£1.5million to create miles of new cycle and pedestrian routes across Sunderland

Council bosses have secured a pot of government funding to improve routes for cyclists and pedestrians across Sunderland.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 16:45 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd August 2019, 17:00 pm
Picture c/o Pixabay

As part of the Transforming Cities fund (Tranche 1) Sunderland City Council has been awarded £1.435million.

The fund encourages councils to improve and introduce more choices for sustainable and environmentally-friendly travel.

The grant award, along with £400,000 council match funding, is linked to four main corridors across Sunderland.

Cabinet member for environment and transport on Sunderland City Council, Coun Amy Wilson

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Under the plans, nearly five-and-a-half miles of new cycle paths will be upgraded or put in place.

Where will the works take place?

1) Essen Way 940m

Provides a link between existing cycle facilities at Leechmere Road and Premier Road including direct linkage to National Cycle Routes 1 and 70 (W2W – Walney to Wear & Whitby).

St Michael’s Conservative ward councillors, Peter Wood and Michael Dixon, on proposed site of new cycle path, Essen Way, Sunderland

2) Colliery Lane (B1285) 2,875m

This connects Hetton (Four Lane Ends) to Murton including linkage to National Cycle Route 1.

3) Ferryboat Lane: 1,100m

This connects cycleways previously delivered in 2013/14 under the Regional Growth Fund to National Cycle Route 7 (C2C – Whitehaven to Roker).

It will complete the connection between National Cycle Route 7, South Tyneside,Washington and the employment zones around Nissan including the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

4) Ryhope Road: 3,800m (delivered in two sections).

Southern section connects Ryhope Village (National Cycle Route 1) to Grangetown.

The Northern section completes this link connecting Grangetown to the city centre.

‘Encouraging a shift to a more sustainable and healthy more of transport’

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, Councillor Amy Wilson, welcomed the scheme.

“As a city, Sunderland takes cycling very seriously,” she said.

“Our city is part of several major national routes, including the popular C2C (National Cycle Route 7) from Whitehaven into Roker.

“Cycling is a very healthy way of getting to and from work or school, and not just a leisure activity.

“New and improved cycling routes near the A1290 are already proving popular with positive feedback.

“Now, by updating these four key routes we are encouraging a shift to a more sustainable and healthy mode of transport as we provide more routes that are safer and more inclusive for all users and all ages.”

‘The council need to think this through again’

Since the major cycle plans were announced by the Labour-led council, Essen Way works have sparked concerns from local councillors.

This includes building a tarmac path along a grassed are in the St Michael’s ward between Silksworth Lane and Tunstall Road.

Conservative councillors Michael Dixon, Robert Oliver and Peter Wood – have said they are opposed to the proposed path.

Coun Wood said: “We would normally be supportive of schemes to encourage walking and cycling but this is the wrong scheme in the wrong place.

“With its trees, this is a very attractive grassed area, which is rather narrow in places.

“A three-metre-wide tarmac path would destroy its attractiveness and change its charactercompletely.

“We have strong reservations about the visual impression it would give.”

He added: “There are few pedestrians currently walking on the grass; no houses with access to this area and there is already a path along the other side of the road where the houses do have access.

“We also wonder where the cyclists would come from as they have been conspicuous bytheir absence along the cycle lanes on nearby Leechmere Road, beyond the very busyroundabout at the top of Strawberry Bank.”

“The council needs to think this through again.”

Sunderland City Council have said several options were considered for Essen Way.

An original proposal for the southern side, where there is an existing footpath, would have led to the removal of 18 mature trees and/or substantial earthworks.

The council have said the north location has less of an impact on the environment as it requires no tree felling while also “formalising an existing line along the verge.”