Plans for traffic-free routes in Southampton and the Warwickshire town of Kenilworth have moved a step forward.
UK sustainable transport charity Sustrans has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Southampton City Council and another with Warwickshire County Council.
It confirms their commitment to work in partnership on the National Lottery-funded Connect2 project, which aims to encourage people to choose walking and cycling for everyday journeys.
In Southampton, a boardwalk will be built along part of the tidal River Itchen between Northam Bridge and Horseshoe Bridge. Work is due to start in April, with the opening pencilled in for October 2009.
Over the next five years, further work will connect the riverside route to the city centre, creating a traffic-free link so thousands of people can walk or cycle to school, work or the shops.
It is estimated the project will cost more than £1 million, with £450,000 coming from the Big Lottery Fund.
Councillor Matt Dean, Southampton’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “I am delighted that we have now secured the funding for this very important project. This boardwalk will help to open up our waterfront to the public while providing an essential link for walkers and cyclists alike.”
In the Warwickshire town, a disused railway line known as the Kenilworth to Berkswell Greenway will be transformed into a cycle path.
Work is planned to start in December, with completion set for autumn 2011.
Over the next five years, traffic-free links will be built to the university campus and town centre.
This project is set to cost £700,000, with £300,000 coming from the Big Lottery Fund.
Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, Councillor Martin Heatley, said: “This route will open up Kenilworth to walkers and cyclists by providing essential links throughout the town and a new route through to the University of Warwick.”
Sustrans’ Connect2 project manager, Tim Temple, said: “We are delighted to be making this significant step towards completing the scheme in Kenilworth. In this era of rising fuel prices and concerns about the health of individuals and our environment, enabling more journeys to be made by foot and bike can only benefit our community.”
The Connect2 project is part-funded by a £50 million Big Lottery Fund grant. It won the money after the UK public voted the scheme the winner of The People’s Millions Lottery contest last December. The rest of the cash will come in the form of locally sourced match-funding.
Connect2 aims to transform travel in 79 communities throughout the UK, from Devon to Perthshire, and change the lives of six million people.