Nearly £2 million of Government cash could be heading to Warwickshire after bids were put forward for two schemes promoting walking and cycling in the south of the county.
The county council’s portfolio holder for transport and planning approved their submission having already secured nearly £1m in an earlier round of funding for cycle routes in Nuneaton and Rugby
This time it will be the Leamington area set to benefit from the Department for Transport’s Active Travel Fund, which aims to pay for ambitious new cycling and walking infrastructure schemes.
The majority of the money will go towards routes along the Harbury Lane corridor between Warwick and Leamington.
A bid of £1.4m has been put forward while Section 106 funding of £140,000 has already been secured for cycling connections on Harbury Lane as well as a multi-million pound major scheme on A452 Europa Way which includes crossing improvements and walking and cycling connections.
A report compiled by officers outlined a number of reasons why funding should be approved including the improved health of residents.
It explained: “The delivery of these routes alongside the new Tachbrook Country Park would enable all residents of south Warwick and Whitnash to easily access healthy spaces and participate in physical activity, both formal (at new sports facilities) and informal (country park) without the need to use private cars.
“The benefits to the growing population of this area are considerable.
"Approximately 4,500 new homes are planned within the south Warwick and Leamington Spa Strategic Urban Extension.”
The report added that there was widespread public support for active travel in the area and that the timing - contracts need to be signed by March 2022 - would coincide with a new school.
It said: “The opening of a new secondary school and sixth form at Oakley Grove on the southeast side of Harbury Lane is expected in September 2023. Design and delivery of new routes in 2021/22 and 2022/23 would enable these facilities to be ready in advance of the school opening, and support a key transition point in terms of local travel behaviour.”
The second scheme which could benefit is the A425 Radford Semele to Leamington cycle route where £500,000 is sought to link Radford Semele to Newbold Comyn. The money would be spent on widening the footway and creating a new accessible ramp to the Grand Union Canal at Radford Road Bridge.
The report concluded: “Transport is the single largest cause of carbon emissions in the UK. Securing funding from the Active Travel Fund to deliver cycling and walking infrastructure will enable more journeys to be made by active travel modes, thereby contributing to reduced carbon emissions as well as lower levels of congestion and improved air quality.”
A decision on the outcome of the bids is expected in the autumn.