AN area of the River Dane cordoned off for stabilisation four years ago is still out of bounds to the public.

In March 2003 Vale Royal Borough Council deemed it necessary to carry out the work in a bid to stop the masonry wall that forms the bank to the river from collapsing.

The work was initially due to finish in June that same year but 13 months later there was no progress and the area, which forms part of the gateway into the town, has been named as one of Northwich's grotspots.

In July 2004 Rod Willet, from Vale Royal Borough Council, said there had been contractual difficulties but told the Guardian: "We are hoping to get it going again as soon as possible."

But to date the area is still not safe and members of the public want to know why.

Cty Clr George Mainwaring said: "I've had a lot of people stop and ask me what is happening there.

"It used to be a nice little park area and I know lots of people used to go and sit there on their lunch breaks.

"It's ridiculous that it's taken this length of time."

He added: "I'm disturbed that an entrance to the town has been closed and is such an eyesore. It is supposed to be a facility for everyone and yet no one can use it now."

A spokeswoman for VRBC said: ""The work to stabilise an area of land next to the River Dane in Northwich town centre has been completed, however, the council is currently awaiting a guarantee of workmanship from management company WS Atkins, which it employed to oversee the work.

"WS Atkins has advised the council that the guarantee of workmanship will not be issued until it is completely satisfied that the work done by the contractor, Bethel Construction Ltd, meets its specification.

"The council is hopeful that a resolution will be found soon, and it will have an assurance that the land is safe for public use."