May 2021 – Lichfield, Brownhills, Staffordshire.

Lichfield District Council is starting work on a project that could transform the mothballed railway track between Brownhills and Lichfield into a new cycle and footpath. Working with Network Rail and Sustrans, the council will assess a section of the old South Staffordshire Railway line for its potential to reopen as a greenway. This would link into the National Cycle Network which runs between Walsall and Brownhills. A feasibility study will be carried out this summer to gauge the scale of the project, likely issues, opportunities, costs and how best to develop it. The findings will be used to draw up a project plan and engage with the local community and partners. Councillor Doug Pullen, Leader of Lichfield Council, said: ‘Having seen, back in 2018, the excellent work carried out by the community group Back the Track, who are working to open up part of the disused South Staffordshire Railway between Walsall and the A5 as a leisure greenway, I’m tremendously excited that we are now in a position to explore the development of a greenway from Brownhills to Lichfield. This project presents real opportunities for our health, mental wellbeing, local connectivity and our visitor economy. I’d like to thank Network Rail and Sustrans for their willingness to bring it to life.’ Councillor Richard Cox, Cabinet Member responsible for Leisure, added: ‘We’re excited to get this project started, as creating a high-quality offroad cycle and footpath will be a great asset for the district. It will connect the National Cycle Network and encourage more of our residents to exercise and commute to work safely.’ Local RR member Phil Mullarkey says though: ‘I have mixed feelings about it myself as it could ‘snooker’ the reopening of Lichfield to Walsall. I’m a member of Lichfield Rail Promotion Group as well as RR!!’ (Lichfield District Council; Bob Prigg; Phil Mullarkey)