Work has begun to create a new greenway linking Lichfield, Burntwood and Brownhills.
Lichfield District Council has commissioned the charity Sustrans to complete a feasibility study on a new route for walkers and cyclists along the mothballed South Staffordshire Railway Line.
Engineers have visited the site to identify possible access points to link with communities and facilities along the route, including the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal restoration project.
Designs are now been drawn up for the greenway, which will feature a minimum three-metre wide surface and include elements such as a new play space and seating areas along the way.
Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of Lichfield District Council, said:
“I’m really pleased to hear about all the progress being made on the feasibility study, which is very positive.
“The sooner we have an overall idea of what the project will involve, from the designs through to local engagement, the sooner we can work in partnership to make it happen.
“Greenways are amazing as they encourage walking and cycling in safe spaces away from traffic and connect communities.
“To have an old railway line fenced off and unused is such a shame, and so bringing it back as a greenway for the good of all our local communities would be a real achievement.”Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council
Sustrans is now working with Network Rail to allow their ecologists to gain access to the old rail track, so they can analyse the potential ecological impact of the route and how biodiversity can be protected and encouraged.
Joss Winter, network development manager for Sustrans, said:
“We are excited to be working with Lichfield District Council on the greenway feasibility study.
“It would provide a key connection between two areas, providing a traffic-free route for school travel, commuting and leisure. It would link to Chasewater and onto the McClean Way.
“The existing National Cycle Network Route 5 is on road, so the greenway would provide a safer alternative for all users, supporting our Paths for Everyone strategy.”Joss Winter, Sustrans