A decision over the future of a stretch of leisure trail, which is part of a proposed £3 million route from Cullingworth to Queensbury, was being made at a public hearing today.

A stretch of the Great Northern Railway Trail – a six-mile, multi-use path along the route of a disused railway line from Cullingworth to Harecroft – has already been opened but a dispute with landowner Phillip Summers is holding up work on phase two from Thornton to Queensbury.

A Government inspector was to decide today whether to confirm an order made by Bradford Council to create a public bridleway across Mr Summers’ plot between Headley Lane and Cockin Lane, near Thornton.

Jeff McQuillan, chairman of the Great Northern Trail Forum, which is working with alternative transport group Sustrans and the Council on the project, said the money was already in place to complete phase two of the trail and work could begin immediately if the inspector upheld the Council’s order.

He said: “It will be a significant step if the bridleway creation order is confirmed. We will be in a position to go forward in opening up that section of the route linking Thornton to Queensbury.

“We are almost halfway towards opening up the trail. We still have a long way to go but we will get there in the end.”