WORK to improve footpaths connecting the Hartford blue bridge to Hunt's Lock park is starting this week.

Cheshire West and Chester Council's team have started installing a new pathway and resurfacing others to provide better access for pedestrians and promote sustainable travel to Northwich town centre.

As part of the project, overhanging tree branches will be cleared along with some scrub and tree vegetation on the main route.

While the work is taking place, sections of the footpath will be closed to the public at intermittent times, but the council has said the closures will be managed to minimise inconvenience.

The council's director of environment and communities, Maria Byrne, said: “The council has carried out an ecological site inspection prior to the work starting, to ensure that there are no negative impacts to the ecology and biodiversity of the River Weaver corridor and Marshall’s Arm Local Nature Reserve.

Northwich Guardian: Scrub and tree vegetation along the main routeScrub and tree vegetation along the main route

"All vegetation clearance works will be thoroughly checked for nesting birds and any bat roosts to ensure that they are not disturbed during the development of the new and refurbished footpath.

“This worthwhile project will significantly enhance pedestrian access and promote sustainable transport connections to Northwich town centre, reflecting the council’s ambition to tackle the climate emergency by becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2045.”

Along the route, which will also connect with Saxons Lane, repairs will be carried out to the existing boardwalk platform and other outdoor furniture in Marshall’s Arm and new seating, information panels and signage will be added at key locations.

The project is being carried out by the council along with Canal and River Trust (CRT) and other interested parties such as Friends of Marshall’s Arm Local Nature Reserve.

Rebecca Mason, CRT enterprise manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “The River Weaver Navigation and the Marshall’s Arm Local Nature Reserve are wonderful havens for enjoying wildlife and for walking, cycling and angling. Being by water is great for boosting your mental health, so it’s fantastic that the Council is improving the waterside footpath. Hundreds of residents from Hartford and beyond will now be able to enjoy the all-weather path and greater access to the beautiful river.”

Section 106 funding from nearby developments, including Weaver Park, off School Lane and Hartford campus, has made the project possible. Work is due to be completed by mid-July.