A step closer to Sale's dedicated walking and cycling network

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 Wednesday, December 17, 2008, the project to connect the communities of Sale and Stretford along the Bridgewater canal came a step closer as sustainable transport charity Sustrans and its Connect2 partners at Trafford Council and Peel Holdings sign the paperwork that will guide the development for the coming years.

This agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding, confirms the partners' continued commitment to the project and pledges £250,000 from Sustrans' Connect2 lottery award to improve the towpath for cyclists and walkers and provide a series of links into the community.

This network will provide a pleasant environment for walkers and cyclists - along the canal towpath to pass over the River Mersey and under the motorway, connecting with the Transpennine Trail - enabling people to get to work, to school, or the shops under their own steam.

Work will begin in 2009 on the Sale to Stretford Section of the Bridgewater Way, and will enable more than 120,000 people living within a mile of the scheme to walk or cycle more for daily journeys to the benefit of both their
health and the environment. It is anticipated that the entire length of the Bridgewater Way will be complete by 2011.

Sustrans' Regional Director, Peter Foster says: "We're delighted to be making this significant step towards connecting communities on either side of the motorway through this valuable network of walking and cycling paths. In this era of concerns about the health of individuals and our environment, enabling more journeys to be made by foot and bike can only benefit our community."

Louise Morrissey, Director of Land and Planning at Peel Holdings says: "We are extremely pleased that the funding for the scheme has now been secured. Connect 2 is a fantastic project allowing not just our community, but 78 others to benefit from funding for well deserving schemes. The funding given for the Sale to Stretford section of the Bridgewater Way will be a real benefit to the area allowing people to access the canalside more readily".

Cllr Ken Weston, Chairman of the Bridgewater Way Steering Group, and representing Trafford Council, said: "I am delighted that we have secured the funding for this important project, which will give a real boost to this section of the Bridgewater Canal. The project will provide an essential link for local walkers and cyclists, as well as giving more opportunity for visitors to Trafford to enjoy our borough."

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 Sale and Stretford scheme is £730,000, with £250,000 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 will be invested annually to create these local walking and cycling networks from Devon to Perthshire.

Source: Sustrans