PLANS to use stretches of canal towpath in the Colne Valley by cyclists and horse riders, as well as walkers, may be scuppered by British Waterways.
Kirklees Council has earmarked a length of towpath between Linthwaite and Milnsbridge for a 12-month trial before deciding whether to create an eight-mile greenway.
But it has been revealed that British Waterways, which owns the path along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal , has not given the go-head for the trial and has "serious concerns" about shared use of the towpath.
British Waterways' Yorkshire boss, Laurence Morgan, expressed concern about conflicts and inappropriate use.
He told Colne Valley Society his organisation was worried about the narrowness of the towpath and difficult sightlines.
Mr Morgan said British Waterways was carrying out a review of the risks involved in shared use.
Society chairman Mike Shaw said: "We are astonished that Kirklees has gone so far with its greenway planning without getting agreement with British Waterways
"We are very interested to note that British Waterways shares our concerns about safety if the towpath is opened up to cyclists and horse riders as well as walkers.
"British Waterways is not happy about the proposed shared use. If it rejects the plans, Kirklees will have spent a lot of time and money for nothing."
Mr Shaw said the council had already decided to spend £140,000 on the trial stretch of towpath.
The council's highways group engineer, Chris Johnson, said Kirklees would widen the towpath by clearing vegetation. It would also re-surface it in a manner agreed with British Waterways.
He added: "Appropriate signs and access controls, as necessary, would be agreed with British Waterways.
"An appropriate maintenance regime would be agreed with British Waterways. It is likely that Kirklees would contribute funding to British Waterways, as landowner, for path maintenance, such as vegetation management and path repair."