Contractor appointed for new Solway Coast cycleway scheme

A project to create a new cycleway along the Solway Coast has cleared another major hurdle with the appointment of a main contractor.

Work on the 14.1km Solway Coaster scheme from Allonby to Silloth is now set to begin later this year after the contractor’s appointment was agreed by Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive at a meeting yesterday (July 15).

The Council has taken the lead on the project which was developed by the Silloth-on-Solway Coastal Community Team (CCT), a mix of public, private and community partners.

The CCT secured £1m from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Coastal Communities Fund and a further £250,000 from DEFRA’s Rural Development Programme for England (part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) for the project.

The cycleway between the coastal towns and will form part of the National Cycle Network Route 72 (Hadrian’s Cycleway), which runs from Ravenglass to South Shields, Tyne and Wear.

The path is aimed predominantly at cyclists, but the off-road sections will be multi-functional and accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. A total of 4.63km of the new route will be ‘off road’ and 9.47km ‘on road’. The ‘on road’ sections of the route will utilise the existing carriageway and will include appropriate signage, markings and line painting.

The new path will join on to the Maryport to Allonby Cycleway and some of the funding will be used to resurface the existing section of the path, improving the experience for cyclists and making the path more accessible for those using wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Cllr Alan Pitcher, Allerdale Executive member for customer experience and innovation, moved the report and said: “This scheme will help attract visitors to the area, raise the profile of the Solway Coast AONB and promote healthy activities to residents.”

Cllr Tony Markley, Executive member for environmental services, seconded the report, adding: “I’m really pleased this has come to fruition, it’s been a long time in coming. It will connect up to the Allonby to Maryport cycle path to make a fantastic tourism attraction and help the economy on the west coast.”

Once delivered the project will help deliver on the objectives set out in the 10-year Council Strategy of creating ‘Thriving Towns and Villages’ with improved infrastructure that will benefit local residents and increase tourism, and ‘A Cleaner, Greener Allerdale’ by encouraging more journeys to be undertaken by bike and by foot.