New lakeside footpath opens

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St James Lake in Brackley has a new, improved footpath, thanks to community funding of nearly £90,000.

Work to improve the pathway around the lake has finally been completed, with town mayor Fiona Baker cutting the ribbon on Saturday morning.

Owned by Anglian Water, the lake has been leased to Brackley Town Council for more than 40 years. The footpath round it is enjoyed by many local people, but it had fallen into a poor state.

The improvements followed a consultation by the town council regarding use of the lake.

It found that the condition of the footpaths was the overwhelming reason why many people did not visit the lake, particularly in the winter months. The consultation also identified the need for a picnic area and more benches around the lake.

With about 1km of footpath to be resurfaced with material suitable for everyone to use, the town council sought financial support from other organisations to supplement its own contribution of about £25,000.

South Northants Council (SNC) gave a grant of £42,000 to assist with the resurfacing, the Tesco Bags for Life scheme met the costs of the picnic area and a £10,000 grant from Brackley Vision will pay for improved interpretation panels to help visitors identify birds, fish and flowers.

The path will continue to be maintained by groundsmen, who carry out weekly maintenance, as well as the Friends of the Lake group, Brackley Angling Club and Brackley Town Council.

SNC chairman Caryl Billingham said: “St James Lake is a beautiful area that we want all residents to be able to enjoy for many years to come.

“The grant from SNC will go a long way to ensuring it can be made full use of, whatever the season and by all members of the community.”