The Cinder Track between Scarborough and Whitby is to receive £1.1 million in funding. Thousands of people signed a petition against widening the track in 2017, feeling that such work would destroy the character of the route. However, the planned redevelopments will focus only on improving access at the two urban ends of the track.
Scarborough News reports that The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that it is awarding £850,000 in funding for improvements to the Scarborough end of the Cinder Track. £315,000 was previously awarded to improve the northern end, near Whitby.
Back in 2017, Sustrans plans to widen and resurface the Cinder Track were met with strong local opposition amid concerns that the route could become a “cyclists’ motorway”.
A petition against the work was handed to Scarborough Borough Council and in 2018 they accepted the environmental argument and rejected those original plans.
Pete Tomkins – otherwise known as Mr Crud after founding bike accessories firm Crud in 1991 – was among the signatories.
He told road.cc that the new plans are very different.
“The proposed improvements are actually welcome, as they affect the urban ends of the track,” he explained. “These parts are primarily used by the local people for pram/dog walking and short school commuting, and are not on the ’scenic’ part of the track.
“They are far away from the original £7m plan to ‘clear’ 400 plus trees and countless wild habitats, to lay a fast, intrinsically dangerous single-use bike highway.”
Councillor Steve Siddons, the leader of Scarborough Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that the council, in partnership with Sustrans, has secured £1m of funding to undertake the restoration and deliver improvements to the urban sections of the track from Scarborough to Scalby and from Hawsker to Whitby. It is a great opportunity to further promote green travel, leisure activities and enhance this important wildlife corridor.
“I would love to see further green developments as opportunities arise, including linking the Cinder Track to Scarborough Railway Station and extending cycle ways through Weaponness, the Mere and Musham Bank. This would create a continuous green corridor from the north of Scarborough to Eastfield and Crossgates, ensuring safe routes for cyclists and walkers.”
The work will be carried out in accordance with the restoration plan approved by the council following public consultation.
It will involve improvements to the surface, access and safety at on around four miles of track at either end of the 21-mile multi-use former railway line.
Ecological surveys of both sites are underway and all partners are committed to enhancing the local environment and protecting local wildlife as part of the scheme.
The project will be carried out by March 2021 and will be overseen by the Cinder Track Steering Group.
Rosslyn Colderley, Director of Sustrans in the North of England said: “I’m delighted to win this much-needed funding for the Cinder Track. This beautiful and popular route has huge potential to provide a green corridor for people walking or cycling to schools and local businesses and could open up a developing market for sustainable tourism in the area.”