New cycle routes will be built in Ashington and Blyth after the North East received £17.9m from the Active Travel Fund to invest in the region’s walking and cycling network – the largest allocation in the country.
The money will create new enhanced cycling and walking infrastructure with the aim of making it easier and safer for more people across the region.
Two of the nine schemes approved were in Northumberland with a value of £3.46m.
They are for a new cycle route connecting Blyth town centre with South Beach, and from Ashington town centre to the new station as part of the Northumberland Line and existing infrastructure in North Seaton.
Cllr John Riddle, Chair of the Northumberland County Council’s Walking and Cycling Board, said: "We're absolutely delighted that our schemes in Ashington and Blyth have been given the green light.
“Both towns are undergoing significant regeneration and encouraging active travel with dedicated cycling and walking routes form a key part of these schemes.
“The Ashington route forms a corridor that will link the town centre to existing sites, the new Northumberland Line station, and existing infrastructure in North Seaton with connectivity with national and local cycle routes.
“The Blyth route will connect the town centre to South Beach to make a comprehensive, direct and high-quality route across the town.
“Once complete we're confident both these routes will make cycling in the area even more attractive to residents, visitors and commuters."
Cllr Liam Lavery, of Ashington Town Council, said: It’s great to see that Ashington has been awarded investment from the Active Travel Fund that will create new and improved cycle & walking routes in our town.
“As well as cycling being an excellent form of exercise, it’s also obviously an environmentally friendly way of getting from A to B and ties in with Ashington Town Council’s terrific work aiming to improve the local environment and become a greener, more sustainable town.”
Cllr Warren Taylor, Mayor of Blyth Town Council, said: “I welcome the news that Blyth has been chosen as one of only two towns in Northumberland to receive further funding from the Active Travel Fund, to develop a cycle route from the South Beach area to the town centre.
"This initiative is in line with one of Blyth Town Council’s key objectives, ‘To promote the environmental, social and economic wellbeing of the town and its community’.”
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, added: “This is great news for local people as it will help many people get out and about by foot or by bike, enjoying the health and well-being benefits that come with active travel”