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MP backs plan to use former railway line to create new cycle route between Lichfield and Burntwood

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.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant

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.

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15 Comments

  1. Nick

    26th September, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    On 9 Jun 2015, Fabricant tweeted the following:
    “Lifts should be installed at Lichfield Trent Valley in 2016.
    This has been a major campaign fought and won!”

    It’s September 2018, where are these lifts?
    All very well ‘backing’ something like this cycle route project, but how about delivering on existing promises first?

  2. John Griffin

    26th September, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Guess what, I have walked it this spring. Jungle in the cuttings, trees growing out of the track bed. Fabbo better wear his gaiters snc take a machete.

  3. Richard

    26th September, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    That would actually be excellent!

  4. Mike

    26th September, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    The idea of restoring the Lichfield-Walsall train service gone to the wind then…

  5. S Fisher

    26th September, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    How can this be a BAG idea when Back the Track have been doing this already on the Brownhills to Pelsall section for some time? Have a look at their website http://www.backthetrack.org and you’ll see that they are far more advanced and it wasn’t a BAG/Farewell Lane Preservation Society/Simon Caron idea at all.

  6. Steve

    26th September, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    @Nick You just can’t rush these things.

    On 29th July 2004

    Michael explains. “By changing the designation, it makes it clear that there are no disabled facilities at Trent Valley. This will increase the pressure to provide alternative arrangements – such as a lift – for elderly and disabled travellers.

    https://www.michael.fabricant.mp.co.uk/2004/07/29/improvements-at-lichfield-railway-station/

  7. S Fisher

    27th September, 2018 at 7:35 am

    I wouldn’t mind if the track was actually in Burntwood but it isn’t. Shows how well they all know the local area. It doesn’t pass through or join Burntwood to anywhere so saying “via Burntwood” is false.
    Fabricant’s interest in this would be far less and probably none existent if it went from Brownhills to Burntwood but it goes from Brownhills to Lichfield via leafy Hammerwich and bypasses Burntwood all together so from his perspective all is good. There is the possibility of it being linked to Chasewater which has become inaccessible from Burntwood without a long drive and parking charges so that’s also of limited benefit as well.

    Only real use for someone in Burntwood is if you are a mountain biker.

    It will be a nice place to go for a walk once you’ve driven to, rode a bike to, or walked a few miles to an access point (hope you can park). Likely to end up with scramblers racing up and down it unfortunately so will need police to monitor it and they are a rare commodity now due to Fabricant’s band and those who support them.

    Nice idea in an ideal world but ultimately a big white elephant taking up an MP’s time that could be better spent elsewhere.

  8. Bob Mail

    27th September, 2018 at 7:50 am

    That’s actually the wrong link to the Back the Track website! This is the correct one: http://www.backthetrack.org.uk/

  9. Leigh Geary

    27th September, 2018 at 11:50 am

    A lot of cutting needs to happen and the rails need removing, but it would be a great route to cycle on and a new way to get from Lichfield, through Hammerwich and Burntwood / Chasewater to Brownhills and further afield

  10. Ken

    28th September, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Sadly some real negative comments here. It’s a great idea. With many advantages and uses a disused resource. What’s more it will be a great tie in with the harf work done by back the track.

  11. Terry Price

    28th September, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    What isort the point of commenting when you remove any adverse comments

  12. Ross

    28th September, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Hi Terry,

    I’ve just checked and I haven’t removed any (and I’ve been the only person looking at comments recently). We’ve moderated one comment as it was potentially libellous.

    Thanks.

  13. nospills

    28th September, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Yes Mr. Fabricant, please keep up. If you don’t get the lift built at Trent Valley it will be in Tamworth and they won’t want it!

  14. Matthew Burns

    2nd October, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    At the moment cycling to lichfield from Brownhills is a bit of a nightmare having to use very busy roads, so this is a good idea, and walkers will finally be able to walk to lichfield if they so wish, which again, from Brownhills is fairly impossible to do, unless you have a death wish.

    Problem is, will it be policed properly and kept in good order for cyclists, free from glass and crap for example.

    Well see. But this is a cracking idea in theory and we should all support something like this.

  15. John Griffin

    5th October, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Nowt to do with Fabbo or Burntwood Action group, it’s Brownhills based with Councillors Woodward and Fisher involved for TWO YEARS.

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