Long-term Closure of Canal Towpath (Colne Valley Greenway): Notice of demonstration

Demonstration Saturday morning 14th October at 11.00: Long term closure of canal towpath

Cycle Kirklees – the Kirklees Cycling Campaign – will be rallying to demonstrate our concern about the long-term closure of a section of the Colne Valley Greenway at the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Longroyd Bridge, Huddersfield on Saturday morning 14th October at 11.00, meet us by Hearth & Home, Manchester Road HD1 3JB.

The Canal and River Trust (CRT) initially closed this essential pathway seven months ago due to an unstable wall. Recent developments have uncovered the presence of asbestos behind it, further complicating the repair process.

Chas Ball, Secretary, Cycle Kirklees said: 

“Seven months into this closure the signs don’t look good for remediation.

“The canal path is the only traffic-free route along the Colne valley and is used by many for commuting and leisure and is a vital walking route. The busy A62 Manchester Rd is now the most direct alternative and is unsuitable for cycling and no more attractive for walking.”

“It’s an important route, that has had a lot of public money spent upgrading it. It is frustrating that the maintenance of active travel facilities has low priority – and that the CRT is starved of resources, despite managing a critical national network of canals. It is unclear at this stage if CRT has the resources to fix it and certainly do not appear to be able to do so quickly.”

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal towpath (Colne Valley Greenway) has been subject to a large investment over recent years to improve access for walkers and cyclists and to make it more accessible to wheelchair users. This followed extensive consultations on a plan developed by transport charity, Sustrans. Funding for the upgrade to the canal towpath was provided by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s City Connect programme and by Kirklees Council.

The first phase, between Huddersfield and Milnsbridge, was completed in October 2018. The most recent phase, between Milnsbridge and Slaithwaite, was opened by the West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin in spring 2022. Until March 2023, it proved popular, but was then closed. 

This has become an issue for residents along the whole valley from Huddersfield to Marsden. Kirklees Council is now bidding for funds to extend the ‘greenway’ from Slaithwaite to Marsden and Tunnel End and the Colne Valley has been selected for a behavioural change campaign by WYCA called Ride It, Walk It! “Efforts to get more people cycling and walking, to reduce pollution and emissions as well as improving residents’ health and wellbeing, are undermined if what limited infrastructure there is not maintained”, says Cycle Kirklees.

For more information: Chas Ball 07970 666146 www.cyclekirklees.org.uk

Andy Hirst at Huddersfield Hub wrote about the demonstration here.