PEOPLE in Barnoldswick have begun talks to establish a Friends of Greenberfield Locks group.

The award-winning section of the Leeds-Liverpool canal has fallen into a state of disrepair after years of neglect.

Now councillors and fans of the scenic stretch want to restore the locks to their former glory.

Greenberfield Locks, which date back to 1794, were named national champion of the British Waterways’ Lock and Bridge competition in 1998.

Councillor David Whipp and Barnoldswick resident Mike Clarke, president of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal Society, were among those who recently met up with representatives of the Canal and River Trust to discuss potential improvements to the site.

Suggestions included better signage, picnic tables, benches and landscaping in the area surrounding the canal.

Coun Whipp, chairman of the West Craven Area Committee, said: “We’ve agreed to a programme of work to address the dilapidated areas around the locks.

“We’ve also drawn up a volunteer programme of work. We’d like to invite anybody interested in joining a Friends of Greenberfield Locks to complement the works the Canal and River Trust is doing to make it a beauty spot once again.”

Craven Councillor Ken Hartley has also thrown his backing behind the campaign.

He said young people in education or skills training programmes could be asked to improve the dry stone walls around the locks and that there is potential to develop a natural or built heritage feature at the site.

The move comes after calls by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson to clean-up the parts of the canal that run through the borough.

Mr Stephenson said he had received several complaints from residents over problems with litter and fly-tipping along the stretch between Brierfield and Nelson.

He said: "The Leeds Liverpool canal is used by many residents and tourists and recent additions like the Reedley Marina have been a great boost to our area.

“However, the amount of litter along some sections have led to residents saying some parts are now an ugly eyesore rather than a tourist attraction."