A FOOTPATH is under threat after water giant United Utilities submitted plans to use it for heavy goods access.

The 1.5-mile “loopline” in Parsonage Road, Walkden, opposite St George’s High School could be transformed so the water company can use it to access a new pumping station.

A number of trees lining the path could also be felled to make way for a road for tankers and cranes.

Concerns have been raised by residents that the plans will create an added danger to walkers and schoolchildren.

Cllr Iain Lindley, for Walkden South, said he was disappointed that United Utilities had not made a bigger effort to talk to residents.

The company says it has consulted with locals and argued that the proposal would have the least environmental impact of all the options.

The pumping station at Summerfield Road in Roe Green has been built over the past year to prevent sewer waste seeping into waterways.

Cllr Lindley said: “The loopline is well-loved and much-used by local residents and I am extremely concerned about the effects of this proposal.”

Helen Wilson, spokesman for United Utilities, said there was no nearby access route to the pumping station. She said: “The closest access point for our construction traffic has been from the East Lancs Road at Walkden. We will need to carry out maintenance, possibly once a year, on the new pumping station. We have looked at the possibility of building a new access route closer to the site, but this is impractical as it would involve felling a large number of mature protected trees.

“We believe, on balance, the route along the loopline would have the least impact.”