A controversial Leyland ginnel has turned into a cul-de-sac after being mysteriously closed off at just one end.
The plot has thickened in the ongoing ‘ginnel-gate’ saga of the footpath which connects Leyland Lane to Earnshaw Drive.
The ginnel was used for decades, but gates at either side were locked when the former Shell garage was demolished a few years ago, and the land went on the market.
Residents campaigned to get the footpath back in use, but Shell said it would depend of what the land was used for in future.
Some at the Earnshaw Drive side said they were happy for it to remain closed, as it had attracted anti-social behaviour in the past.
Now, a new housing estate has been built on the former Shell site off Leyland Lane, and Lancashire County Council (LCC) has re-opened the ginnel –but someone has locked the gate at the Earnshaw Drive end.
Coun Jane Bell, who wanted it opened, said: “I have no idea why it’s been locked.
“It’s only a small padlock so I don’t think LCC has done it.
“People thought it was great when it re-opened, but a few have wandered down and have had to come back.
“A lot of people have ended up cutting across the school field (Golden Hill Short Stay School) because the ginnel further down Leyland Lane is very slippery and dark.
“The footpath was open fully for about three days and people from both sides told me that’s what they wanted.
“Older people from Earnshaw Drive want to use it to get to the shops, church and bus stops on Leyland Lane – it’s straight and easy to use.
“People used it for about 70 years – everyone always used it as a shortcut.”
David Goode, LCC’s public rights of way manager, said: “We’ve heard reports that this path is blocked.
“We will take appropriate action if it can be confirmed as a public footpath, but that isn’t currently recorded.
“We have received an application to have it recorded as such and we’re about to make the legal order for it.
“This involves a statutory procedure ensuring all interested parties have a chance to put forward any evidence.
“Until the outcome of this legal order has been determined, we wouldn’t be able to take enforcement action to remove any obstructions, such as a locked gate.”