Port Talbot's dedicated walking and cycling network - a step closer

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

On Monday, December 8, 2008, the multi-million pound Connect2 project, to connect Port Talbot to Cwmafan and Afan forest by a dedicated walking and cycling network, is a step closer as sustainable transport charity Sustrans and its Connect2 partners at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council 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 £400,000 from Sustrans' Connect2 lottery award to create a continuous walking and cycling network enabling people to travel to work, to school and the shops.

In the last month - the Forestry Commission has completed a new river bridge near the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre, improving links within the forest - and the Cwmafan Residents Action Committee, a local community group, have secured funding from BBC Breathing Places and Welsh Assembly Government Tidy Towns for local environmental enhancements.
Next year, work is scheduled to complete the backbone of the route - a three mile-long greenway which will enable walkers and cyclists to bypass a dangerously busy, narrow and steep road and choose a tranquil traffic free path instead.

In 2010 it is hoped to complete the final elements of the scheme - artworks, gateways and improve links from the greenway to the communities in Cwmafan and Pontrhydyfen.
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council Member for Streetcare and Highway Services Cllr. Arwyn Woolcock from says: "This new route will have enormous benefits once completed. Not only will it provide residents with a safer and more environmentally friendly route between Cwmafan, Port Talbot and the Afan Forest, but it will also have an impact on people's health by encouraging them to ditch their cars and walk to work, school and to the shops."

Sustrans' Area Manager, Helen Davies says: "Once open, this route will enable people the people of Port Talbot to journey and explore the beautiful countryside of Afan forest and its mountain bike centre in a way which is beneficial to their health and the environment."
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.
The anticipated cost of the Port Talbot Connect2 scheme is £2million, with £400,000 coming from the Big Lottery Fund as part of Sustrans Connect2.

The lottery award will be added to 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 annually will be invested in creating these local walking and cycling networks from Devon to Perthshire.

Source: Sustrans