Closure of Historic Lake District Road Sparks Protest with Over 1,000 Locals Demanding Reopening

Protest to Keep Thirlmere Reservoir Road Open

More than 1,000 locals have joined a protest aimed at preventing the permanent closure of a historic road that encircles Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District.

The closure of this road has restricted access for ramblers, cyclists, and horse riders, preventing them from enjoying the scenic 10-mile walk around the reservoir.

Temporary Closure Due to Storm Damage

The U7003 road on the western side of Thirlmere Reservoir was temporarily shut down two years ago following severe damage caused by Storm Arwen.

This closure has disrupted the circular route around the water, impacting outdoor enthusiasts.

Concerns of Accessibility

Cyclists have been particularly affected, as they are forced to use the busy and treacherous A591 on the eastern side of the lake, diminishing the peaceful and scenic experience that the closed road provided.

Strong Public Opposition

On a recent Sunday, over 1,000 people gathered to express their dissatisfaction with the road’s continued closure.

In addition, almost 10,000 individuals have signed a petition on Change.org, advocating for the road’s reopening, emphasizing safety and public right of way.

Petition and Its Demands

The petition calls for the public road along the western side of Thirlmere Reservoir to be reopened to walkers, cyclists, and motorists as a through route.

It opposes the proposal by Cumberland Council to permanently close a section of the road, stressing that the entire road should remain open for all forms of traffic to enjoy the quiet and scenic route.

History of Storm Damage and Closure

The road has faced several disruptions over the years, including damage caused by the “Beast from the East” combined with Storm Emma in 2018 and the more recent impact of Storm Arwen in November 2021.

Fallen trees, disturbed rocks, and debris have posed significant challenges.

United Utilities’ Commitment to Reopen

Owners United Utilities have expressed their commitment to reopening the road as soon as it is made safe.

However, concerns persist that the road may never reopen if Cumberland Council’s proposal for permanent closure is approved.

Historical Obligations

The historical significance of the road is rooted in the “Manchester Corporation Waterworks Act” of 1879, which mandated the creation of the reservoir and the construction of a public road maintained by the corporation for public use.

A Plea for the Preservation of Public Access

Local historian Ian Hall and other protesters emphasize the legal obligation to keep the road open and accessible.

They insist that the closure is not in the public’s interest and that preserving the right of way is essential.

Decision Pending

The final decision on the road’s fate will be made at the Cumberland Council Highways Strategic Board meeting scheduled for November 10.

The outcome will have a significant impact on the future access of walkers, cyclists, horse riders, and motorists to this cherished Lake District route.

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