Kent town bags close to £1M for path

Faversham. Photo: terry-ball from Pixabay

Kent County Council (KCC) has successfully bid to improve the cross-town walking route running from the east to the west of Faversham.

The £995,000 scheme, called the Faversham Cross Town Path, will include new crossings and junction improvements to create a more pedestrian and cycle friendly environment.

It will be paid for by the Government’s Active Travel England fund. Separate funding of £574,000 has also been secured to explore possibilities for further walking and cycling improvements in areas in Tunbridge Wells, Canterbury, Sevenoaks and Whitstable.

Working together Faversham Town Council, Swale Borough Council and KCC agreed the scheme aimed at encouraging walking would best fit the criteria for this round of Government funding.

Kent County Council Cabinet Member Highways and Transport, David Brazier, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Faversham Town Council and Swale Borough Council on securing this funding and look forward to working with Canterbury, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells Councils to develop future schemes, which we are delighted to also receive funding to develop plans for.

“The aim of this local project is to encourage walking as a regular form of transport in the town and to make it safer for people to make that choice. We will now continue to work with the local community as we continue to listen to the views of local people.”

Cllr Rich Lehmann, chair of Swale Borough Council’s Environment committee, said: “We’re delighted to hear Faversham has been awarded a substantial sum from the government’s Active Travel England fund to invest in a more pedestrian and cycle-friendly Faversham. We are committed to taking action to combat the climate and ecological emergency in Swale, which is why we were happy to put resources into this bid. This won’t just bring environmental benefits, but will also make a difference to local people’s health and wellbeing by helping to make walking and cycling a more viable alternative to the car.”

Former chair of the cross-authority working group, Julian Saunders said: “The Faversham Cross Town Path is included within the adopted Faversham Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and many residents already use the route. With the improvements planned we aim to encourage greater use by making it safer and more pedestrian friendly.”

The Cross Town Path project will make improvements for pedestrians across Faversham from Lower Road, through the town and Recreation Ground, to Love Lane. The exact detail of physical works is being finalised and includes reduced crossing distances, raised crossings, dropped kerbs, more tactile paving, improved pavements, more benches, planting and enhanced footpath lighting. All these works are aimed at making walking and wheeling in Faversham easier, safer and more attractive for all residents.

Active Travel England (ATE) is the government’s executive agency responsible for making walking, wheeling and cycling the preferred choice for everyone to get around in England. ATE is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Transport.