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Work set to start on New Bilton pathway network

WORK to create a new pathway network at a New Bilton open space looks set to start next week.

Rugby Borough Council joined forces with the New Bilton Community Association to successfully apply for a £25,000 grant from the Government's Pocket Parks programme to fund the project.

And Fields in Trust has also backed the plans for the Freemantle Road open space with a grant of £8,400, with work on the pathway network set to take four weeks to complete.

The informal route through the open space has proved popular with dog walkers, runners and cyclists for many years, despite suffering from severe boggy conditions during spells of wet weather.

But thanks to the Pocket Parks programme and Fields in Trust, the council plans to lay a tarmac pathway on the route, creating a circular link with the footbridges over the Sow Brook.

The pathway plans also include a connection to the existing path from the Western Relief Road and Lias Line, creating a connected network of paths linking Freemantle Road open space with Addison Road Recreation Ground, the Somers Road industrial estate and nearby homes on both Freemantle and Cornwallis roads.

Cllr Howard Roberts, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said: "Working with New Bilton Community Association and other key partners, we're delighted to have secured this funding from the Pocket Parks programme and Fields in Trust to improve accessibility to one of the borough's popular open spaces.

"We're proud of our long track record in investing in Rugby's parks and open spaces, and by working with the community we can deliver the improvements residents want."

Four years ago the council and New Bilton Community Association secured a £10,000 grant from the Pocket Parks programme to create Gladstone Green Pocket Park, which a year later secured its first Green Flag Community Award and in 2019 was a winner in the Year of Green Action Bees' Needs Awards.

Sheela Hammond, chair of New Bilton Community Association, said: "The New Bilton Community Association is committed to making the most of any available green space and we're thrilled to have received funds towards that aim.

"The park connector networks are a vital means of providing safe routes connecting the many green spaces throughout Rugby, and will be a boon for dog walkers, cyclists and walkers alike."

The bids for funding were supported by Rugby Disability Forum, Rugby Cycle Forum, Warwickshire County Council and Sustrans, a charity which supports initiatives to promote walking and cycling.

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