The travel route from Whiston to Cronton was approved despite concerns about crime !

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Plans for a mixed-use trail were approved despite concerns raised by some local residents that it could be used for “county line activities”.

Proposals for the track, leading fromox’s Bank Lane, in Whiston, to the Penny Lane Highway, near Cronton, attracted a number of complaints when Knowsley Council submitted them to the planning department.

Concerns ranged from shooting nearby mud pigeons, to concerns about potential flooding, lack of lighting, inaccessible barriers, and potential crime along the path.

At a Planning Committee meeting in Knowsley Council on Thursday, 12 January, a local resident raised concerns that it could be used for county line activities.

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This was rejected, however, by Planning Officer Claire Appleyard after a question from the President, Cllr David Longergon. Ms. Appleyard said she has not received any reports from the police about county line concerns in the area the route will cover.

Ms Appleyard also addressed broader concerns that the track could become a magnet for antisocial behaviour, as she said only seven cases of antisocial behavior had been recorded in the past two years.

The objector, Mr Marc Bolan, also raised concerns that the route could become costly for the council as one area in particular is often flooded.

He said pictures had been sent to the Planning Department showing flooding at the site, adding, “There is a loss of field due to flooding that occurs quite regularly along that edge. There is washing out on a frequent basis, I’ve lived there 20 years and I’ve seen it often.”

Cllr Ron Gaffney said he learned that the site sometimes resembled a “lake”.

Another issue raised was the lack of lighting, something that was put in place to minimize damage to wildlife populations at night.

Pullman said this fueled concerns of antisocial behavior and that suitable options on the A5080 were already lit and should have been considered instead.

Other concerns included taking advantage of a greenbelt or arable land for a bike path, although officers said the benefits of sustainable travel, and work to address the climate emergency weighed more than the loss of a small amount of arable land.

urthermore, the route will connect to Halton and part of the broader Trans-Penine Route, helping to connect a network to build sustainable travel options across the wider region.

In the end, council members voted in favor of the proposals, by 12 votes to just one, meaning the sustainable multi-user path can now move forward.