Connect Bristol 2 Nailsea and beyond - walking and cycling network a step closer

It's one year since Sustrans' Connect2 won the TV vote to bring £50million from the Big Lottery Fund to 79 communities across the UK to create networks for everyday journeys for people travelling by foot or bike.

On December 11, 2008, the £1.5million pound project to connect walkers and cyclists from the centre of Bristol to Nailsea and beyond is a step closer as sustainable transport charity Sustrans and its Connect2 partners at Bristol City and North Somerset Councils sign the paperwork that will guide the development for the coming years.

This agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding, confirms partners' continued commitment to the project and pledges £600,000 from Sustrans' Connect2 lottery award to complete the network of traffic-free paths, bridge refurbishments and links through quiet roads which will connect people from the city to the heart of Ashton Court and onto neighbouring towns and villages.

At the Bristol end of the walking and cycling network, there will be a 3metre wide shared use crossing over refurbished lock-gates in the Floating Harbour; a new path will take walkers and cyclists safely under the flyover and beside Bedminster cricket club onto a new crossing over the busy A369 (Clanage Road) to the lower entrance of Ashton Court and UWE's Art Faculty.

At Ashton Court, a new path will run around the bottom of the hill, inside the estate and below the manor house to the original main entrance, where a link will be provided onto Long Ashton, to Nailsea and beyond.

Cllr Terry Cook, Bristol Council's Cycling Champion says: "We are really excited about this new route out of Bristol and beyond. Since the public vote last year, the council have been working behind the scenes to make this route the best it can be.

"A new crossing will soon run across the top of the existing lock gates in Bristol Floating Harbour, offering walkers and cyclists a 3-meter wide path as a quick and convenient crossing through the harbour. The route will pass beside Brunel's 'forgotten bridge', which will not be forgotten again, as it will form a unique attraction on the route, and will become a focal point, providing a convenient spot and resting place with a bench bearing Brunel's iconic image."

Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans' CEO says: "We are delighted about this new route running through Ashton Court. It will connect Bristolians to this fantastic green asset on their doorstep without having to get in their car. This largely traffic-free network will enable families, school children, students and commuters to make daily journeys in ways that benefit their health and the environment."

Cllr Ap Rees, executive member responsible for transport for North Somerset Council says: "Last summer, The Flax Bourton Greenway was opened to tremendous success and it has been much used by commuters and leisure cyclists, as well as providing a vital safe route to school. The Connect2 scheme will provide a wonderful route for people to be able to safely walk or cycle away from busy main roads."

Feasibility and topographical work is already underway and it is anticipated that construction work will begin in late May 2009 and the entire network will be finished by 2013.

This scheme has been made possible through the enormous popular support for Sustrans' Connect2 - as voted for by the public in the UK's largest lottery competition last December.

Building on this public enthusiasm the scheme's Steering Group meets regularly, and enables members of the community to interact with council decision makers to develop and guide the scheme.

The anticipated cost of the Bristol to Nailsea scheme is in excess of £1.5million, with £600,000 coming from the Big Lottery Fund as part of Sustrans Connect2.

The lottery award will join locally sourced match-funding to transform local travel in 79 communities throughout the UK - changing the lives of six million people who live within a mile of a scheme. Over the next five years, nearly £30 million a year will be invested in creating these local walking and cycling networks from Devon to Perthshire.

Source: Sustrans