Group calling for roads on Cannock Chase to be reopened
A new campaign group is calling roads around Cannock Chase to be reopened
More than 100 people have joined the group Save Cannock Chase, which is calling on Staffordshire County Council to reopen the Chase Road at Brocton.
Ahead of Father's Day this Sunday, the group is also calling for the Cannock Chase SAC Partnership to reopen its consultation into the restriction of parking, closure of laybys and instigation of parking restrictions to make it easier for people to visit the site where their loved one's ashes have been scattered .
Residents have noticed certain roads have been closed intermittently for the last three months.
Campaign founders Mandy Dunnett and Stuart Haynes said many people scatter their loved one's ashes on the Chase and the group wants to make sure people are not stopped from visiting their fathers and grandfathers on Father's Day due to the closure.
The group is asking for the reopening or partial reopening of the Chase Road ahead of Father's Day as well as the removal of cones at the Hednesford entrance, and the reopening of the consultation document into the closure of laybys, roads including the Chase Road and increased charging and capacity at paid for car parks.
The Cannock Chase SAC Partnership questionnaire ran during October and November 2019 and a total of 130 different responses were received. Save Cannock Chase, which was created on June 13, now has more than 100 responses to its own questionnaire.
Mr Haynes said: "We're calling on Staffordshire County Council and SAC to reopen its consultation into the restriction of parking, closure of laybys and instigation of unaffordable parking restrictions throughout Cannock Chase, which would unfairly restrict access to those in the nearby towns and villages of Hednesford, Heath Hayes, Rugeley, Stafford and the wider Black Country as well as the elderly and disabled.
"We're also asking for those areas that have been closed off to the public, including the Chase Road to be reopened or at least partially reopened to the public before this weekend.
"The planned and current closures are the biggest restriction to access to the chase since it was gifted to the people of Staffordshire in 1957 by Lord Lichfield.”
Ms Dunnett added: "Within days we already have more than 100 respondents on both sides of the argument and many more looking to take part in the debate via our Facebook page. The county council-organised SAC only managed a total of 130 responses throughout their two-month under-publicised consultation, which included the councillors who were proposing the changes themselves.
“I would encourage all of those who love and access Cannock Chase to join the Save Cannock Chase group on Facebook and to make their feelings known about these ongoing and repeated closures as well as the long term plans to restrict access.”
In a response, the council has said the Chase Road closure is a temporary measure.
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Cannock Chase, said: “The closure of Chase Road to reduce the risk of fires in a sensitive area is a temporary measure. Despite recent heavy rain, Cannock Chase is still fundamentally very dry and there remains a great risk of fire if people are not careful.
“We are liaising with the fire service and Chase Road will reopen once the fire risk is reduced. Plans for long-term car parking will also be made public in due course.
“Cannock Chase is 26 square miles and there remains plenty of access, as evidenced by the thousands who have visited since lockdown eased.
“People are welcome on the Chase, but we ask they behave responsibility, do not light fires or barbecues, park considerately and respect social distancing.”
The Save Cannock Chase Facebook page is at facebook.com/groups/304600480708141