UK riders got a £50million early Christmas present today when national cycling charity Sustrans hit the jackpot in a competition for a bumper Lottery money windfall.
Some 79 cycling-friendly projects across the country will get a share of the money – making it easier for six million people to walk and ride. Bikeradar.com got a tip off that Sustrans’ Connect2 project had won earlier today, when the charity was still in the dark about its success. Sustranspress officer Ruth Bowen told us this morning: “We’re sitting in the office waiting to hear.” But by the early afternoon the good news for the group was confirmed, with a 2pm announcement by competition sponsors ITV.com.
John Grimshaw MBE, founder and Chief Executive of Sustrans said: “This is fantastic news, and thanks to everyone for your help in winning £50 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund for Sustrans to invest in walking and cycling UK-wide.
“This really is an amazing achievement for our charity and the many local authority and other partners with whom we will work on Connect2. We simply couldn’t have done it without you and your votes.”
The National Lottery People’s £50 Million contest saw four separate projects vying for the cash.Sustrans had an advantage though, because it was the only scheme which covered the entire country. The wide-ranging impact of the project saw newspapers across the country campaigning for a win.
The Connect2 project was developed by Sustrans working with councils and communities, and aims to transform local travel, and make it easier to walk and cycle for short journeys. Nearly two thirds of all car journeys in the UK are of less than five miles. Connect2 should provide an alternative, by creating new walking and cycling routes, and building bridges over rivers, railways and busy roads. Sustrans says this would enable more people to reach the places they want to get to in a way that would benefit their health – and the health of the environment.
Not every UK cyclist will be happy about today’s announcement. The Sherwood Forest was also vying for the cash, and would have spent some of it on improving 250km of mountain bike trails and paths through the famous woods. But support from film actor Kevin ‘Prince of Thieves’ Costner and current BBC TV Robin Hood Jonas Armstrong wasn’t enough to swing the votes in favour of the project.
The other schemes in the running were the Eden Project in Cornwall, which wanted to create a new building, and the Black CountryUrbanPark, which would have landscaped green spaces to link industrialised and deprived areas in the Midlands.
Scroll down for the full list of Sustrans projects now set to benefit.
Norwich – connections to Whitlingham Country
Royston railway crossing
St. Neots – a River Great Ouse bridge
Cambridge to Wicken Fen
Watton and Griston link
Cheshunt, crossing the A10 to reach the Lee
Carlton-le-Moorland and Bassingham Link
Holdingham and Sleaford over the A17 road
Leicestershire – links through WatermeadPark
Northampton – Briar Hill and Upton Park, River Wellingborough, Rushden, Higham Ferrers.
Islington Walking and Cycling Routes
Paddington – Westbourne railway bridge and links
South Bermondsey – disused rail bridge links
Bethnal Green and new bridge over Regents
Havering – IngrebourneValleylinks
North East England
Bedlington and Cramlington Connection
Ingleby Barwick, Yarm, Eaglescliffe and Blyth Ferry
Durham– Belmont to Newton Hall over Belmont
Derry/ Londonderry– greenway and cycle path
Strabane – RiverMourneBridge and links
BallymoneyRailwayBridge and links
Omagh – riverside path and new bridges
Three Mile Water greenway
Nantwich to Crewealong the A530 corridor
Marple and Stockport, GoytValleyconnection
Huyton – The StattMoersParkLinks & RochdaleCanalTowpath Connections