Residents and visitors across County Durham will be happy to make the most of a brand new transportation link, which promotes activity and wellbeing across the region.
What began as an ambitious plan from Durham County Council has now came to fruition, in the form of an active travel corridor in Newton Aycliffe – which has recently seen completion after £650,000 in funding from the government’s Active Travel Fund.
The corridor itself runs adjacent to the A167 between Moore Lane and St Cuthbert’s Way – providing links to Aycliffe Village itself. It also adds to part of the Great North Cycleway – which is a national cycling route stemming from Blyth to Darlington.
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Shortly after a consultation with affected residents and businesses, improvements in the locality have seen widened footpaths for walkers – with a separate, two-way cycle lane also installed for those who prefer to travel on two wheels.
The Government made £2billion available in total for walking and cycling improvements in 2020, as part of its Active Travel Fund which endavours to change the way that people travel following the global Coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, Durham County Council were also granted a little under £400,000 to help improve walking and cycling infrastructure nearby and within Durham City itself.
Cabinet member for resources, investments and assets, Cllr James Rowlandson, said: “It is fantastic to see the creation of the active travel corridor in Newton Aycliffe. This is offering people who live and work in the town a sustainable form of transport that has many benefits for their health and wellbeing, as well the environment.
“The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way in which people travel and exercise, with many families starting to exercise together. We hope that these enhancements will encourage more residents to make the most of their local area, enjoy the outdoors together and make active choices in how they commute to work.”
Volunteer cycle leader for our Cycle Durham programme, Paddy O’Connor, added: “It’s great to have an active travel corridor in Newton Aycliffe. It is a brilliant opportunity for the community, giving people of all ages the chance to explore the outdoors, get to know their local area and meet new people.
“Cycling is one of the easiest ways to become more active and offers many benefits to your physical and mental health. The corridor also makes it easier for people who perhaps haven’t cycled for some time as it will help to build their confidence and skills safely.”
Representative of the Aycliffe Business Park Community, Thomas Prentice, said: “This is an excellent step forward in offering people a healthier commute to work and we are fully supportive of the improved walking and cycling infrastructure.
“The physical and mental wellbeing of our workforce is very important to us.
“Hopefully, this will encourage more people to travel on foot or by bike and help more commuters to interact on their way to or from work, offering social benefits as well as a healthy travel alternative.”
Residents of Newton Aycliffe will be invited to voice their praises and concerns on the active travel corridor later this month, when Durham County Council launch a further consultation into the new feature.
What do you think of the new addition?