Salford Council and Peel Holdings, the owners responsible for much of the land on which the River Irwell and the Manchester Ship Canal reside, are still battling with each other concerning who should foot the bill for the damaged riverside footpath between Salford Quays and Spinningfields.
Located behind Mowden Road Business Park and the Soapworks, parts of the path and their protective railings collapsed into the river during the Boxing Day flood of 2015, which were the worst since just after the Second World War.
The site was fenced off by Salford Council in a bid to temporarily keep people from getting too close to the damaged section of the path, making the section inaccessible to the public since the event that happened over two years ago.
The flimsy fencing measures have since been toppled and seemingly forgotten about, allowing access once again through the unprotected area towards Salford Quays.
Anyone wanting to use the path – once titled the Aspirational Walkway by the Council* - must navigate the toppled fencing and the severely damaged pathways.
"It has been a main artery for people who have come around from the Quays" says local resident Barbara Hill "People use this to walk to get into town, people use this for exercise, for jogging...there's cyclists that use it but it's blocked off now.
"There's no end in sight of it getting any repairs, and the fact is, water will still be getting underneath and doing further damage" she adds "This could potentially cause subsidence to all of the businesses Salford City Council is trying to attract, let alone our homes which are just opposite the gates of the Water's Edge Business Park."
Along with fencing off the area, sandbags and rockbags were placed at the exposed areas underneath the path in an attempt to stop water from eroding the parts under the path and creating further damage.
Questions arise concerning the effectiveness of these measures when, starting out as a temporary solution, the makeshift protection has been in place for far longer than anticipated.
"It's been brought up at various council meetings and all we're told is that it's down to Peel Holdings to repair the sub-structure and they're refusing which is where we stand now" Barbara explains.
"It seems the Council won't challenge Peel Holdings up 'til now because they have too much power and money" she adds "We don't know what's going to happen. It just looks terrible and it's an amenity that's not available."
Peel Holding's reputation for holding councils to ransom over costs are not isolated to just the path repairs, as they had tried to place maintenance and liabilities of Barton Lifting Bridge on Salford Council, among other such incidents (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Another local resident, Julie Barbour, adds: "Peel are very well known for not putting their hand in their pocket to fix things that belong to them. You only need to go further up the footpath from the damaged site to see that the bins don't get emptied and the bushes don't get cut back.
"They don't look after anything they own and when anyone tries to get anything out of them they just ignore them" she explains "They should be made to upkeep their property."
With Peel seemingly refusing to pay for the repair bill on the land, it seems unlikely that, without additional pressure, the company will act to take responsibility for its property.
When asked for an explanation, both Peel Holdings and Salford City Council refused to comment...
...However, in the Council's new draft accounts, published this month, there is a note which states "The Council is in dispute with a land owner regarding repairs required to a riverside walkway. The maximum liability is estimated at £2million. No provision has been made for this in the accounts..."
*See also previous related Salford Star articles...
Salford Council spends over £1million on Ordsall riverside walkway – click here
Cultural Vandalism In Ordsall – click here
Words by Sam Cain
Main photo shows Julie Barbour attempting to take her dog for a walk