A CANALSIDE towpath in Chester has fully reopened this week after 18 months of “frustrating” delays.

The stretch between King Charles’ Tower and the Northgate locks was gated off to the public in November 2017 following concerns about falling rocks.

A stand-off then ensued between Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) and the Canal & River Trust over who was responsible for maintaining the cliffside.

The legal impasse led to huge frustration for pedestrians and cyclists who once enjoyed being able to travel unhindered alongside the Shropshire Union Canal.

But today (Tuesday, May 21) the council confirmed that the towpath was now fully open again following a joint programme of works between the two organisations.

A spokesman said that work had taken place to clear and cut back vegetation from the area.

Furthermore, a close inspection of the rock face was then undertaken by specialist contractors to ensure all loose rock was removed and the section was made safe.

A schedule of on-going maintenance for the area has now been developed by both organisations to ensure the towpath remains open.

The council’s Director of Place Operations, Maria Byrne, said: “We appreciate how frustrating the closure has been for local residents and visitors but our priority throughout was the safety of visitors and our residents.

“We’ve worked closely with Canal & River Trust to ensure the area can reopen and I’m delighted this popular towpath is now accessible for everyone to enjoy in time for summer.”

Dave Clarkson, senior engineer, Canal & River Trust said: “We know how well used this section of the towpath is for residents, visitors and cyclists - it’s a key gateway into the city centre for many people.

“We’re pleased to have worked jointly with the Council to reopen this route for all to enjoy.”