RESIDENTS fear their road could collapse as they drive over it as a row over who owns it has rumbled on for 18 months.

Dog Pits Lane, off Burnley Road, Bacup, is the only access road for 17 residents who live at the end of it.

But a year and a half ago, a several metre long stretch of retaining wall, foundations and road surface fell into the field that runs alongside it due to subsidence.

Residents say they have made numerous requests for the county council to fix the lane, but said they have been told that the road is unadopted, and therefore not the council’s responsibility.

However Bacup Coun Jimmy Eaton said he has a deed that proves the lane is adopted.

Jean Offord, a farmer, said: “I’m really frightened that when I’m driving over it in a big tractor that it’s going to collapse beneath me.

“There are several elderly residents that live here, and there’s no way an ambulance will make it down here, so it would be terrible if they became ill.

“There are people who rely on oil for their heaters, and the delivery driver wouldn’t come down here the other day, which means they only have a limited supply of heat left.

“We’ve laid a metal plate on top of the hole so we can drive over it.

“There’s an electrical cable where the hole is which has become exposed and which carries the power for all our homes.

“What if our power is lost and the company won’t travel along the lane to fix it?

“The county council won’t take responsibility for fixing the lane, but it is there responsibility and we need them to get it sorted.”

Coun Eaton said: “I can go back 30 years to when I was a postman, I would see men employed by the council doing repair works on the walls.

“Dog Pits Lane has definitely been adopted in the past and the county council needs to listen to these residents and fix the road.”

David Goode, Lancashire County Council Public Rights of Way Manager, said: "We maintain Dog Pits Lane as a public footpath but the county council officers' view is that it is not part of the adopted highway network.

"The evidence presented that some relatively minor maintenance has been carried out in the past does not prove that it is publicly maintainable for vehicles.

"While the damaged wall could have an effect on the path to some extent it continues to provide adequate access to pedestrians."