Friday, March 15, 2024

Update on delays faced by Linear Park delivery

Officers at West Lancashire Borough Council have announced that due to various delays, the Ormskirk to Burscough Linear Park will not be delivered by the ambitious target of March 2024. However, work on the final part of the project is expected to start this summer.

Councillors had last year requested that officers provide an update on progress with the delivery following Taylor Wimpey’s completion of their section of the path through High Grove Park. 

A report in July 2023 to Full Council stated ‘Officers have ambitions to ensure work associated with the Ormskirk to Burscough project will be completed by end of March 2024.’

A Council spokesperson said: “Officers initially felt that this project could be delivered in a timely manner with completion by end of March this year.

“Due to a unique combination of site conditions, ecological matters, legal and planning requirements, and planning the works to take place during better weather, we have unfortunately had to review this target date. 

“We’d like to apologise to residents for this delay as we know many are very much looking forward to using it, but we offer our assurance that this will be delivered. The funding is in place, agreed and ringfenced, consultants have been appointed and the work is now planned to take place in drier weather over the summer months.” 

Officers will share the revised delivery programme following site investigations and other due diligence to ensure this last piece of the project is built to a high standard with longevity.

Councillor Anne Fennell, portfolio holder for Communities, added: “This is a project I have been pushing for since I was first elected to West Lancashire Borough Council and in my portfolio role of Planning last year and Communities this year. 

“We must see this project delivered, it is too important to residents and to the future of our borough, as the benefits are wide ranging. 

“I’m frustrated, as residents will be, to hear of the delays officers have faced, but it is pleasing to hear that despite this, work continues to deliver the project, and that the relevant landowners are fully on board with us.” 

Environmental and habitat surveys will now take place as the final technical details of the proposed route are developed. Construction work will then start in late summer following a competitive tender process to secure a contractor. 

The Linear Park is a key strategic transport and green infrastructure improvement in the Borough. This shared cycle and footpath will provide both sustainable transport options for residents and biodiversity enhancements along the former railway line corridor between Ormskirk and Burscough. 

West Lancashire Borough Council funding for this section was given the go-ahead in September 2023 when £364,200 of Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 monies was earmarked to support this vital infrastructure project.  

The Linear Park will have a positive environmental impact for Ormskirk, Burscough and the broader Borough. It will alleviate congestion and lower greenhouse gas emissions, all while enhancing air quality by promoting a shift from car usage to more active modes of transportation. 

The scheme will also encourage healthier lifestyle choices for commuters travelling between Ormskirk and Burscough, offering an appealing and accessible alternative commuting corridor while enhancing access to shops and local amenities.