Work starts on £52,000 Great Central Way revamp
WORK to improve a flood-prone stretch of the Great Central Way has started thanks to a grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust.
Rugby Borough Council secured the £52,000 grant, awarded through the Landfill Communities Fund, to tackle flooding on the footpath and cycleway between the Clifton Road bridge and Hillmorton's Pytchley Road.
Flooding regularly blocks the three-quarter of a mile stretch of the former Great Central Railway line, forcing walkers and cyclists to take a detour through the nature reserve which runs next to the path.
The grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust means the path, part of the National Cycle Network, can be raised, with drainage pipes installed to divert water into the nature reserve - which includes important wetland wildlife habitat.
The council's funding application was submitted in partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Rugby Wildlife Group, Sustrans - the charity which co-ordinates the National Cycle Network, Warwickshire County Council, Rugby Cycle Forum and Rugby Disability Forum.
Work on the improvements started earlier this month and looks set to be completed in March.
Rugby Borough Council bought a four-and-a-half mile stretch of the old Great Central Railway line - totalling nearly 100 acres of land - in 1970 for £5,500.
A designated nature reserve managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust with support from Rugby Wildlife Group volunteers, it has become home to a diverse range of wildlife and plants.
Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said: "The Great Central Way's an important 'green link' to the town centre from Brownsover to the north and Hillmorton to the south, and has long been popular with walkers and cyclists.
"I'm delighted this grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust has allowed us to carry out work to tackle flooding on this particular stretch of the route, protecting wildlife habitats and ensuring access to all the residents who use it."
Since the Veolia Environmental Trust was established 20 years ago, it has supported more than 2,000 projects and provided grants totalling nearly £70 million.
Paul Taylor, the trust's executive director, said: "We were very pleased to support this important project.
"It's great to hear work has started and I look forward to seeing the improved path being used and enjoyed."
Dan Robertson, volunteer co-ordinator at Sustrans, said: "Our volunteers have been helping to maintain this much loved and important part of the National Cycle Network for some time and we're delighted this work is now underway.
"These improvements will give it a whole new lease of life and make it easier for our volunteers to get more people involved in cycling and walking in Rugby."
Photo caption: Rugby Cycling Forum's Andy Watson, Dan Robertson, volunteer co-ordinator at Sustrans, John Webb, of Rugby Cycling Forum, Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, Carl Jones, of Rugby Wildlife Group, Rugby Disability Forum's Sue and Derek Hillman, Fern Hodges, of Rugby Cycling Forum, and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's Phil Parr on the Great Central Way.