Rights-of-way campaigners have claimed a partial victory in a battle to preserve a well-used bridleway believed to be an ancient packhorse route.

Landowner Robert Thompson has withdrawn controversial plans to reclassify and downgrade the route in Cullingworth, known as Bingley Bridleway 140, following objections from villagers, Bradford Council has confirmed.

Jackie Guy, chairman of Cullingworth Parish Council, which initially opposed the plan, said: “Common sense has prevailed. Bridleway 140 is an integral part of the existing bridleway network and losing it would mean the loss of an important amenity in a rural area.”

However, a Government inspector will still have to make the final decision on whether horseriders and cyclists can continue using the route or whether to downgrade it to a footpath, despite Mr Thompson withdrawing the proposals.

The inspector will make a decision based on written objections, a public hearing or a public inquiry.

Bradford councillor Michael Ellis, who has backed the villagers’ fight to retain the bridleway, is urging people who use it to send their objections to the planning inspectorate.

Coun Ellis (Con, Bingley Rural) said: “I am absolutely delighted that he has withdrawn this application because of the high number of representations that I had from various interested parties, some saying this was part and parcel of an ancient packhorse route.

“I would hope, when the inspector is appointed, that he or she looks at this with a bit of common sense, looks at the objections to this and makes the decision accordingly.”

He added: “I would urge all the people who have objected previously to do so again to ensure that the inspector has all the information before making a decision.”

Mr Thompson dropped the proposals to reclassify Bingley Bridleway 140 after similar plans for an adjoining route, known as Bingley Bridleway 134, were thrown out by an inspector following a public inquiry in January.

Inspector Martin Elliott concluded there was not sufficient evidence to prove that the bridleway should be a footpath, and rejected the council’s decision to downgrade the route.

A letter to the objectors from Bradford Council’s rights of way manager Kath Windett reads: “I am writing to you, and all the other objectors, to give you the opportunity to make further comments on the order to downgrade bridleway 140, particularly in light of the inspector’s decision on bridleway 134 and the applicant’s withdrawal of support for the downgrade of 140.”

Mr Thompson did not want to comment.

The deadline for objections is tomorrow.