A BRIDPORT businessman has started a new Facebook ‘friends’ page for the proposed trailway cycle route between Maiden Newton and Bridport.

Julian Brooks is a keen supporter of the Sustrans cycle/walkway route and wants to help get the project up and running.

Sustrans project manager Peter Henshaw said construction work began last week on the section behind the Co-op car park to Bradpole but there are 15 landowners to negotiate with on the 10-mile route to Maiden Newton.

Mr Brooks’ Facebook group is called Maiden Newton to Bridport Trailway Friends Group.

He said: “I am trying to rekindle the interest in the project because I think it is a fantastic idea.

“It is all about sustainable green transport and about tourism and can only be of benefit to the communities once it is complete.

“This group is for anyone who wants to see the Maiden Newton to Bridport and West Bay stretch of old railway line reopened as a Sustrans walking and cycling route. It is a friends group and our chance to show how many of us want to see it opened.”

Mr Brooks works in Bridport and lives in Maiden Newton and would love to use the route himself.

He said: “I am new to Maiden Newton, I moved there in September and heard about the trailway project.

“Because I am a runner and cyclist – the idea of cycling from Maiden Newton to where I work is very appealing.”

He said it appeared the project had gone very quiet and he was keen to find out what was happening.

He said: “There was a big noise about it three or four years ago but it has gone very quiet.

“There are some signs up here at the Bridport end that say Dorset County Council and Sustrans will be working on this new route.

“It sounds like there are some protracted negotiations at the Maiden Newton end.”

Mr Brooks has been in contact with Mr Henshaw who thought the idea of a friends group would be a good one.

Mr Brooks added: “If there are landowners along the route who are concerned about anything then a friends group could be useful as a way of showing to landowners that there are local people signed up who would be happy to organise work parties, to keep the route clean and maintain it.

“It is a point of contact and if landowners do have any issues they can post online on the Facebook page.

“Then at least we will know about it and we can do something about it.”

Bridport Town Surveyor Daryl Chambers said: “This new path will be another link in a great cycle and walking network around Bridport, and there’s more to come.”

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