The popular Lias Line will be having another 3.5km improved for year-round active travel and leisure walking, cycling and wheeling, following Warwickshire County Council approving the spending of nearly £2.5m of grant funding secured from the Government’s Active Travel Fund.
Initially approved by Cabinet at its meeting of 13 July, the funding required the further approval of Full Council as it is in excess of £2million. This approval was given on 25 July 2023.
The Lias Line is part of the disused railway line that connects Rugby to Leamington Spa and Leamington Spa to Daventry. It is owned by Sustrans, a charity which promotes active travel opportunities and custodians of the National Cycle Network.
This route has already been the subject of one phase of development by Sustrans, with adaptations from just east of Fosse Way to Long Itchington completed in 2022.
The next scheme will extend the line to Rugby. The funding will pay for improvements to 3.5km of the line between Long Itchington Road near Hunningham Hill and Birdingbury Road between Marton and Birdingbury,
The adaptations to the route take place across Rugby Borough and the Districts of Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick. Planning permissions have been obtained from all three authorities.
Speaking about the Lias Line Improvement scheme, Cllr Jan Matecki, Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning, said: “As a Council, we have ambitious plans to extend the reach and quality of our active travel networks so that walking and cycling can be the go-to travel choice, particularly for short journeys.
“This work will greatly enhance choices for active travel in the rural communities it passes. A further benefit will be seen by the businesses such as the pubs and cafes along the route can expect to see increased footfall. I’m delighted that work on the scheme can now continue.”
Sustrans is progressing design work and it is anticipated that construction works will commence in the early part of 2024, but that a phased delivery approach may be followed to enable all necessary design requirements to be undertaken.
Together, the County Council and Sustrans have a shared aspiration to create a network of approximately 15km of high-quality and fully accessible traffic-free greenways for walking, wheeling and cycling that is based on the Lias Line and Offchurch Greenway. This improvement work is the latest realisation of that vision.
A copy of the Full Council report is available here: https://democracy.warwickshire.gov.uk/documents/s31857/Addition%20of%20Lias%20Line%20Improvement%20Scheme%20to%20Capital%20Programme.pdf
Find out more about Active Travel in Warwickshire: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/warwickshire-safe-active-travel
Get the latest news about how Warwickshire County Council and partners are facing the challenge of the climate emergency and how you can get involved: http://eepurl.com/hrk-zf