Category Archives: Arnside to Grange Cycle & Footpath Update

Arnside to Grange Cycle & Footpath September 2015 Newsletter

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ATOG is now four years old! Our supporters have been patient – indeed they may have thought we had stopped. We have not. The small committee has continued to beaver away in the last couple of years, and during this time we have had both good news and bad news. Fortunately there is more good than bad, and the number of organisations listening to our plans is increasing.

People have been suggesting a foot crossing over the Kent since the viaduct was first built. Councillor Ian Stewart has been active on the issue since about 2001. Now is a good time to recap where ATOG is.

A survey was undertaken of households in Arnside back in 2011 and that showed significant support for a pedestrian/cycle path on the Arnside railway viaduct.

In 2012 we persuaded cycling charity Sustrans to write a report on the feasible routes for this new link between Arnside and Grange. There were seven possibilities and each had advantages and disadvantages. This report is available on the ATOG Facebook page. The consensus seems to be that the new path should be hung on the Milnthorpe side of the bridge, but this is far from decided. There is a problem finding a route alongside the west side of the railway around Meathop Fell, but a slightly longer route around through Meathop would be an acceptable alternative. There are some issues on access from Arnside – the best option would seem to be from the car park at Arnside and through the first arch on the Arnside side. There would be an issue with very high tides but we think there is no reason why the new path should not be closed whenever the water-tight gates to the carpark are closed.

We are still none the wiser about the cost of a new cantilevered path on the side of the viaduct, but this would be high. It has been suggested to us that the engineering problems are too great to overcome for a full-width cycle path. The minimum required by law is three metres wide. However we think it would be reasonable to ask cyclists to walk not ride over the viaduct and so a path of about 2 metres would be sufficient. The minimum width is 1.5 metres. This would reduce costs and make the engineering issues simpler.

We are having good meetings with other bodies who are generally supportive. This includes Natural England who are developing the new England Coastal Path and they are well on the way to reaching Walney Island from Gretna. Over the next year or two they will be turning their attention to Walney to Arnside section of the England Coastal path. The Arnside Viaduct could be an important part of that and they might be able to help with funding.

Cumbria County Council appear to be supportive – although anxious about costs! We are hoping that our local Councillor Ian Stewart will have an early opportunity to commend the scheme to the Cabinet of CCC.

The Arnside & Silverdale AONB Partnership and the Morecambe Bay Partnership are very helpful, their advice and experience in tapping funding sources are invaluable. An estuary crossing has been on both partnerships future plans for some time. Cycling charity Sustrans has also been helpful and we hope they will continue to be involved, also with offers of funding.

We are also pleased that local businesses on the Furness Peninsular are keen to support this project. We have always thought that a true coastal path would benefit the local economy and access to the viaduct would be a tourist attraction in its own right. The Highways authority would welcome the opportunity of reducing the risk of danger to cyclists on the A590 and other routes in the area.

The next step will be for the various interested bodies to come together to raise perhaps £40,000 to £60,000 to pay for a detailed report on engineering options and benefits for the local communities. We hope that at least 60% of this sum can be found from non-public bodies. Morecambe Bay Partnership and Local Councils plan to carry out further work to enable tender documentation to be produced and issued before the end of 2015.

Of course the Arnside Viaduct is only one part of the England Coastal Path and there are similar issues with the Leven estuary and those further North. Arnside does seem the right place to start because there is currently no crossing over the Kent estuary. But if we can get the project started in Arnside, there is a better chance of the coastal path succeeding further round the Furness peninsular.

We will keep people informed of progress. We also hope that more people will support the project. Any suggestions for funding sources or offers to join the ATOG Committee would be most welcome. Please encourage your friends who can see the benefit of a new route between Arnside and Grange.

If you have any questions or suggestions please contact Stuart on ATOG201[at]talktalk.net

ATOG is dedicated to the establishment of a cycleway and footpath on the side of the railway viaduct across the Kent estuary between Arnside and Grange, on the north shore of Morecambe Bay. We are working hard to provide a coastal route of only three or four miles between these two coastal resorts whereas the only present route is in excess of sixteen miles.

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ATOG Update

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‘The Feasibility Study that Sustrans have compiled has been received and they have identified 7 possible routes or route segments on the Meathop side. A copy of the survey will be made available to supporters soon. There are pro’s and con’s for most of the routes. The Farmer on the North side has been approached but is understandably concerned about the project and the impact of dog walkers on his land.

Adrian and Stuart have attended meetings hosted by Suzannah Bleakley of the Morecambe Bay Partnership with the aim of submitting a Joint application for funding from the Coastal Communities fund. The good news is that we are through to the next stage of the application.

We now have to get the next stage application prepared before September the 21st.

Adrian has had a meeting in Manchester with Jon Kelly of Network Rail to discuss issues such as access, ownership, cost and the GRIP process which is Network Rails process for managing work affecting their infrastructure. The following stages of GRIP would be a “Design Agreement” and then an “Outline Design and Detail Design. Jon was also asked to give an opinion on the proposed routes.

We are hoping to hold meetings soon as ATOG will need formerly establishing with a constitution and hopefully volunteers will come forward to fill some of the post’s required to progress the group and project forward.

Our Facebook page is now established and there are photo’s of the old and new viaducts, and comments on the page. Please feel free to have a look and put your views and ideas forward.’

The above is update from the campaign to get a footpath and cycle link between Arnside and Grange on the railway viaduct over the Kent Estuary.

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News from ATOG (The Arnside to Grange Cycle & Footpath)

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Adrian and Stuart attended a meeting held at the Cumbria County Council offices in Kendal on 5 March hosted by Susannah Bleakley, Morecambe Bay Partnership. The aim of the meeting was to explore how to progress a Coastal Communities Fund bid and help develop ideas for this. Also at the meeting were Nikki Wingfield and Martyn Brunt from Sustrans. Mark Brierley, Cumbria County Council’s cycling officer and Lucy Barron from the AONB, as well as representatives from Lancashire and Cumbria County Councils and other groups hoping to attract funding. We are having a further meeting in a fortnight to progress the ideas as it may be that the bid for the Pathway/Cycleway goes forward as a stand alone bid or grouped with others within the Morecambe Bay Partnership area which includes the Headlands to Headspace (H2H) project which has been successful in attracting Lottery funding.

Time is short as there is a short deadline for applications and the application form is immanently due to hit the streets. The Coastal Communities Fund is a £24m fund to support imaginative and innovative projects that promote jobs and growth and help to build stronger and more diverse local economies. There are grants available of between £50,000 and £2million. ATOG’s aim’s puts a tick in many of the boxes that the funds criteria sets out. There will be lots of competition nationally from other coastal communities hoping to attract funding. The timescale is short as expressions of interest are required by end of March. Fast track applications by May. Deadline for UK wide applications is September. We have asked Sustrans to help us with the application. Lucy Barron has also kindly offered any help that can be given by the AONB as the project has been part of their Business Plan for a number of years. Mark Brierley informed us of other sources of funding for projects in the South Lakeland area of the National Park and information on the Coastal Access Bill, which promotes public access  to coastal areas.

Adrian, Stuart, Nikki and Martyn then in true tradition adjourned to the coffee shop to admire and study in detail the recently arrived first draft report of the Arnside to Grange Cycleway Feasibility Study which is nearing completion by Sustrans North West team. The report has identified seven possible options for routes on the Western side of the viaduct with considerations for each route. It also includes information on the process Network Rail follows for projects that affect their infrastructure which is a staged project development and delivery process known as the ‘GRIP (Governance of Railway Investment Projects). Also an initial assessment of potential constraints for route development taking into account; designated sites for nature conservation, protected and notable species and notable habitats.

The report is not yet finalised as amongst other things will include cross sections to illustrate what the path would look like. 

We will shortly arrange dates to hold  public meetings for ATOG supporters in both Arnside and Grange. We hope that Tim Farron will be able to attend one of these meetings.

We will in touch with our supporters soon with these dates and hope to see as many of you as possible at these meetings and put names to faces.

Regards Adrian and Stuart

For more information about ATOG visit their Facebook page at this link.

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Arnside to Grange Cycle & Footpath Update

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"We have learned from Adrian’s meeting with Sustrans, that they are quite
likely to declare the ATOG walk/cycleway is on their wish list – namely,
projects they would like to see happen. They are not able yet to make any
commitments about funding.
They are struggling to get details of what funding might be available
under the newly announced Coastal Access scheme and will continue to do
this. They believe Morecambe Bay Partnership, who have just won some
lottery money, would be good supporters of this project. We are informed
Lancashire are keen supporters of a long distance walk way/cycle track
from Chester to Carlisle and this project would fit nicely into that.
We have been advised the next step is to prepare a "preliminary
feasibility report" to set out the pros and cons of our aims; the merits
of using the north or south side of the viaduct; the access route options;
the environmental considerations; the likely position of Network Rail; the
permissions needed; the responsibility for maintenance and the interested
bodies who are likely to be positive supporters.
This is a large undertaking for amateurs such as ourselves and Sustrans
agreed they have the people and experience to do this but there will be a
cost and we are now awaiting details on this together with a timetable for
producing such a report."

Regards Stuart

PS please feel free to discuss ATOG on the Facebook page.

The Arnside to Grange Cycle path across viaduct is something that South Lakes Group supports as its open up plenty opportunities in North Lancashire and South Cumbria for cycling. I have also started topic on Where’s the Brew Stop forum at this link, where I will post any future updates from ATOG as well on this blog.

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