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An MP has backed plans to breathe new life into a disused railway line by converting it into a cycle route.
The Burntwood Action Group has called for the Lichfield to Brownhills line via Burntwood to be used as an alternative link between the two areas.
The plan has been backed by the area’s Conservative MP Michael Fabricant who said he gave it his “enthusiastic support”.
“I have consulted with the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust as the Lichfield Canal would run close to the line and some points, and they too support this initiative,” he said.
“So, provided Network Rail have no plans to restore this line – and I believe they do not – this scheme has my enthusiastic support.
“I hope to walk part of the route with members of the Burntwood Action Group in the not too distant future and see for myself the project’s potential.”
Simon Caron, vice chair of the Burntwood Action Group, said plans were already at an advanced stage.
“We have been working with a number of organisations and have finally, after considerable effort, met with Network Rail to discuss a proposal to open the disused railway line between Lichfield, Hammerwich, Burntwood and Charringtons on the A5 as a cycle and walkway,” he said.
“This would provide our residents with the first traffic free route to and from Lichfield and Chasewater. With the backing of local businesses and using our own volunteers we would develop and manage the route under a licence signed by Burntwood Town Council.
“We have discussed the proposal with council leader Doug Pullen, who has given his full support. We have also approached Lichfield City Council for their support and staff at Sandfields Pumping Station are very excited about this proposition as the route would end at this point, offering possibilities for the development of catering facilities.
“With further work at the Brownhills end it should be possible to link the route to the canal towpath, allowing an extension to Chasewater. This would provide a traffic free footpath and cycleway all the way from Lichfield to Chasewater.
“We believe that this proposal, which could be delivered with minimum finance or expertise from outside agencies, will create a positive impact on communities.”
Update: An original version of this article suggested Lichfield Waterworks Trust were also behind the proposal. They have asked to clarify that while they agree with the idea of the route being opened, other organisations have been behind the plans.