Plans for a new £1.25m cycle path along the Solway Coast have cleared a major hurdle with work now expected to start this summer.
Common land consent has been granted by the Planning Inspectorate for the ‘Solway Coaster’ project which will see the creation of new off-road sections of the route between Allonby and Silloth.
Allerdale Borough Council has taken the lead on the project which was developed by the Silloth-on-Solway Coastal Community Team (CCT), a mix of public, private and community partners.
The CCT secured £1m from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and a further £250,000 from DEFRA’s Rural Development Programme for England (part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) for the project.
The ‘Solway Coaster’ scheme will create a 14.1km cycleway between the coastal towns and will form part of the National Cycle Network Route 72 (Hadrian’s Cycleway), which runs from Ravenglass to South Shields, Tyne and Wear.
The path is aimed predominantly at cyclists, but the off-road sections will be multi-functional and accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. A total of 4.63km of the new route will be ‘off road’ and 9.47km ‘on road’. The ‘on road’ sections of the route will utilise the existing carriageway and will include appropriate signage, markings and line painting.
The new path will join on to the Maryport to Allonby Cycleway and some of the funding will be used to resurface the existing section of the path, improving the experience for cyclists and making the path more accessible for those using wheelchairs and pushchairs.
With all statutory permissions now in place, ground investigation works completed and detailed designs nearing completion it is hoped construction of the new cycleway can begin in summer (2020) and work to appoint a main contractor has begun.
Mike Johnson, Deputy Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, said: “When the new cycle path opens it will be a fantastic facility which I’m sure will be well used by residents and visitors alike.
“The cycleway will increase the amount of off-road path cyclists and pedestrians can use, making it safer for people to travel around, while also promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.
“Our work on this initiative supports the council’s drive to boost tourism across the borough and its wider Visit Allerdale initiative.”