Durham set for £3.7m upgrade to walking and cycling routes

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have announced a new £3.7million scheme to join up the main walking and cycling routes in the city.

The works, which aim to improve connections around Durham’s main employment, education, and tourist sites, are expected to begin in the 2024/2025 financial year. Areas planned for improvement include Whinney Hill, Framwellgate Waterside, South Bailey, and Freeman’s Place.

Funding has been partially sourced from the Government’s ‘Transforming Cities Fund’, which has contributed £2.5million, while the other £1.2million is being provided by the Council.

This scheme will enable us to join up those routes, providing a continuous network with clearly marked cycling and pedestrian sections

CLLR. Elizabeth Scott

The scheme aims to address the insufficient current connections between Durham’s existing walking and cycling routes, which County Councillor Elizabeth Scott, the Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, describes as “fragmented”.

In a statement, Cllr. Scott said: “This scheme will enable us to join up those routes, providing a continuous network with clearly marked cycling and pedestrian sections.

“It’s one of several schemes we’re delivering to make it safer and easier for people to leave the car at home and travel in and out of the city on foot or by bike.”

It’s one of several schemes we’re delivering to make it safer and easier for people to leave the car at home

CLLR. Elizabeth Scott

The new scheme follows the Council’s recent announcement of the North Durham Active Travel Corridor, a 2.5km walking and cycling route between the Arnison Centre and New College Durham. Together, these projects represent more than £6 million of investment in Durham’s walking and cycling infrastructure.

The project comes in the context of several long-term initiatives to promote green transport in the region. In 2023, County Durham was included as part of a £500 million plan by Transport North East to upgrade the area’s cycling routes. Additionally, ’s own Strategic Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan, set in place in 2019, aims to increase the quality and accessibility of Durham’s walking and cycling infrastructure to make them everyday modes of transport for everyone.

Last summer, Durham City received a £2.8 million upgrade to walking and cycling routes in three locations, including improved crossing facilities at the Whitechurch junction on Stockton Road outside the Bill Bryson Library.

Green transports has been an area of particular focus for due to the area’s above-average levels of air pollution, with the Council opening a public consultation on air quality last month.

It is hoped that improvements in walking and cycling infrastructure will hope the Council achieve their goal of bringing air pollution levels down to below the national average.

Image: Thomas Thomlinson

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