Tree felling begins along Lancaster’s Millennium Path to make way for two mile flood barrier

Tree felling along the Millennium Path.
Tree felling along the Millennium Path.

Tree felling has begun along the Millennium Path in Lancaster to make way for a two mile flood defence wall.

Many trees have already been cut down between the Skerton Bridge and Lancaster TA Centre section of the path, with further work due along the rest of the route up to the Bay Gateway bridge bear Halton in the coming weeks.

Caution signs on the Millennium Path.

Caution signs on the Millennium Path.

Trees marked in blue paint are facing the chop.

Plans for the flood wall were passed in December 2018, and the council has been busy trying to raise the £10m required to safeguard business premises in Caton Road, which were hit badly by Storm Desmond in 2015.

According to the city council, the wall will cut the flood risk along this stretch of the river to a one in 100 year risk of flooding.

But a diversion plan for pedestrians and cyclists along Caton Road while the work is being carried out has been branded a shambles.

Tree felling work on the Millennium Path.

Tree felling work on the Millennium Path.

A diversion plan has not yet been put in place, however the path remains open while the tree felling work is carried out.

Matt Hodges, Lancaster and Lakes, Cycling UK member and “Right to Ride Representative” for Lancaster, has called for the plans to be revised.

He said: “When I looked into the proposals in more detail I was horrified by how damaged this green park would be even after the path reopened.

“At the Holiday Inn there will be a concrete wall between the path and the hotel and adjacent to the path. It will look like a prison from the path and from inside too.

Trees felled along the Millennium Path.

Trees felled along the Millennium Path.

“The Masterplan drawings on the City Council planning site under Planning Application No 18/00751/FUL show the wall will be adjacent to the path for much of its length.

“Sometimes on the river side cutting off the path from the riverside woodland and leaving the path as an unpleasant back alley between the concrete wall and the industrial estate security fence.

“Imagine this with the barbed wire topped fence on the left and a ruddy great concrete wall on the right.

“Is that an attractive Millennium Park?

“Many walkers like to wander into those woods for a better view of the river. That won’t be possible with the flood wall on the right.

“At other places the wall will be adjacent to the path on the Industrial estate side cutting off an area of trees which will become full of litter and junk thrown or blown over from the industrial estates.

“This plan will vandalise the Lune Millennium Park.

“Planting a load of young trees that will take decades to grow won’t make it an attractive park again.

“This damage can all be avoided if they construct the wall along the estate boundary in place of the present fence and do it mainly from the car parks and other hard standings.

“By the Holiday Inn an earth bank grassed over would make a pleasant barrier viewed from both inside and from the path.

“It’s time for the council to revise their plan and preserve this superb facility for now and for future generations.”