Riverside communities connected through £500,000 Sustrans boost

Sustrans pledges half a million pounds to Omagh for riverside cycle path.

by Rebecca McIlhone   January 28, 2009  

Impression of how a stretch of the river could look when the project is complete

Sustrans’ £50 million Connect 2 project continues to transform the everyday journeys of communities across the UK with the latest award of £500,000 to Omagh, in Northern Ireland.

The money is part of a £2.5million scheme to build a riverside walkway and cycle path, including several pedestrian and cycle bridges, connecting communities on either side of the River Strule.

Sustrans and Omagh District Council this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding confirming their joint commitment to the development of the tranquil riverside path through the Lisanelly/St Lucia site.

The communities will be thoroughly involved in the design and development of the scheme over the year ahead. As well as providing links to each other, it will allow them to reach the places they need to go such as work, school or the shops by sustainable means.

Chairman of Omagh District Council, Councillor Martin McColgan, said: “This is a very important project, to maximise the potential of one of Omagh's main assets, and is one of the core elements in our long term vision for Omagh. It will open up the river as a corridor of activity for recreational, leisure and civic uses, strengthen links within the town and enable sustainable short journeys on foot or by bike."

Sustrans area manager, Rick Cook, says: "Once open, we hope this will transform everyday journeys for communities on either side of the river, enabling them to get to the town centre or shops under their own steam."

Meanwhile in Wales, cyclists and walkers will notice a difference to scenery along the newly opened traffic-free path near Blackmill, Bridgend.

Seven volunteer Sustrans rangers spent a day planting 100 trees including hawthorn, spindle, hazel and holly, along the path at Cwm Ogwr Fach.

As well as providing a haven for local wildlife, the trees will offer more privacy to houses backing onto the route.

The trees were donated by Western Power and transported to the site by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.

The route opened in July to add another traffic-free section to the Celtic Trail, which stretches across the breadth of Wales from Fishguard to Chepstow.

For further information about Sustrans, visit the website: www.sustrans.org.uk