The walking and cycling charity Sustrans has secured £260,000 in funding from the Department for Transport to contribute to the rebuild of Gooseholme footbridge in Kendal.
The DfT funding is part of a £20 million funding package for Sustrans to make improvements to the National Cycle Network across England. The funding was announced in March, but details of the projects that will benefit have only just been revealed. In Cumbria the charity also secured £93,000 for repairs to a short section of path on Hadrian’s Cycleway at Sellafield.
Gooseholme bridge has been closed since January 2016, when it was damaged by Storm Desmond. The bridge links to National Cycle Route 6 and other traffic free paths and Sustrans is working with Cumbria County Council to help rebuild and upgrade the structure to a cycle and footbridge.
The DfT money supports the £1.65m bridge project funded and delivered by Cumbria County Council as part of its Infrastructure Recovery Programme. Other funders include the Environment Agency and South Lakeland District Council.
Rosslyn Colderley, Director of Sustrans in the North of England said: “We’re delighted to secure another piece of the funding to help rebuild and upgrade this important piece of walking and cycling infrastructure in Kendal. The new design will be more resilient to floods and provide a safe crossing point for people on foot or bike and link up to traffic-free paths on either side of the river.”
“The new bridge will be accessible for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggies and the work is an important step towards achieving our vision to have paths for everyone on the National Cycle Network.”
A Cumbria County Council spokesperson said: “Cumbria County Council welcomes the contribution from Sustrans to help fund the council’s £1.65m project to replace Gooseholme bridge in Kendal. The existing bridge was damaged during Storm Desmond and work is underway to remove this structure, in order to deliver the replacement bridge in 2020. The new structure will be a single span bridge which will be 3.5m wide to provide shared access for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users. The scheme will be jointly funded by Cumbria County Council, the Environment Agency, South Lakeland District Council and Sustrans.”
Sustrans works with local authorities and partners across Cumbria to help improve the National Cycle Network and to help more people walk and cycle everyday journeys. Route improvements and repairs to the Network are part of Sustrans’ recommendations in its Paths for Everyone report, a review of the Network, released last year. The report highlights the need for the Network to be accessible for all and designed to a standard that would be suitable for an unaccompanied 12 year old.
Within Cumbria Sustrans are currently working on various projects including LEADER funded Hadrian’s Cycleway rejuvenation and The National Lottery Heritage Fund project Track of the Ironmasters. Both of these have seen great improvements made to the cycle tracks in Cumbria.
The National Cycle Network includes 16,575 miles of walking and cycle routes, around a third of which are traffic-free. Sustrans owns and maintains just 2% of the Network. The report highlighted that while 54% of routes are good or very good, 46% are poor or very poor. Sustrans aims to make the Network safe and more accessible for everyone, improve the standard of routes and double traffic-free sections by 2040.