A major milestone has been passed in Lichfield District Council’s project to establish a dedicated route for walkers and cyclists between Lichfield and Chasewater.
The Greenway will be created on the former South Staffordshire Railway Line, which opened in 1849 for passenger travel and coal and oil transportation but has not been running for decades.
Lichfield District Council has been working on preparations to transform the line into a ‘recreational corridor’ and has signed an agreement with the landowner, Network Rail, enabling preliminary works to begin.
The project will be progressed in collaboration with Back the Track, a group of volunteers who have already redeveloped the Brownhills to Pelsall section of the line – also known as the McClean Way, and Sustrans, the charity that works to create walking and cycling routes across the UK.
The Leader of Lichfield District Council, Councillor Doug Pullen, said:
“I’m delighted that after many years of negotiation and an in-depth feasibility study, this agreement has been made with Network Rail allowing volunteers to get started on the Greenway.
“When completed it will provide families with the perfect environment to enjoy cycling, walking and running in safety well away from busy roads.
“The work that Back the Track has already done is nothing short of a miracle, and we are fortunate that such a brilliant group are willing to continue their superb work.”
Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for High Streets and Visitor Economy, Councillor Janice Silvester-Hall, said:
“The Greenway will be a fantastic facility for the district’s residents, and visitors to enjoy.
“In addition to the leisure and environmental benefits it will bring, the Greenway will improve connectivity between Chasewater, Hammerwich, Burntwood and Lichfield.”
Tim Kitchen of Back the Track said:
“In 2017 when Back the Track started clearing the disused railway line between Walsall and Brownhills, our ambition was always to get to Lichfield so there would be a destination at either end. Now BTT are delighted to have been asked by Lichfield District Council to share our expertise in helping to open up the missing link.”
Kent Farrell, sponsor for Network Rail’s Central route, added:
“We’re pleased to be working with our partners at Lichfield District Council to explore how disused railway land between Lichfield and Brownhills could be repurposed to help better connect local people and increase the provision of sustainable journeys in the area.”