£50m footpath and cycle route upgrades hang on a TV vote

Kenilworth councillors are urging people to support and vote for Sustrans' lottery bid to improve walking and cycling networks in the town.

Councillors John White-house, chairman of the local Connect2 steering group, and Ann Blacklock are supporting the bid by Sustrans to improve routes for walkers and cyclists from Kenilworth to Berkswell Greenway and Warwick University.

The campaign was launched last week with the announcement that Sustrans is bidding for 50 million of lottery funding for national improvements, to include the area around Kenilworth.

The transport charity is bidding for the money through the Big Lottery Fund's Living Landmarks, The People's Millions.

It is competing against causes including the Eden Project and the winner will be announced live on BBC TV in December.

A ten-week programme of publicity was launched yesterday (Thursday) across the UK to encourage local communities to gather huge public support for the Connect2 project.

The project aims to improve local travel in 79 communities by creating new walking and cycling routes for the local journeys we all make every day.

Ann Blacklock (Kenilworth Abbey) said: "I recently attended a Connect2 national conference in Chester with representatives of all 79 projects across the UK and the enthusiasm of everyone involved was amazing.

"Each project is unique, but what links them is the opportunity to enhance sustainable travel options for local communities."

The project will build on existing local efforts to upgrade the Kenilworth to Berkswell Greenway along the route of the disused railway line, but with the addition of a new walking/cycling route across to the University campus, and crucially a safe pedestrian/cyclist crossing, probably a bridge, across the busy A429 Coventry Road.

Coun John Whitehouse (Kenilworth Abbey) said: "We hope to generate a lot of publicity and support for the project over the next ten weeks so that maximum numbers of local people vote for us in the public TV vote in December.

"Connect2 is the only scheme competing for the lottery funding that will benefit communities throughout the UK. It will improve people's daily lives with easier access to town centres, schools, work etc as well as providing leisure opportunities.

"Our local scheme will open up the Greenway route as an all-year-round leisure route for walkers and cyclists, providing a 'green corridor' leading out from the heart of Kenilworth into some of our loveliest local countryside. The new route to and from the university will benefit the many Kenilworth residents who work or study there, as well as the many others visiting for entertainment and recreational purposes. However, to make this a reality we first have to win the public TV vote in December.

"We hope that everyone locally will back us and will remember to vote for us when the time comes.

"Our efforts over the next ten weeks will be focused on this sole objective."

To contact the local Connect2 Steering Group, call 512130 or e-mail John Whitehouse at:

cllrwhitehouse@warwickshire.gov.uk