Charity campaigners are finally within sight of their dream of creating a safe cycle route linking Lubenham to Market Harborough, after a draining 12-year campaign that went all the way to the Secretary of State for the Environment.
The Adam’smile route, along an old railway line, is planned as a lasting tribute to Lubenham schoolboy Adam Mugridge, who was killed while cycling to school in Market Harborough. Adam was 13.
Adam’s father David told the Mail this week: “We’ve got there. It took a very, very long time, but we’ve got there. We’re all absolutely elated.”
The breakthrough Leicestershire County Council vote in favour of the “safe route” came last week.
The council officially recognised the mile-long route, from Old Hall Road, Lubenham to Farndale View, Market Harborough, as a public right of way.
David said: “The family walked out of the council chamber and burst into tears.
“We were kept going by our friends and supporters, and our determination to create a legacy forAdam, and try to ensure that no other family suffers the tragedy of a family member killed on that stretch of road.”
The long campaign began soon after Adam’s was killed in September 2006, while cycling to Welland Park Academy, along the busy A4304.
The Adam’smile group was started shortly afterwards, with the simple aim of creating a safer route into the town.
Focus shifted from the road itself to the old railway line that linked Lubenham to the town, and was still used by walkers. But the land had five different owners, and not all were in favour of a cycle route, David said.
Another complication was that two different county councils were involved – Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.
As years went on and agreement seemed as far away as ever, the charity had a bold idea.
They would get the unofficial footpath officially recognised through a Definitive Map Modification Order.
All they had to do was prove it had been used as a footpath for 20 consecutive years.
The team put together a 62-page document recording the history of the route.
Then, because Leicestershire County Council kept putting off dealing with the case, said David, they went to the Secretary of State to order the council to act.
Now the family - David, wife Kate and Adam’s sister Lucie - can start planning the route itself.
A cycleway can be paid for by the Adam’smile charity, which has already raised £140,000 since Adam’s death.