At a Cabinet meeting yesterday afternoon senior St Helens councillors approved funding of over £1.5m to enhance more than 6km (3.75 miles) of green walking and cycling corridors across the borough.
The funding – part of a £8.3m pot put aside by Liverpool City Region (LCR) Combined Authority for a Sustainable Urban Development Strategy (SUD) to improve a 600km key network of cycling and walking routes in Merseyside – will:
- Link St Helens town centre to Burtonwood
- Add additional walking and cycling links to the recently enhanced Sankey Valley cycle route, allowing nearby residential and employment areas to access locations such as St Helens town centre and Colliers Moss via Sankey Valley.
The project will also improve the condition of parts of the local highway and parks and open spaces which will address issues such as flooding and structural repair, reducing the need for maintenance and the costs – as well as enhance biodiversity and woodland management in the borough, reducing the need for maintenance costs.
Welcoming the funding – which comes to £1,515,000 in total – St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Futures and Performance, Councillor Kate Groucutt, said “The benefits are significant from these projects. They will contribute to the borough’s walking and cycling networks, improving access to employment for those residents that do not have private transport.
“There will also be environmental benefits, improving the local habitats on these routes and reduce maintenance liabilities elsewhere on the network. It’s a project that will benefit both benefit health and the environment, reducing pollution on our roads and getting people walking and cycling more, so it’s a really positive development.”
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, who ratified the £8.3m funding for the first 55km phase of the Merseyside network, which included improvements in St Helens, in December 2018 added: “We are at a pivotal stage in transforming provision for cycling and walking. Getting the infrastructure right to make it a real choice for more people means less congestion, cleaner air and better health.
“There are also wider benefits to the economy. Safe, pleasant cycling and walking areas, linking well to public transport and key locations, such as these in St Helens, help create those places where people want to live, work and invest.
“We can’t transform the situation overnight, but devolution gives us the powers to plan strategically to improve facilities for walking and cycling across the city region, putting our investment in the right places so we can make a difference.”
The improvements in St Helens will be completed by March 2021.