THE Friends of Walkerwood have enlisted the help of a national charity in their drive to make the Millbrook reservoir a visitor attraction.
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, joined the Friends who met with officials from Groundwork at Walkerwood to discuss the proposal.
The charity, which works in the most disadvantaged part of the UK to create better places to live and work in a greener way, is to conduct a survey of Walkerwood.
A circular footpath already exists but is in a poor condition and requires considerable upgrading.
Mr Reynolds described the meeting as “significant” and a further step forward with the proposal.
He said: “It was a positive meeting and Groundwork are keen and enthusiastic to become involved.
“We want to see if we can get a group of organisations to sponsor a survey to get things moving.
“There is already a footpath but it is not of a standard and needs considerable work doing to it.”
The Friends of Walkerwood have already received the backing of the two major stakeholders, United Utilities and Enville Estates.
Neil Merriman, a Labour party activist who came up with the vision in 2015, believes it would be a massive boost to the local economy.
He said: “The reservoir is within a half-hour walk of Stalybridge town centre and our matra is walk to Walkerwood.
“We are looking to open the area for walkers and don’t want to bring in more cars.
“United Utilities and Enville Estates don’t want cars as it is a fire road. We agree as we saw how it needs to be kept clear during last year’s moorland blazes.
“By getting more people to use the green belt in will make it easier to save from future development and easier to protect from things like fly-tipping.
“Funds can be accessed to make it happen but until we have the results of the survey we cannot move things forward.”
It was during a break during the 2015 General Election campaign that Neil took Mr Reynolds to Walkerwood to sell his vision.
But it was only last year that they went public with their plans having gained the backing from United Utilities and Enville Estates.