Proposals to complete the Lewes to Ringmer Cycleway moved a step closer this week with the announcement of a Government cash boost.
The South Downs National Park Authority will be handed £3.8million to promote cycling and has earmarked £420,000 for the completion of the cycle route between Lewes and Ringmer.
“This is great news. The cycleway is vital in opening up access to the South Downs National Park and creating a sustainable transport link between Lewes and Ringmer,” said Cllr Carl Maynard, lead member for transport and environment at East Sussex County Council, which is contributing £180,000 to the scheme.
“We also welcome the commitment given by the Government in its announcement to look into ways of cutting the cost and the complexity of introducing cycling improvements. This will mean we are able to deliver more improvements on the ground with the resources available to us.”
Meanwhile, The Egrets Way from Lewes to Piddinghoe (8.5km), a riverside recreational route linking villages with the South Downs Way, YHA facilities, Lewes and Southease railway stations, will receive £621,000 in two phases from the funding together with additional funding from the county council. Natural England is also putting £117,308 towards the project.
The South Downs National Park Authority was one of four national parks to share the £17million cash injection from the Department for Transport.
The authority’s chief executive Trevor Beattie welcomed the funding, saying it was a success for all those who walk or cycle through the national park.
His view was echoed by Lewes MP Norman Baker, who said: “Cycling is great for the environment and great for one’s health with those who cycle having a longer life expectancy than those who do not. That is why I have focused a lot of my efforts on extolling the benefits of cycling and today is yet another piece of great news for cycling enthusiasts. The South Downs National Park is a beautiful part of the country and I really cannot think of a better way of experiencing it than on a bike.”
A public consultation on the Lewes to Ringmer Cycleway finished on Monday. People have been asked to give their opinion on five options for the section of the cycleway between the B2192 past Earwig Corner to Church Lane, Lewes.
Results from the consultation and recommendations about which option should be taken will be presented to the lead member for transport and environment in October.