly one which has lasted 700 years?
Anthony A
At 17:30 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.
CO Jones
At 19:24 on 6th January 2014, CO Jones commented:
I also received the letters Anthony. I am pleased that questions are being asked at this level. I hope it goes well on Wednesday for those attending.
Anthony A
At 15:13 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 17:43 on 7th January 2014, Old Timer commented:
Cathy 21 or anyone else need a lift to Chester tomorrow.
At 19:15 on 7th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Thank you Old timer, K & C have already offered me a lift. Your offer is much appreciated.
At 01:31 on 8th January 2014, Wilky commented:
I first walked Cuckoo Lane over 60 years ago, almost on a weekly basis, during the summer months and although I now live on the other side of the Dee, I still have extensive family in both Parkgate and Neston.
The last time I made that particular walk was part of the Hadlow Road to Parkgate, Colliery, Ness Holt route, 12 months ago and it was an absolute thrill to find it almost as I remember it all those years ago. I can even remember the old sandstone cottage being occupied, now long gone.
I'm deeply disappointed that, once again, a publicly elected representative of the people, has failed to listen to the voice of the people that they represent.
In my opinion and many others, by the sound of it, that particular area, from the High Road to Woodfall Lane should be protected as an 'Area Of Outstanding Beauty' and 'Historic Interest'...
Has there been a spate of 'death by tripping' that I've not heard about?
Will they be flattening Bidston Hill to facilitate wheelchairs in the near future?
Will they be draining Raby Mere to prevent drownings?
They could, if you let them!!!
Anthony A
At 06:47 on 8th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Big day today. My approach will be to appeal to the council's sense of reason - winding them up is likely to be counter-productive. If you are planning to speak, and haven't already let me know, please can you contact me so we can co-ordinate our approach (annakinsmith@btinternet.com).
Details for attending/viewing are given in my post yesterday.
Huge thanks for everyone's support so far.
Guy T
At 07:47 on 8th January 2014, Guy T commented:
Good luck to those participating and representing the cause today in Chester. I cannot make it as away on work , but will attend Friday in Neston.
Anthony - I think the tone and approach of your question is spot on, being rationale but probing to the issue at hand. Hopefully CW&C Council will see sense and cease any further work until a proper consultation has been conducted.
At 10:57 on 8th January 2014, 8H commented:
All the best in Chester this evening Anthony and others. I think you are quite right to appeal to reason as the 1st approach, but I also note Anthony that you have already put in Freedom Of Information request to CWAC regarding Cuckoo Lane. However, should it later become necessary to go beyond the initial reasonable appeal, making several further FOI requests may well help produce the audit trail that will allow those against the scheme to do a full check as to whether procedures have been properly followed by the bodies involved in bringing this "improvement" scheme to the present sorry stage. That sort of irritating nit picking oppositional detailed attack on authorities can be effective indeed if anyone has made procedural mistakes down the line. But firstly here's to sweet reason!
Anthony A
At 19:25 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.
Anthony Annakin-Smith
Anthony A
At 23:12 on 8th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
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)
At 08:55 on 9th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Definitely get the four who spoke on Wednesday. You Anthony could also add the historical or get someone from the History society and we need someone who knows about the rare ferns in the holloway section.
Old Timer
At 11:35 on 9th January 2014, Old Timer commented:
Have a stack of flyers about the meeting tomorrow. Would appreciate any help delivering them locally. Please ring me on 07544321433. Thankyou.
Anthony A
At 17:14 on 9th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
The recording from last night's CW&CC meeting where four of us spoke is now available: http://www.cheshirewestandchester.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/122728
CO Jones
At 18:28 on 9th January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Hi Anthony, completely agree about the coordinated response and will send you some questions / Comments shortly.
At 19:32 on 9th January 2014, barry commented:
Can the builders please move all their cabins and materials down to the marshes and carry on our marsh cycle route to Old Quay lane and the Wirral way. THANK YOU.
Dave Carter
At 19:44 on 9th January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Err.... doesn't that go across a farmer's private field?
At 19:50 on 9th January 2014, barry commented:
That doesn't seem to make any difference anymore. Who needs permission ?
Dave Carter
At 19:53 on 9th January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Well if that farmer has a bull, I would ask him very nicely first.
Anthony A
At 08:10 on 10th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
There's a lovely sandstone wall down by the Old Quay and a sandstone stile worn down by thousands of passers-by over the years. Absolutely perfect for Cllr. Loch to bulldoze.
Anthony A
At 08:17 on 10th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Methinks she'll be knocking down the church tower next. It's 700 years old and you can't get a bike up it.
Susan C
At 11:27 on 10th January 2014, Susan C commented:
I am not sure that i have seen this ENTIRE statement, it was sent to me in reply to query to council for details on consultations etc. so much of it is nonsense - I find the reference to having to remove rutted sandstone to be particularly stupid and misleading.

Date: 2 January 2014
Reference Number: 4/14


A Council spokesman said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council was awarded Local Sustainable Transport Fund funding in 2012 to improve links between residential areas and employment opportunities, which included a contribution for the Neston area and connectivity to the Wirral Way.

“Building on the pedestrian and cycle route recently constructed from Little Neston to Deeside, the Council was approached and asked to investigate the potential of improving access to the Wirral Way, and subsequently Neston town centre and Hooton Station, by improving Cuckoo Lane to make it accessible for all.

“Cuckoo Lane is a bridleway with access rights for the farmer and his vehicles only and is predominantly used for walking, cycling or by those riding horses. We want to make the pathway accessible to all users in all weathers – including those with small children or with limited mobility.

“We have a statutory obligation to maintain public rights of way to a reasonable and safe standard and Cuckoo Lane was judged to be in a poor state and at times inaccessible for most.

“As a scheme to improve accessibility for vulnerable users within the Neston area, Cuckoo Lane was highlighted by a number of local people including Cheshire West and Chester Councillors, our LSTF team, our Public Rights Of Way team and Ness Gardens.

“The LSTF funding made available allowed us to progress improvement plans, which included consultation with statutory partners such as the Council’s Ecologist and Archaeologist - both of which resulted in approvals being given to proceed.
“The project does not require planning consent and therefore public consultation is not mandatory. However officers discussed the project at the CH64 Transport Group in July. Signage was also placed close to the site.

“Whilst the archaeologist’s report asked for sandstone to be preserved where possible, the sandstone at this location is rutted and a potential trip hazard and part of our duty in maintaining the route is to remove such hazards.

“Concerns have been raised that this work has been undertaken to improve the area for cyclists. This scheme was designed to provide better access for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in equal measure and there is no priority for any one type of user.

“Upon discussion with Highways Officers, it was felt that this rural pathway was not suited to a smooth flat asphalt surface due to the mix of users and the need to control speed of cyclists on rural paths. For this reason a rougher planning surface has been selected, which is suitable for pedestrians cyclists and horse riders alike.

“Once Cuckoo Lane is complete its vegetation will recover quickly and it will regain its rural character.

“We sincerely hope that these works, once completed, will see many more local people being able to access the pathway at any time of year to enjoy it, travel to work via it or connect with nearby areas.”
K & C
At 12:25 on 10th January 2014, K & C commented:
'We want to make the pathway accessible to all users in all weathers – including those with small children or with limited mobility', why? It is not realistic to think that all pathways can be suitable for all of society. And the ones who 'highlighted' Cuckoo Lane seem to be CWAC itself and Ness Gardens.
'the Council was approached and asked to investigate the potential of improving access to the Wirral Way'
by whom??
'Signage was also placed close to the site'
Where, and how come none of us saw this signage??.
'vegetation will recover'
Will the small animals who lived in the verges recover who were surely decimated when this vandalism took place?

Now we are all invited to 'travel to work' via Cuckoo Lane!!!
You could not make it up!
At 12:55 on 10th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Well said K & C. One lady who works at Leehurst used to enjoy her walk home in all weathers.
At 13:38 on 10th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
SusanC, I've read and saved yours, interesting!!!
Anthony A
At 16:34 on 10th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Two Fingers to Neston?
I've tried to pin CW&CC down on how and when they will decide to suspend the works after tonight's meeting - it's not good news! The senior CW&CC councillor I spoke to the other day said she was confident that they could work with the local community to reach a solution. I naively understood this to mean they'd supend the works pending consultation if the people showed they wanted it. But from an email just received they are making no such commitment. On the positive side they recognise they could have engaged better and want to 'glean some potential resolutions'. But there's absolutely no commitment to stopping the works if that's what the people want. Are they really intending to stick two fingers up to the people of Neston? That would be a bad day for local democracy.
Anthony A
At 19:48 on 10th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
CW&CC have agreed to suspend the work pending consultation. Groups and interested individuals will have the opportunity to discuss this over the coming weeks with any solution to be ratified by the town council.
Thank you to the Town Council for calling the meeting.
Thanks to CW&CC officers for turning up and listening.
Thanks to Louise Gittins for her support.
But most of all THANKS TO ALL OF YOU for getting involved. This has been a fantastic example of community involvement and a fantastic example of democracy in action.

It's not over yet, work is only suspended - not stopped - but it gives a chance to come up with a decent solution. Almost anything is better than what's been done to the lane so far.

WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At 20:44 on 10th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Thank you Anthony!
Susan C
At 20:50 on 10th January 2014, Susan C commented:
Don't fancy being a Town Councillor Anthony??

Well done to all involved. I trust there will now be sensible discussion.
K & C
At 21:24 on 10th January 2014, K & C commented:
Anthony you would make a great court room lawyer You did us all proud
Anthony A
At 22:43 on 10th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Thanks folks. Fantastic community spirit. Bit of a cliche but really happened due to people power.
Anthony A
At 00:04 on 11th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
CW&CC Work to Start on Cuckoo Lane – But Don’t Worry!

Apparently a man was seen driving up Cuckoo Lane this morning (I wonder what could have made him think it looked like a road?!). To stop this happening again CW&CC are going to put some kind of obstruction at one or both ends. So if you see some work going on, it should just be this. I really don’t think they’ll try anything underhand after their commitments this evening.
Katie Robson
At 09:09 on 11th January 2014, Katie Robson responded:
A link to the new article just published about Friday's Neston Town Council meeting has been added above. However, here it is again for convenience. Copy and paste into your browser:
At 19:37 on 13th January 2014, BHFL commented:
Some way back in the large list of comments above, I posted that the lack of sites for wild flowers and bees in our locality was a problem and that Cuckoo Lane used to have beautiful foxgloves, etc. Dave Carter responded saying that there were plenty of wild flowers along the Wirral Way, particularly around Gayton where he walks. Signs have recently appeared on the Wirral Way near Cottage Lane announcing the Wirral Way is to be widened, with work starting Jan 2014. Another area under pressure in our locality!! More destruction of our precious few wild life habitats. What a shame. Too many walkers, too many cyclists = less natural habitat for us all to enjoy. Bird watchers love this area, the wild thistles, teasels, and more "boring" plants are necessary to attract and feed many species of birds. The pussy willows used to provide early pollen for bees, but most of those trees were cleared to make way for more people to walk in comfort!
Dave Carter
At 19:44 on 13th January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
I didn;t know that, and I regret that they are doing that. Not sure what we can do about it, is it Wirral Borough Council we would nee dto lobby?
At 19:55 on 13th January 2014, BHFL commented:
Apparently it is Wirral, not Cheshire, ie. north from the county boundary where the golf course starts. Not exactly CH64, sorry, but I am sure most Neston/Parkgate folk walk along there. I would like to know more about their plans, but once again it looks too late to make comments.
At 22:15 on 13th January 2014, 8H commented:
I walked through this stretch this morning. The main problem appears to be the road bridge over the former railway on Cottage Lane. Traffic has caused it to need strengthening, it is already supported additionally to the original design. However I can't see the need to widen the track from here to the CWAC boundary although as it was originally a single track railway laid on the base of a double track formation there will be room within the current footprint I would imagine. The work will take 17 weeks.
At 10:11 on 14th January 2014, Jane commented:
10.00 Tuesday. Workmen are installing a concrete block at Gorstons Lane end to stop cars coming down. Presumably one the other end also. Should have asked.
Anthony A
At 10:21 on 14th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
The council did warn about this and I put a post about it on this forum on 14/1/13 (see above). I also put it on Facebook.

CW&CC are doing this because someone accidentally drove up there the other day - which rather makes the point that it now looks like a road!
Anthony A
At 10:26 on 14th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Sorry - I meant to say my post was on 11/1/14.
Anthony A
At 16:07 on 14th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
I've been told that the Town Council's Planning and Environment Committee meeting, where CW&CC are supposed to be coming back with initial comments, is this Friday, 17th, at 6 p.m. Like last Friday's meeting the public will be able to speak for up to 30 minutes before the Committee meeting which, again, will be open for everyone to listen to. More details will be appearing on the Town Council website.
See you there!
Anthony A
At 06:35 on 17th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Another important day today in the fight to save Cuckoo Lane. Extraordinary meeting of the Town Council’s Planning and Environment Committee at the Town Hall tonight, 6 p.m. Several CW&CC people will be attending to present their ideas on what should happen next. Presumably Councillor Loch will also attend as a member of the committee?
I’m hoping to hear that CW&CC have, at last, been listening to our concerns – but I don’t know what they will come up with. We’ll see!
P.S. if you haven’t completed the ‘Save Cuckoo Lane’ survey yet, please do so. I’m hoping to use the results tonight. Find it at:
Dave Carter
At 09:19 on 17th January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Please remember standing orders still apply, so please keep contributions to 3 minutes, and do not repeat points made by previous speakers, otherwise you can be stopped. It really would be good if contributions could be focussed, on what CWaC propose, and on what you would like to happen in Cuckoo Lane, not on process and personalities.
Anthony A
At 20:12 on 17th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Disappointing meeting. I was hoping we were going to edge towards agreement tonight but we really don’t need to be told nonsense like ‘the sandstone needs to be protected’ and ‘the path’s a trip hazard’. Once again, we were being patronised rather than being treated as grown-ups. CW&CC are still clutching at any old reason to justify a project for which there is no justification. All our speakers were great and made their points clearly and forcefully – thanks to Marion, Philip, Ruth and Geoff and Louise.
Next steps: 1) Louise, Geoff Holland and I are meeting Sarah Clein on Tuesday to try to thrash out some of the issues; 2) Sarah Clein has promised to supply a written response to questions raised tonight which I will circulate; she has also said she will supply the documents that I have been requesting since 20th December including the archaeologist’s and ecologist’s reports; 3) We need to agree a way forward regarding consultation – about 40 people have put their name down for this and there are groups that need to be involved too. It may be that, after reading what Sarah sends back, we have a meeting at the town hall of all consultees, without CW&CC attending, to see if we can agree a preferred way forward to present to CW&CC. Thoughts?

Meanwhile, after my intervention tonight, I’m off to the naughty step.
At 20:46 on 17th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Interesting meeting, I think Sarah Klein was joking about protecting the sandstone. She was clearly un-nerved by the audience reaction. Over 40 years ago an old gentleman who was born and bred in Little Neston told me that Cuckoo lane, the slope towards the railway (his words) became a stream in winter. it was today but the stream was in the middle of the sandstone pavement. If it's all levelled were will the little stream go?

The badger run was showing sands of recent use too.
Susan C
At 20:54 on 17th January 2014, Susan C commented:
I have been trying to take a seat at the very back on all this as, though a CWACC council tax payer I do not live in Neston at the moment, though I am very much involved with recording its history. So I did not attend the meeting tonight - but PLEASE, someone tell me that the phrase 'trip hazrd' was not used! I am moved to make this point again i'm afraid - that this so reminds me of the Chester bus station debacle, where no one seemed to be able to stop it in its crazy steps. What are our Councillors and officers doing? Is all power delegated to staff who leap from one department to another and don't know their jobs? Maybe Ms Clein was being helpful tonight, i dont know details, but personally I hate this sort of meaningless waffle: (see following quote):Sarah Clein, Head of Locality - Rural at Cheshire West and Chester Council said: "Our Health and Wellbeing Board really wanted to design a new strategy that started with the views and feelings of our local communities. We decided that we wanted to adopt a process of co-production between communities, officers and partner agencies. It was felt that the deliberative engagement process - which has a proven track record in delivering this type of work - would build trust and create new and lasting relationships both within communities and between communities and decision-makers, and that this was vital as changes in the way that public sector works with communities increase the need for an engaged, capable and resilient population." Right - engage, build relationships etc etc.
Dave Carter
At 21:53 on 17th January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
"would build trust and create new and lasting relationships both within communities and between communities and decision-makers,"

Dammit, if the communities are not the decision makers, then democracy isn't working. There should be trust between the communities and those tasked with implementing the communities' decisions.
K & C
At 11:31 on 18th January 2014, K & C commented:
Such bureaucratic nonsense last night, telling Anthony he could not speak again, such performances put people off councils and committees, if the Major wants more people to attend council meetings (as was pointed out not many attend other meetings) they should respect the public and loosen up such PC instructions. We are all adults, felt like the headmaster was going to come round and cane us all. I also don't see the need to be thanking CWAC so much for listening, SO THEY SHOULD! We all pay hefty council tax for their very well paid jobs, it is not doing us a favour listening to us, it is called democracy!
Anthony A
At 12:17 on 18th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Sure K & C. I was trying to be a bit more conciliatory last night as we do have to try to negotiate a settlement at the end of the day. Sarah Clein has been plonked in the middle of all this, having had no previous part, so I was/am hoping that she will be the voice of reason. She tells me that she has been arguing that CW&CC should voluntarily release documents realting to this affair. Good for her - but what does that tell you about the mind-set at CW&CC!!!!
Sadly, Sarah did herself no favours by trotting out stuff like 'the sandstone needs protecting'. It's just patronising nonsense.
I've sent her a long note this morning setting out what I see as the key issues. I'm meeting her, with Louise G. and Geoff Holland, next week. Let's see where we get to!
Back to my naughty step now.
K & C
At 16:18 on 18th January 2014, K & C commented:
No criticism of you personally Anthony, others also were thanking CWAC and whilst I understand this is the polite way and bow to your patience, just wanted to make the point that they are here to serve us, not the other way round. It is rather like talking to a brick wall but as you say, we shall see how things go with Sarah Clein, but disappointed with most of her comments so far, as you say, some were very patronising!
wirral cyclist
At 20:27 on 18th January 2014, wirral cyclist commented:
As a cyclist and in frequent user of Cuckoo lane, a few things need to be pointed out, the surface is not suitable for narrow tyre bikes its too loose, wheels dig in, a surface used on the wirral way wouldd have been better and looked cleaner,wheelchair users will have no chance especially trying to get uphill,

The width is ok as it allows farmers tractors to use it to get into the feilds,

But the nice sandstone parts should have been left as natural, to fit in with the area, thy dont wear and stay natural, and drain well.

The part that should have been resurfaced with a proper drain should be the part under the Wirral Way overbridge and up to the A540,along with the drainage ditches being redug to take excess water.

and by the magic of Youtube, here is a bike mounted video of the work so far with comments.


paste into your web browser.

The route will serve as a handy cross wirral route for walkers , cyclists and horse riders,and will hopefully take a few cars off the roads as people green commute down this existing route once resurfacing is done right.

So thankyou Cwac for doing it, but next time please consult with us users.
At 21:08 on 18th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
The farmer has a different route. he has built a pathway the other side of the hedge. Go down to his hay bale place and peer left. He does bring tractors down that way , other side of hedge to his big gates were the footpaths cross cuckoo lane. Thats why Cuckoo Lane is churned up and wet even in a wet summer at that spot. I've seen him go through to that lowest field on the left of Cuckoo lane as you approach Gorston. When we saw the damaged tree on the Saturday before Christmas it was a new damage and the damaged part was underneath. Also when the grass was cut in the lowest field right th cutter came that way.
At 21:13 on 18th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Adding, so the track doesn't need to be wide enough for tractors.
Also 40 years ago an old Nestonian told me that the sandstone slope going down to the "railway" (his words) becomes a stream in winter. Saw that myself on Saturday. The stream was flowing down the middle. if that is tarmacked over the water will spread out and could become icy and slippy. (apologies if I've said this before.)
Anthony A
At 08:40 on 19th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
I’ve been asked to say a bit more about the Environment Agency licence situation.
If you are going to go around using planings then, as I understand it, you require either a licence or an exemption certificate. My original enquiries showed that no such licence/exemption appeared to exist and so I formally reported the situation as an ‘Incident’ to the Environment Agency who have a duty to investigate these things. Philip Putwain (who is analysing the planings) also could see no relevant licence.
I spoke to the EA last Friday Jan. who confirmed to me that no licence/exemption was held but that CW&CC had applied for one during that week. The EA would not be taking action as they did not see this as major breach of the rules and had other things to do – which is disappointing. They also told me that CW&CC claimed that the planings were needed as Cuckoo Lane was ‘impassable’. So, either everyone who’s been saying they’ve been using the lane quite happily over the years is lying, or CW&CC are. Now, who should I believe….?!
Anthony A
At 20:12 on 20th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Ive been asked about our options from here – which is fair enough. Without going into lots of detail, the survey results so far show that 86% of people agree with the draft objectives; 77% want a solution where the planings are fully removed; a further 19% would accept a solution where the existing planings are removed and/or covered (which is what CW&CC offered last week). Almost everyone wants the sandstone to stay exposed. The survey has had respondents across all user groups. So, based on the strength of feeling expressed, our position must be that we want all the planings to be fully removed. I have asked CW&CC to advise if there is any reason why this can’t be done. If they say the planings must stay or – God forbid! – want to extend them, I have also asked them to attempt to justify the scheme as no coherent reason has yet been given.
Louise, Geoff and I are meeting Sarah Clein, the CW&CC officer who has been tasked with sorting this mess out, tomorrow. We will be exploring options together. We will also be exploring how we go about consulting with local people who have asked to be involved.
Hope this is of interest.
CO Jones
At 21:28 on 20th January 2014, CO Jones commented:
It is of interest thanks. I am having to observe from a little distance at the moment as have had a few people challenging my position professionally and am not very comfortabe with that.
Anthony A
At 11:45 on 21st January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Had a useful session with the council officials this morning. A group of six of us – Louise, Geoff, Helen, Anthea, Vanessa and I – took three CW&CC people along the lane showing what had been done. It was very constructive in that they could at last fully grasp what all our concerns are about. No decisions were made but they are now in a much better situation to understand the issues involved and propose a solution. However that solution has to be agreed by their political masters who tell them what to do.

I think it’s shameful that these politicians expect the CW&CC officials to take the flak at meetings but have not yet had the guts to put their own heads above the parapet and try to defend their scheme in public, nor to apologise for the many misleading statements that have been made along the way.
CO Jones
At 12:00 on 21st January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Hi Anthony. Thanks again for dedicating the time and effort (feel like I am saying that a lot at the moment).

It is shameful that it has took over a month for the representatives to actually bother their a*** to walk Cuckoon Lane.

This whole sorry episode tells me all I need to know about politicians delegating down and hiding behind bureaucracy whilst us mugs suffer the outcome of badly planned and executed schemes.
At 12:15 on 21st January 2014, Dafydd commented:
Yes, thank you, Anthony, and the others, who met Council officials today for your persistence in pursuing the matter on behalf of us all.

The persistence is the crucial thing, because the politicians are often both arrogant and cynical - hoping that, as in fact so often happens, "things will blow over."
K & C
At 12:38 on 22nd January 2014, K & C commented:
Yes, I particularly like the often used comments 'we are where we are' which is often used when things have gone wrong and otherwise stated means 'let us brush what has happened so far under the carpet' er no!!!
Anthony A
At 18:06 on 22nd January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Now the BBC are interested: Friday breakfast time

BBC Radio Merseyside contacted me this afternoon. They’ve picked up on the story and want to run an interview on their breakfast show – when they have their highest listener numbers – this Friday (24th). They’ll be broadcasting live from Cuckoo Lane around 8.15 – 8.30. They’re also inviting someone from the council to attend, or otherwise to give them a statement. If you want to drop by at that time on Friday, feel free (meet Gorstons Lane end 8.00 a.m.). Otherwise it's available on 95.8 FM, 1485 AM, on DAB and online.
There’s print coverage in the letters pages of the Pioneer and Wirral News today – maybe other papers too?
At 20:16 on 22nd January 2014, dogwalker commented:
Great news see you there!
At 18:09 on 23rd January 2014, SHric commented:
I walked the length of cuckoo lane this morning, and I have to say I suspect some of the people making the strongest comments have not actually done so but are taking the word of others, I suggest everyone goes to see themselves. I would like too make a few points which I think have not been covered.
1) Any new surface in an area like this will inevitably look horrible to start with. The Wirral Way, which gets a lot of positive comment, looked aweful to start with, with the vegetation torn back and the glaring white surface looking totally unnatural. Now it looks great.
2) Any one who has made a path of any sort know that within a few years it will be much narrower than it did when the made it. 3 metres will soon be 2 metres.
3) Where the path has not had a new surface installed it is very hard going due to the amount of mud. Changing this to a had surface will encourage many more people to use the path. This may not be to the liking of the few, but surely good for the majority.
4) I think Janet Griffiths comments represent a tremendoes amount of common sense - well done Janet, incidentally I think you should get an MBE for the amount of community work you have done over the years.
5) Removing the planings now seems like a huge waste of money, surely better to either leave alone where foot traffic will consolidate, or add a better surface over the top. Not too smooth though to deter cycling too fast.
6) One of the problems with the path is drainage, I think a priority for further work would be to clear out the drainage ditches.
At 18:41 on 23rd January 2014, 8H commented:
Hello SHric

It's quite right that you air your opinion, but you are simply making it up when you say that most people who hate these "improvements" haven't actually seen them at 1st hand. I'm a regular down Cuckoo Lane and everyone I speak to says it's "orribble."

If there really was a groundswell of happy Nestonians delighted at the new half tarmacced Cuckoo Lane I think we might have heard a lot more of them by now.

By contrast the hundreds who have been to meetings and joined the facebook page to protest are being heard, and on Radio Merseyside tomorrow too.
Dave Carter
At 18:57 on 23rd January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
I wouldn't say the Wirral way looks great. its better than planings, and its the way it is now and would be hard to change back, and its an old railway track not a medieval sandstone footpath. I would accept that its not possible to put it back in the state it was when we first came to Parkgate, but really, "looks great" is overstating it.

I would agree with you about the drainage though, and this is where they should have started. Also about Janet deserving an MBE.
At 19:20 on 23rd January 2014, SHric commented:
8H says that I am "making it up", but if he reads what I actually said, it was that " I suspect some of the people........". So how can he say I am making it up? I am entitled to suspect whatever I wish - I may or may not be wrong in my suspicions, but they are my suspicions!

Also I wasn't saying that there are a lot of people delighted about the "improvements" at the moment, rather that they would be at some time in the future when they actually find out about them.
K & C
At 19:23 on 23rd January 2014, K & C commented:
Removing the planings may well be a lot of money but that is not our problem, CWAC will have to cover that cost. Their BIG mistake!
It is also somewhat patronising to suggest people are just jumping on a bandwagon and have not seen the mess themselves, why would over 200 people attend a meeting regarding this issue if they were just taking the word of others?
At 19:27 on 23rd January 2014, 8H commented:
Hi SHric!

Voicing a suspicion isn't evidence based, so I still say you are making it up!

And your 2nd point is conjecture too!

Dave Carter
At 19:30 on 23rd January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Its not clear to me that removing the planings would cost more than the sum already set aside, which would have been used instead to deposit them on the rest of the path.
CO Jones
At 19:35 on 23rd January 2014, CO Jones commented:
Hi SHric
Welcome to the debate.
Did you walk Cuckoo Lane today to have a look at the core of the issue or do you walk Cuckoo Lane all year round like the most of the contributors on here who have attended the meetings and who have actively raised the awareness of residents who had no idea this work was scheduled to take place at it was seemingly slipped under the door mat as Christmas approached? The same people who have enjoyed the unspoilt un-interfered Cuckoo Lane for decades come rain or shine if you read through the several stories.
1. I prefer the bridle path side of the Wirral Way. Feels more natural.
2. You imply that the path will reduce from a 3 metre wide surface of inappropriate surface material to a 2 metre wide surface of inappropriate material. When will this happen? Where have you seen road planing’s covering ancient bridleways in the past? Or is this an assumption? Do you think the road planing’s are the most suitable material for the job?
3. Have you walked much in the Peak District, the Pennines or other National Trails? It is widely recognised that “improvements” to historical walking trails all over the UK has been a disaster and has destroyed countryside beyond repair.
4. I have no idea what Janet Griffiths has done for the community in the past and frankly, that is irrelevant. This debate is not the place for nepotism and the old boy or old girl networks meaning favourable support for a badly planned and badly executed scheme.
5. You think it would be a good idea to cover the already hugely inappropriate material used in the scheme with even more material? What should be used? What do you think about the other areas of Cheshire and their celebration of the sandstone trail? Have you walked it? It is a real boon to the walking economy of the Vale Royal. They promote the Sandstone Trail as something to enjoy and appreciate http://www.sandstonetrail.com/ In Little Neston, they bury it under recycled trunk road surface. Is that progress?
6. Absolutely spot on about the drainage. Perhaps CW&C Council should have negotiated with the Farmer / Leahurst and gone in with an appropriate effective drainage improvement scheme at the Wirral Way end of Cuckoo Lane and then left all other works for 12 months to see if things improved, before they buried a several hundred year old bridleway under a 3 metre wide strip of recycled tarmac.
Anthony A
At 19:37 on 23rd January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Like others I agree with you about Janet Griffiths’ tireless efforts. I also agree about the drainage issues – as do many others, which is why the majority of people in the recent survey on Cuckoo lane have indicated they would support work to tackle such problems.

However, you are wrong about the mud. Photographs of the hill section taken just before the work started show a neat, well-drained, narrow path bordered by grass verges in good condition. But because of the contractors vehicles going up and down that stretch over several days the verges were churned up and mud spread across that section. The photographic record shows the mud is directly due to the ‘improvements’.

I also disagree that the surface will change positively in appearance. Asphalt will always look like asphalt. It may be appropriate in a town but not through the countryside – which is why Natural England, who are the experts in this kind of thing, say it creates an ‘urban feel’. Maybe the path will narrow over time. But CW&CC’s own plan said the planings should be laid 2 to 2.5 metres wide – whereas the contractors have actually laid them up to 3.8 metres wide. What possible justification is there for laying something that looks like a road through an ancient, natural landscape?
Covering the surface, as you suggest, does remain one option. However the majority of survey respondents are clear that they want the planings fully removed. We’ll see what CW&CC propose, which will be put out to consultation.

I can assure you I have walked the lane many times – before and after the ‘improvements’.

Anthony Annakin-Smith
Anthony A
At 20:14 on 23rd January 2014, Anthony A commented:
CW&CC ignores another law

It is now more than 20 days since I requested a raft of information relating to Cuckoo Lane from a senior office at CW&CC. He has not responded. This failure is contrary to Section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Looks like CW&CC routinely believe the laws of England don’t apply to them. I wonder if they take the same relaxed approach if citizens don’t pay council tax?
At 20:35 on 23rd January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Well spoken Anthony. See you tomorrow at 8am, Cuckoo Lane.
At 21:49 on 23rd January 2014, SHric commented:
CO Jones, I have to answer your charge of "nepotism" or the "old boy/girl Network". Please don't make accusations without a shred of evidence. I am neither a relative nor a friend of Janet Griffiths, in fact I have never directly even met her, spoken to her, or communicated with her in any way. I read what she said here and agreed with it - not irrelevant at all.
With regard to the use of shavings, I have described on another thread on this suject how the shavings were used on the path from the end of Old Quay Lane, down to the Old Quay some years ago. They were not compacted in any way, but left as a ridge accross the field. They looked aweful, were very hard to walk on, indeed you had to climb up onto the ridge and struggle to walk along. I was outraged. However now the path, which was previously very muddy, has become very nice to walk along, much narrower than it was, passable in all weathers, rough enough to deter people from cycling at excessive speed. This is why I think the Cuckoo Lane planings will improve over time. Also consider that if not used for this type of thing they may finish up in Landfill. which we can ill afford in may ways.
At 22:05 on 23rd January 2014, 8H commented:
OK SHric, it's clear you are a big fan of tarmacadam surfaces as an all purpose solution to the endemic problem of grass and bedrock stone pathways which bedevil Britain. My personal "non evidential" view is that they are cheap and nasty. Do you really think they are simply appropriate in all circumstances?
CO Jones
At 22:07 on 23rd January 2014, CO Jones commented:
SHric, you need to read my last comment again and highlight where I accused you of anything without a shred of evidence.

You are also comparing apples and pears which actually bare no comparison. The planings put down as a track down to the old quay were not covering a unique several hundred years old sandstone pavement bridleway whereas the planings on cuckoo lane are completely inappropriate and look horrendous.

What are your thoughts on covering up the landscape forever with recycled tarmac?
Dave Carter
At 22:17 on 23rd January 2014, Dave Carter commented:
SHric, if you think there is a problem with taking the planings to landfill, how is it acceptable to dump them on the surface?
At 10:50 on 24th January 2014, Jane commented:
Excellent interview with Anthony that you can find on Radio Merseyside Listen Again 2 hrs 25mins into 6.00 a.m. programme this morning. Interviewed Louise separately. Don't know when that will be broadcast.
At 12:17 on 24th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Also those of you who have Facebook, go to "Save Cuckoo Lane" and Neston Cyc has put a link to just the 15 mins that was broadcast from Cuckoo Lane. About 30 of us were there despite the cold and the early hour , a great community spirit.
Anthony A
At 12:29 on 24th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Yes, a brilliant turn-out on a cold and windy morning. The interviewer, Simon Moffatt, said he'd never had a turn-out like that for an interview before. So, thanks everyone!

Geoff and Louise were also interviewed afterwards and I understand these interviews will be run during the day.
At 13:46 on 24th January 2014, dogwalker commented:
Is anything happening tonight?
At 13:52 on 24th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
You've got me worried? What do you know?
At 13:56 on 24th January 2014, Jane commented:
Great letter in this week's Wirral News Anthony. Thanks
John Cartlidge
At 14:50 on 24th January 2014, John Cartlidge commented:
I have watched this story very closely, and I congratulate the campaigners on what you have achieved thus far.

A couple of comments: If they have been made already, I apologise. If not, then I think they are valid arguments against the scheme on Cuckoo Lane as originally proposed / commenced before Christmas.

My view is that access for all whilst desirable is not always possible. Be this because of stairs, narrow doorways, terrain, whatever. If this was the only route from a residential area into town there might be some argument for it; but it isn’t, so there is not. The trip hazard on Cuckoo Lane mentioned by one of the council officers is pretty lame given that you would have to have a modicum of fitness and ability to enjoy the lane, particularly in poor weather. This is what leisure walkers do; they go places they can manage. I can climb a ladder but I cannot climb Everest, so I don’t try.

The greater risk of tripping which could easily lead to life changing injury is the poor state of the sidewalks and pavements in residential areas of Neston. These routes are used far more by those with infirmities, which might be because of disability or advancing years. Often these members of our community have no choice but to walk as they may not drive and cycling is just a memory. If you’re 70 and trip on uneven paving on the way to the corner shop it could easily break a hip or worse. I have seen those less steady on their feet walking in the road because the road surface is safer than the sidewalk. I am sure we all know such areas but locally to me, the paving on Allans Meadow and West Vale is very poor; if Cheshire West has the funding to improve safety for pedestrians users, and desire to reduce risk of litigation from those injured, then this is where the money should be spent, not despoiling a much loved and scenic part of our local heritage.

It has been commented that by making Cuckoo Lane cycle friendly then there will be less cars on the road. This I strongly disagree with. I live near the access to part of the cycle way. Before it was widened and metalled, there were always a few cycle commuters, and there still are a few. However there is now by comparison large numbers of leisure cyclists, often in groups, who go past one way to return an hour or two later. It’s good to see people taking exercise and enjoying themselves without the dangers of being on the road, but car numbers have not have been reduced.
Anthony A
At 17:54 on 24th January 2014, Anthony A commented:

The BBC Northwest News have now confirmed they are coming to film at 11.00 a.m. on Sunday 26th. I’ve promised there will be a good crowd to welcome them. :-)
Please bring banners, posters, bikes, dogs etc. (not sure about horses with all that’ll be going on; will leave that to the owners). I suggest we all meet at Gorstons Lane no later than 10.45 a.m.

I assume the story will appear in Sunday's local news slots.

The BBC have warned that, being news , there is always a risk they will be diverted to a breaking story, but as things stand they are definitely coming along. They’ll phone me on Saturday if plans change; I’ll obviously post about it here if so.
At 18:31 on 24th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
John Cartlidge
I think we all agree with you. This morning up Cuckoo Lane I tripped and almost fell over a chunk of that planings just lying on the surface. I saw several other lumps. I've never had trouble up Cuckoo lane before.
At 23:27 on 24th January 2014, Baz commented:
As a regular commentator on this website on current affairs, but a newcomer to this debate, I have to ask a question. Given that the council have said they will revisit the scheme in consultation with the people who are protesting, why are the BBC now being involved? It feels all a bit over dramatised, in my humble opinion.
Anthony A
At 01:45 on 25th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Baz asks why the BBC are involved in the Cuckoo Lane debate – a fair question. Apologies for the long answer.

It was actually the BBC who approached me to set up a broadcast, earlier this week. Radio Merseyside said they had picked up the story from a website although they didn't say which one. As for BBC TV, I had approached them several weeks ago and they had suggested this would make a good weekend news story. I didn't hear any more but, following the radio interest, I gave them a speculative follow-up call this week which they responded to this time.

The council have agreed to suspend works pending consultation. However we do not know what terms they will offer, either in respect of rectifying the work done to date, or regarding the continuation of the scheme. In view of the uncertainty, and given the strength of feeling indicated in the recent public survey on Cuckoo Lane, it seems fair to continue to apply pressure to try to reach a satisfactory conclusion. Bear in mind that the council only agreed to suspend the works as a direct result of great pressure exerted at the Extraordinary Meeting of the Town Council in early January.

While we have had positive discussions with council officers this week I am conscious that we have had no public comments from the elected councillors who are the decision-makers and who can choose whether or not to go along with the officers’ suggestions.

My attitude might have been more amenable if the council had shown good faith to date. Instead we have had broken promises (e.g. they said on 23 December they would suspend works pending consultation but did not honour this); mistruths which they have not explained or apologised for (e.g., amongst others, that Cuckoo Lane was a BOAT and that Neston Town Council asked for the scheme); and a policy of total secrecy in failing so far to supply a single document related to the scheme, either voluntarily or under the Freedom of Information Act, despite numerous requests on our part. Further, I have been shocked that the council have been unable to string together a coherent case for the scheme as delivered, yet they state it is ‘very necessary’.

Baz suggests BBC involvement is ‘over dramatic’. I guess this is a matter of opinion. Given that the BBC approached me for a radio interview I was not going to turn down an opportunity to emphasise our message. In any event, I truly believe that despoiling an ancient and beautiful piece of the landscape by covering it in asphalt planings, without any consultation, is a grossly inappropriate, insensitive and unfathomable act of corporate vandalism. Given that the council hold ultimate power on this issue, I do not see BBC involvement as disproportionate.

This could all have ended much, much quicker if the council has acknowledged - when loud protests started before Christmas - that there was something seriously amiss with what they were doing. There would have been no need for any publicity beyond the initial AMA reports. Instead the council went for brinkmanship. We have at last moved to a position where we have had some positive discussions with council officers. I hope we can soon consider constructive solutions backed by the elected councillors which can lead to a swift and satisfactory resolution for all concerned.
At 10:51 on 25th January 2014, 8H commented:
Good Morning Baz

If you stepped out of your front door one morning and found your garden fence ripped down and daubed with graffiti, and the climbing plants that ran up it trampled on, I expect you would be miffed.

On a grand scale, the response of literally hundreds to the vandalism at Cuckoo Lane which they all collectively enjoyed as if were their own is the same.

So, as Anthony A has related above, the pressure needs to be kept up until the perpetrators relent and repair the damage.
At 19:01 on 25th January 2014, BHFL commented:
The Radio Merseyside interview with Anthony AS was really good. Well done Anthony. Please would someone who can attend on Sunday take some photos with them showing the beauty of the lane in Spring. There are some lovely ones either on this site or facebook somewhere that show the beauty of the lane with stitchwort and bluebells flowering and the trees curving overhead. That might make people realise what we are complaining about. We don't want to walk on "roads" but on interesting paths with the changing face of the seasons to enjoy and appreciate. We need to reconnect with nature and be able to enjoy it.
At 21:05 on 25th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
I have printed and made posters of Cuckoo Lane in all its beauty in Spring, Summer and Winter in the snow. Have bluebells , white flowers, trees in full canopy and a photo made into a poster "Save Our Badger Run". Thought I had foxgloves but can't find them. I have one I made for Chester using other peoples photos with permission. I used that again twice in Neston and on Friday morning for our Radio Merseyside meeting.
At 21:10 on 25th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
We must fight to keep our lane a green lane. Will print off a few more shortly.
At 09:00 on 26th January 2014, dogwalker commented:
Good luck to all this am, hope the turnout is good and the weather does't put you hardy protesters off! I'm working unfortunately but my heart is with you all!!!
At 12:28 on 26th January 2014, SHric commented:
CO Jones said that he would like me to read his comment again and highlight where he/she accused me of anything.

Well he/she said, in reference to my comment about Janet Griffiths, that this is "no place for Nepotism or the old boys/girls network". I can't see any meaning for this remark, than that he/she thinks I am indulging in either Nepotism or being part of some old boy/girl network. Since I don't even know Janet I am clearly not and felt I needed to say so.
I simply wanted to say that she is someone who has comment on this forum and I agree with her comments, and also that she is someone who I see working tirelessly for the local community.

CO Jones
At 12:42 on 26th January 2014, CO Jones commented:
SHric, Great, thanks for clearing that up. Can the debate move on please? Are you going to answer any of the other points I raised or is that It?

To be brutally honest, I have just spent two hours at Cuckoo Lane with a hundred or so other like minded souls. It was cold but it was worth it. It really does not matter who you do or do not know or who has done sterling work for Neston in the past. This is about the here and now and the reality is Cuckoo lane is being destroyed.

I actually hoped there may have been some supporters of the scheme there to put their points across but yet again, they were knowhere to be seen. even more confirmation that the silent majority are a figment of the imagination.
At 13:06 on 26th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
There was a great community spirit up Cuckoo lane this morning. I wish we could have walked the BBC crew to the sandstone pavement and shown them the badger run whilst there.
At 19:00 on 26th January 2014, BHFL commented:
Thank you Cathy21 for doing your photos. Great to hear there was a good turnout today.
Anthony A
At 10:02 on 28th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Latest from CW&CC:

I’ve spoken to Sarah Clein who has been tasked with sorting the Cuckoo Lane affair out. She tells me that a paper is being prepared which reviews the available options. This will then be discussed with the relevant CW&CC council members, including Cllr. Loch (who instigated the scheme) and Cllr. Riley (the senior member of the Executive in charge of all this) who must agree the options. Sarah is aware of the views of local people through representations received, the Town Hall meetings, the survey results, a site visit, media coverage etc.

When the options have been agreed within CW&CC there will then be a ‘conversation’ with interested parties locally. Exactly how this conversation will take place is not yet decided but I’m clear it must somehow involve those groups and individuals who have asked to be consulted. Sarah hopes to be coming to us with the options this week.

If you have not yet written to Cllr. Loch or Cllr. Riley, I’d suggest it is still worth doing so to show them that this issue is not going to go away (lynn.riley@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk; kay.loch@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk). Why not copy in the Chief Executive too? mike.jones@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk).
Anthony A
At 20:13 on 29th January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Shocking reply from Mike Jones, leader of CW&CC:

I wrote to him this morning (under my own name) pointing out that, contrary to his recent assertion, there is no evidence that the works to Cuckoo Lane had been consulted on last summer, and that there were a number of other proven mistruths in what the council had said during this affair. I have just received this reply from him:

"Dear Mrs Smith
I am assured a meeting took place and at that meeting both local members supported teh scheme. The Council does not do miss-truths or miss lead. We have an investment programme to carry out these improvements, noting the lane was a sea of mud and un-usable. When completed, will be an excellent facility for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to use and enjoy.
M Jones"

I have no political axe to grind but am stunned that this is the calibre of person who is leading a multi-million local authority: not just semi-literate, but willing to deny that proven mistruths have been told to date and willing to add to them e.g. that the lane was 'un-usable', contrary to all evidence. This whole affair beggars belief.
CO Jones
At 22:12 on 29th January 2014, CO Jones commented:
That is very poor Anthony and very disappointing. Not entirely surprised given their track record.

Seriously starting to think that direct action is the solution here.

How many people, wheelbarrows and shovels would it to take to clear those planings over a Saturday and Sunday?

I am game..
Susan C
At 22:35 on 29th January 2014, Susan C commented:
What a rude, patronising response from Cllr Jones, and how insulting to the intelligence of local people. He obviously has no idea what he is talking about. Is his probelm the use of the word 'lane' I wonder? Is that singifying something more than what is (sorry, was) a pleasant rural gem of an ancient trackway? And now, of course a ruddy great ugly concrete block has to be put in place as some idiots will think it is a roadway.

Have we been told yet how many complaints had been received about the 'lane' in the last couple of years? How many people could not get to their destination because of the state of this vital thoroughfare??
At 23:10 on 29th January 2014, Tony commented:
I've been reading all this and saying schtum because I admit I didn't even know there was a Cuckoo Lane until reading about it on ch64. But that letter from the so called leader of the council has got my goat. To get mr and mrs mixed up is one thing but to also make up stuff and then have the nerve to say the council doesn't deal in miss truths is beyond my ken. Is he living on a different planet to the rest of us? Its a bloody disgrace.
Geoff H
At 12:00 on 30th January 2014, Geoff H commented:
Th implication from Cllr Mike Jones's (illiterate) response is that the work WILL go ahead to completion, as originally planned by CWaCC. So much for listening to the concerns of local people. Also, Cllr Jones implies that the work has been funded through the Council's "investment programme", whereas I understand that it was funded by Sustrans. The statement that the path was "a sea of mud and un-usable" is simply incorrect and I can only assume that Cllr Jones has been, er, "misinformed" . After all, as he states, he "does not do miss-truths".

By the way, most bridleways and many footpaths on Wirral are muddy at this time of year due to the fact that they are on clay soil, which means that they don't drain anywhere near as well as those passing over sandy soil. Does this mean that Cllr Jones is going to tip his Council's waste on all paths where there's a bit of mud in the winter?
At 17:38 on 30th January 2014, fish commented:
Hi guys am a ch61 not a ch64 but like your efforts. Would be worth finding out if an Environmental Impact Report was produced as these tend to be needed for most "construction type works" Also if Newt surveys were carried out. If any of the adjoining fields have newts in them then special measures need to be taken in erecting newt fences and the like. Good luck
At 18:04 on 30th January 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Fish, Liverpool Uni did a study when they first put their plans forward for 2 Turbines on a field next to Cuckoo Lane. Don't think there are any newts but there are badgers in a wood and English bluebells in the verges of Cuckoo Lane and a rare fern.
At 20:31 on 30th January 2014, fish commented:
Hi. Cathy21. If Liverpool Uni did a study then it would be for that turbine project and not necessarily applicable unless part of the turbine project included redoing Cuckoo Lane which is unlikely as it would not be suitable for construction vehicles.
Anthony A
At 07:38 on 31st January 2014, Anthony A commented:
If anyone is going to Kay Loch’s surgery tomorrow morning (I can’t attend) please can they ask what evidence she has that Cuckoo Lane was ‘often impassable’ or, in Mike Jones’s words this week, ‘a sea of mud and un-usable’. She hasn’t responded to my request for this information.

Perhaps remind her that many people will testify they were using the lane daily and photographs shows it was in good condition, despite the wet winter, a week before the works started.

Whilst writing, I hope those following this AMA thread have spotted the new article Carrie Spacey has posted on this site: “Cheshire West Council Leader 'Mrs' the Point Over Cuckoo Lane”.
Anthony A
At 10:04 on 31st January 2014, Anthony A commented:
Cuckoo Lane – what next?

Cheshire West are currently working on a range of options for what could happen next to Cuckoo Lane. We’re told the options will be agreed internally early next week. Louise Gittins and I will try to pin them down on an exact date/time when we can have those options so that we can set up a public meeting to discuss them as soon as possible – hopefully somewhere like the Town Hall. It will be very important that we can get a range of views from different types of user at that meeting.

I really hope that CW&CC come up with some sensible suggestions which we can agree swiftly allowing us all to move on from this affair. However, given council leader Mike Jones’s belligerent stance this week, I think we must also be ready to be disappointed. If this is the case then we’ll use the options meeting to put in place a War Cabinet to take the campaign to the next level.
Anthony A
At 23:37 on 3rd February 2014, Anthony A commented:
Good news! CW&CC have agreed to stop work on Cuckoo Lane. The sandstone-surfaced holloway section will definitely not be covered by asphalt planings.
Discussions will be held to agree what happens to the section where planings have already been laid but the council recognise that this needs to be visually improved.
Carrie Spacey, AMA editor, will no doubt report more on this story in the morning.
At 07:16 on 1st March 2014, J commented:
I think this has been a very selfish and narrow minded protest; the path improvements made running on the lane much better than trying to navigate mud and stones; this looks to me like a victory for the Luddites, the path will remain in the past.
At 07:25 on 1st March 2014, J commented:
Looks like the path will remain unusable except for the GREEN WELLIE brigade.
Susan C
At 07:31 on 1st March 2014, Susan C commented:
Several hundred miles of other paths more suitable for runners Mike- judging by recent reactions I would say yours was the minority view.
Just come in from a bad run? Well choose a more sensible route next time.
Anthony A
At 07:53 on 1st March 2014, Anthony A commented:
Even if you want a better surface for running does that mean the track needs to be 3 metres or so wide and covered in a material (asphalt planings) that is entirely unsuited to the countryside? Many people might have supported some form of ‘improvements’ to eliminate mud patches etc. but that is very different from the draconian solution that has been imposed (which, incidentally, the council designed for cyclists, not runners).

Yes, the track will ‘stay in the past’ but that is because it IS part of our historic environment. Destroying it can be no more justified than destroying an historic building. I’d suggest most people don’t want to see our heritage unnecessarily eliminated.

Interestingly, when Cllr. Gittins and I were on the lane this week with a couple of council officers, two runners spontaneously stopped us and said how awful the changes were. Clearly there are a variety of views, but very few have spoken up in favour of what the council were doing.
At 08:54 on 1st March 2014, J commented:
So the path will remain useable except by the few right wing fascists who have a loud enough mouth to make a protest, I would like this to have been a full vote for the entire local area and then see who is in the majority. The privileged few who want this to remain in the past and unusable except by them alone are selfish. My wife who was running with yesterday evening cut all here legs when running on this path in the unimproved area trying to stop falling over in the mud. As far as heritage is concerned, it's a path and a public right of way not a private path, (which the general public often abuse), and are you saying that I don't have the right to use it for running because it is some precious site. Put it to a full local vote and then decide not to the l decision of the loud mouth few. Then every one can have a say and I will stand by the majority view, you think you are in the majority because you are surrounded by people who have the same opinion and that is not everyone
Dave Carter
At 09:19 on 1st March 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Mike, quite a lot of rights of way have stiles in them, do you think that these should all be taken out?
Anthony A
At 09:22 on 1st March 2014, Anthony A commented:
No Mike, no one is saying you don't have a right to run there.

The area where you say your wife was hurt is muddy because the contractors' vehicles churned it up. Photographs taken a few days before the contractors came show it was firm and almost entirely mud-free.

I suspect most, if not all, of those who campaigned against this scheme would find your suggestion that they are 'right wing fascists' derisive and offensive.
At 09:27 on 1st March 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Mike, I agree with Anthony. Join "Save Cuckoo Lane" on Facebook to see lots of before and after photos. The grass verges in that now muddy section were the site of English bluebells, now very rare and protected!. Where the planings have been laid are now dangerous as big chunks are coming to the surface. I stumbled and I was only walking.
At 10:28 on 1st March 2014, J commented:
OK to answer the above
What is the comment on stiles about I don't understand the relevance
The path currently is unusable except in the area where the path has been repaired
It needs to be made usable
If you don't like the material used to repair it what material do you suggest?
A sandstone path would not be good as it would be unsafe in the wet
I still feel you probably think you are in the majority because you are surrounded by people who have the same opinion
The democratically elected members of the local council representing the local majority have made a decision to improve the path for all to use and activists with a loud voice have overturned that decision
The current repairs are better and safer than the old path

Anthony A
At 10:47 on 1st March 2014, Anthony A commented:
For brevity, I'll comment on just one of your points. The decision was not made by 'democratically elected members of the local council'. Neston Town Council was kept in the dark about the scheme all along and did not ask for it. The scheme was devised by a single local borough councillor who did not consult her fellow borough councillor or the local people. Are you arguing that once a single councillor is elected they should have the power to do absolutely whatever they want? Sounds pretty risky to me. Also, I repeat, the path was not improved 'for all to use'. If you consult the plan you'll see it was intended as a cycle path - the needs of other users were not considered which is why horse riders are up in arms, as are many runners, walkers etc.
At 11:07 on 1st March 2014, 8H commented:
Good Morning Mike

I run on Cuckoo Lane regularly and the old surface prior to "improvements" was very much better than it is now. I personally wish to see all the planings removed. Cuckoo Lane was a delight to see, not just a surface to run along. However, the lane is for walkers and horse riders too and whatever comes next has to suit all those people and meet the considerable anger caused by the mess the council created.

Having been involved a bit with the Cuckoo Lane protests I can confirm there have been no torchlight parades or book burnings so you needn't worry about Fascism arising in Neston in connection with this successful public reaction to a bureaucratic balls up. Enjoy the weekend!
At 11:30 on 1st March 2014, J commented:
We'll I run and compete in triathlons all over Europe and North America and personally don't have a problem with this surface
So cycling running or swimming is not a problem however swimming in Cuckoo lane maybe a problem
I was not happy with the d surface but would have tolerated it
The surface I feel needs improving so how shall this be done is the question people should ask
With regards to the council
Is it one rouge democratically elected councillor or the council the are conflicting messages here
I have met councilor Loch and don't believe she has do this as a malicious act
K & C
At 11:41 on 1st March 2014, K & C commented:
You have as much right to campaign for your views as those who campaigned against the 'improvements', Why didn't you do as Anthony did and gather those who held your views and arranged protests etc., for your view point, it is your right to do so but many cannot be bothered they just hurl insults against those who have taken the time to protest against a cause they believe in. Please feel free to arrange for all Neston to have a vote on this as you would like. It is sad that you feel people do not have a right to protest and should just leave all decisions to those in power. If we take this as a premise for your argument, your wife , or any woman, would never have been given a right to vote, as those in our history took the brave decision to protest and give up their lives for such. Those residents who have fought for this lane to be brought back to it's original beauty are not 'privileged' they are just ordinary people with a collective view. If you have the same backing for your view please feel free to show it. It may also be a good idea to google the meaning of words you have used such as 'facist' and 'right wing'. ' Loud mouths' is an insult to all those who have worked hard to keep a historical beauty spot. As for running on such a surface, it is painful to walk on it with thick soled boots on so how you can extol the virtues of a rugged and uncomfortable surface I find very hard to believe. Is there another agenda here I wonder?
Anthony A
At 11:43 on 1st March 2014, Anthony A commented:
To be fair I don't think it was malicious either, just ill-considered.
The council have made proposals to improve both the top and bottom sections of the lane as it now stands, as reported on this site previously. More info. will be available shortly.
K & C
At 11:47 on 1st March 2014, K & C commented:
BTW, no one has stated Cllr Loch has done a 'malicious' act, just a thoughtless act without consultation or common sense. Those in positions of power must take the rough with the smooth and hold their hands up when things they are responsible for have gone horribly wrong, Cllr Loch has been sadly lacking in doing so!
Dave Carter
At 11:49 on 1st March 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Mike, my experience of triathlon is limited to watching them on TV, but from what I have seen they take place on roads (not the swimming bit obviously). It doesn't seem to me that a rural bridleway is the right place even for training for a triathlon. For cross-country running that may be different.
CO Jones
At 11:58 on 1st March 2014, CO Jones commented:
Mike, been involved in this from the start and take umbrage at your accusations. I would be delighted if you never went anywhere near cuckoo lane again. You might want to take up boxing instead and vent some of that passive aggression.

Feel free to instigate the public vote you suggest. The pen is usually mightier than the sword after all.
Dave Carter
At 12:02 on 1st March 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Mike, the next time there is a vacancy on the Town Council, please put your name forward, or better still petition for an election and get yourself nominated.
Size 9's
At 12:28 on 1st March 2014, Size 9's commented:
In the words of Harry Hill, there is only one way to settle this...
At 12:57 on 1st March 2014, J commented:
There is no alternative agenda only an alternative point of view which you don't like obviously
This just so you have an alternative
With SOME of the comments here you cannot handle an alternative view
As it seems that some of you just want to keep the mud path for there own private use
I may put in for election I don't know
Finally if you don't run or participate triathlon you cannot really comment on what is the surface best for running as all types are to be considered
I think it is good that your group has had an alternative point of view
You may also be amazed by the number of people who share my point of view
The path needs to be made usable and not just a mud path
Instead of thinking I have another agenda or telling me I should stay away from Cuckoo Lane and not use it you should look at some of your comments before I came online and be constructive in resolving this problem
Dave Carter
At 13:38 on 1st March 2014, Dave Carter commented:

I disagree most strongly with your comment that the path is not usable. I walked up there a few weeks ago, as I wanted to see the situation in reality. We did not wear wellies, green or otherwise, but walking boots as we would for the Wirral Way. We are not the "green welly brigade", just people who enjoy a country walk. There were muddy bits, but 1) it has been an extraordinarily wet winter, and 2) we spoke to Gerry and to the farmer, and it was clear from what they told us that the muddy bits had been caused by the contractors, before they started it was perfectly passable in ordinary shoes. So comments like "its unusable" or "impassable" are a serious exaggeration. With good will on both sides, the "protesters" and CWACC are well on the way to a solution which, whilst not as good as we would have had if these discussions had taken place before work started, is at least acceptable for the vast majority of users of the track.
K & C
At 18:24 on 1st March 2014, K & C commented:
Mike, really hope you do go for election at town council or become a CWAC councillor. Certainly would be 'amazed by the number of people who hold your view', we have been waiting for some time for the 'silent majority' to come forward but they never seem to. EVIDENCE of their alternative views would be good. As for us being 'constructive in resolving this problem', this is exactly what this group has been done. Just walked the lane with 3 dogs and it is perfectly usable, though uncomfortable due to the big chunks of planings.
At 20:18 on 1st March 2014, J commented:
Well K & C; to answer the question of democracy; I would very happy to accept the majority opinion on the path.
Democracy is not perfect but it’s all we have; maybe anarchy would be a better solution if anarchy was understood fully.
With regards to women getting the vote; then at that time there was no democracy as not everyone was allowed a vote, prior to that only the Landed Gentry were allowed to vote.
When we have given the vote to prisoners and children then we will have full democracy as everyone’s opinion would be considered; then maybe Pudsey would make a better prime minister than what we have now ?
Yes the path is great where the path has been improved, the odd cobble can always be kicked out of the way; however where the path is just mud it is not good to walk.
Maybe if you had been with me tending to my wife’s cut legs you may have a different opinion, but you say that was caused by the contractors but I think it is your intervention in not allowing the contractors to complete their work and make the path good, so are you are implicated in my wife injuries last night.
CO Jones
At 20:29 on 1st March 2014, CO Jones commented:

The responses you have received to your comments seem quite rationale considering you opened with some quite out of order derogatory comments but it helps to be thick skinned when it comes to all things Cuckoo Lane. Many types of user have been involved in the campaign since day 1. Walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders have all had their say. I don't see that runners have been under represented at all and as someone who has a few marathons and a stack of half marathons to their name, I am genuinely intrigued why you feel the surface is particularly unsuitable for triathletes? My other half is a triathlete and she uses cuckoo lane for interval training. From under the bridge to the top and back several times in a session. All she does is uses her goretex trail shoes at this time of the year rather than her road shoes.
I enjoy running there come rain or shine because it is isn't always about the surface, it is also to do with the environment. If you have completed any rural triathlons you should be able to relate to that.
Everyone's input is very valid including yours but you don't have to insult people to get the point across. Would be appreciated if you could clarify why the fantastic 700 + years old sandstone pavement surface is so inappropriate for your training needs whereas most other folk on training runs there just cut their cloth accordingly and wear the correct kit.
At 22:09 on 1st March 2014, J commented:
My name is Michelle and my wife and I are a lesbian couple
CO Jones
At 07:16 on 2nd March 2014, CO Jones commented:
CO Jones
At 07:26 on 2nd March 2014, CO Jones commented:
Sorry folks, my tablet was acting up.

It is a pretty fair assumption to make Mike that you would be a male. It is also irrelevant. Have you ever heard the term trolling? Google it.

Most people do it inadvertently and seemingly have the ability to start a fight in an empty room.
At 08:00 on 2nd March 2014, J commented:
I apologize for any offense caused however I was angry because some I love was was hurt which I have blamed on the Cuckoo Lane campaign.
My gender or sexual orientation is irrelevant but this was not brought up by me but by an angry reaction on this site.
We will not use this lane again; not because we have been threatened by users of this site (which I feel we have), I understand your concerns over the lane, however it seem a pity you don't have any concern for people with a differing point of view; such is the way of the world
K & C
At 12:09 on 2nd March 2014, K & C commented:
' maybe Pudsey would make a better prime minister than what we have now ?'
Well certainly agree with you on that one!!
I would suggest if your wife has been injured on Cuckoo Lane you immediately put in a claim to CWAC for this. Don't think there was ever any injuries before the massacre of the lane.
Susan C
At 12:21 on 2nd March 2014, Susan C commented:
K & C, I hope that is not a serious suggestion - please don't encourage anyone to put in frivolous claims; we the council -tax payers will be the ones who cough-up in the end, even if only for CWAC's increased insurance premiums.
At 13:28 on 2nd March 2014, J commented:
Thanks for the suggestion; I'll put a claim tomorrow which will include a loss of salary at £400 per day.
Dave Carter
At 13:38 on 2nd March 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Don't forget to charge the salary loss at double time as it was on a weekend.
Susan C
At 13:45 on 2nd March 2014, Susan C commented:
How about a claim for hurt feelings against me as well for recklessly assuming 'Mike' was a man?
At 14:12 on 2nd March 2014, Cathy21 commented:
I'm trying to copy and paste a photo of Cuckoo Lane before but I can copy but not paste.
K & C
At 15:07 on 2nd March 2014, K & C commented:
Susan C
The suggestion was not to put in a frivolous claim, Mike stated his partner had been hurt on Cuckoo Lane which means if would presumably be a perfectly proper claim.
Katie Robson
At 15:28 on 2nd March 2014, Katie Robson responded:
Cathy, unfortunately you can't post pictures in our comments section. However, the slide show of 'before' pics is linked to in the bullet point list in the article above.
At 15:43 on 2nd March 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Thank you Carri.e
At 15:48 on 2nd March 2014, Cathy21 commented:
Carrie, I've seen Gerry's photos before but I have a lovely one of 2 doggies up Cuckoo Lane last summer (given to me their owner) and a couple of lovely photos of flowers.
Katie Robson
At 16:12 on 2nd March 2014, Katie Robson responded:
Feel free to email them to me and I can add them to the article. Carriespacey@aboutmyarea.co.uk.
At 22:10 on 4th March 2014, Philw commented:

At the Town Council tonight it was agreed that they would write to Cllr Riley and ask her to explain her comment to a member of this forum that CWAC had informed NTC of their plans for Cuckoo Lane. I must admit that the lack of interest from NTC members in this issue is startling, it was quite an effort to have it discussed. Although Cllr Marlowe was at pains to report the praise NTC had received from Mr McHenry for enabling locals to make their voices heard.
You would have been surprised as me to discover that when questioned many of the Cllrs present were unable to confirm that they had even looked at the Facebook page. maybe they are too busy listening to the silent majority?

At 22:43 on 4th March 2014, Philw commented:

Here is an extract from Cllr Riley's response to a complaint made by a member of the Facebook group

"Thank you for your email which communicates your disappointment.

As I am sure you have picked up from listening carefully to the discussions so far it was never the intention to create a road out of Cuckoo Lane. The work that has been undertaken to date is intended to create the base that would allow the natural vegetation to grow back so that Cuckoo Lane will look and feel as it always has done but with a firm base to support the leisure activities that you so obviously enjoy.

It is unfortunate that we could all have communicated better ...

Our intention is to do better in future, but communication is a two way process. We have provided a lot of information in the public domain that people like you seem not to be aware of. Cllr Loch and Cllr Gittens arranged for a briefing on the LSTF project which has been underway for 2 years in July 2012. The Neston Town Council has been receiving weekly briefings on all aspects of CWAC work including LSTF and has been privy to the opportunities that our Locality agenda brings.

Whilst Cuckoo Lane remains a CWAC project we are committed to working with a local group who has volunteered to step up so that the project can be delivered in a way that is more acceptable to local people.

I am sure the 600 people on the Facebook site who want to save Cuckoo Lane also want to see it improved for better access. We will all have succeeded when the many hundreds of people who are clearly happy to support the campaign will become active users of this much loved site"



Cllr Lynn Riley
Executive Member for Localities
Ward Councillor for Frodsham
Past Mayor of Frodsham

From this I understood that the TC had been fully informed.
Dave Carter
At 09:16 on 5th March 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Dear Phil,

I do look at the Facebook page, not very often now, but it is completely unreasonable to expect all councillors to do so. To start with, many, many people do not use Facebook at all, don't ever find out how to. Others, and I am one here, start using it, and soon realise that its a very effective way of wasting time and compromising your privacy, so either stop altogether or do so only occasionally (and always log out once you have finished looking at it). For a second thing, Town Council has a lot of issues on its plate, including taking over the running of the Town Hall and Market square, moving its offices, and taking on two new part time employees. Cuckoo Lane is a CWAC issue and always has been, and communications between CWAC and your group now seem to be working. CWAC do now keep the Town Council informed, did so last night in the closed pre-meeting (I will ask whether these meetings can be open, but I am not sure what the response will be). There was no different information from that which they have given your group and which has been posted on the Facebook page. But those Councillors who do not do Facebook now know these things. And their representative did thank the Council for holding the public meetings, as the Mayor has said.

Regarding writing to Councillor Riley, yes I did do so. I was alerted by the Facebook page, but I did not write until the person to whom that message was addressed (one of them, it may have been sent to several) quoted the message in an email and gave me permission to use quotes from it in my message to Councillor Riley. That permission was given to me, and although I stated in my message to Councillor Riley that I was a Town Councillor, and I copied my message to the Council, I could not write on behalf of the Council, and I don't believe that the Council can write without express permission from one of the recipients of that message.

I do not know whether Councillor Riley has communicated further with the recipients of the message above, after all the claims which I wanted withdrawn had been made to them not to me.

Dave Carter
Dave Carter
At 09:20 on 5th March 2014, Dave Carter commented:

I think that you should close all of the current Cuckoo Lane threads and open a single new one, they are all too long now and rambling.
Katie Robson
At 09:23 on 5th March 2014, Katie Robson responded:

I can't close threads without losing all the existing comments. I will only open a new one if there is a new story or angle on this.

Anyone wishing to add comments to this thread, please note that due to the sheer number of comments on it, it can take a while for your comment to publish, which has led to some duplications being posted. Please, only press 'Zing Comment' once, and then be patient - it will publish, but depending on your operating system etc, it can sometimes take longer than would normally be the case on a shorter thread.
Dave Carter
At 09:52 on 5th March 2014, Dave Carter commented:
Fair enough Carrie, I wasn't sure how it worked. I will now press zing and go for a cup of coffee.
Old Timer
At 06:59 on 6th March 2014, Old Timer commented:
I am sorry if any user of Cuckoo Lane has been injured as a result of the new surface, but any blame does not lie with the protest group. When the council agreed to stop the work they instructed the contractor to make the lane safe before they left the site. This is probably in writing somewhere.

Anthony A
At 07:58 on 6th March 2014, Anthony A commented:
For goodness sake, enough of this nonsense. People who incur a scratch or two when out running should put it down to ‘life’ and just move on rather than seeing it as an opportunity for a compensation claim. Anyone who sees it as a way to make a fast buck should take a hard look at their moral compass.
Susan C
At 08:15 on 6th March 2014, Susan C commented:
Well said Anthony! And I'm still not convinced that we were supposed to take all that seriously anyway. Visions springing to mind of this poor woman with her legs slashed to pieces, because she encountered a bit of muddy path whilst triathlon training?? Come off it.
At 21:25 on 8th March 2014, Philw commented:
Like many on the Facebook page have commented I have not yet received an email from CWAC asking for my contribution to the consultation on Cuckoo Lane, even though I gave my details to the Town Council. Has anybody else?
At 09:25 on 2nd April 2014, Cathy21 commented:
The "Tidy Up" work starts this morning, Wednesday 2nd April, up Cuckoo Lane. Yesterday, early evening, we walked up Cuckoo lane and my husband photographed several different celandines, stitchwort and we think wood anemone flowering. The verges are recovering. Hope when they are tidying up that they don't damage the verges further.
At 14:03 on 2nd April 2014, J commented:
That is great news that now something is being done.
Those that want improvements to the lane are getting their wish as they see the works restarting and those that do not want improvements to the lane will see that the new changes are done with care to the existing environment.
It has to be change for the better and let's hope that all parties agree as the lane cannot stay in it's current state of ill repair
At 14:13 on 2nd April 2014, J commented:
That is great news that now something is being done.
Those that want improvements to the lane are getting their wish as they see the works restarting and those that do not want improvements to the lane will see that the new changes are done with care to the existing environment.
It has to be change for the better and let's hope that all parties agree as the lane cannot stay in it's current state of ill repair

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