A wide-range of characters from Cheshire East’s past and present attended the official opening of a 4km traffic-free rural corridor between Crewe and Nantwich.
Mayor of Cheshire East Councillor George Walton cut the ribbon to mark the end of six years of hard work on the Sustrans Connect 2 Crewe-Nantwich Greenway, set well back from the A530 Middlewich Road.
Cllr Walton was accompanied by Cabinet member in charge of the environment Cllr David Topping, Crewe Mayor Cllr Margaret Martin, the chairman of the stakeholder group Cllr Arthur Moran as well as an array of dog walkers, cyclists, runners, horse riders and skateboarders on the first day of spring.
There was also a Roman soldier, a roundhead civil war solider and a Crewe railway man present. All three characters are represented in steel around a customised portrait bench close to the road leading up to Alvaston Hall Hotel. This is a feature of Connect 2 routes across the country and is designed to represent the area’s history.
A toucan crossing has also been installed close to the Rising Sun pub to allow people to access the greenway across the busy A530. The speed limit has also been reduced.
The greenway is a joint project between the Council and sustainable transport charity Sustrans.
The route will increase the number of people walking and cycling in south Cheshire by offering them a traffic-free way of getting between the two towns, linking to shops, schools and major employment areas within Cheshire East. This will bring health as well as environmental benefits.
Cllr David Topping said: “I am delighted that this greenway is now officially open and it opens up parts of the countryside that have previously been inaccessible.
“As a Council we are committed to supporting sustainable forms of transport and this greenway now allows people to walk and cycle between these two towns.
“The welcome addition of new crossing installed on the busy A530 should also make it much safer for people wanting to access the greenway.”
Cllr Walton said: “It was an honour to officially open this new greenway and it was great to see so many people there who will all be able to use this new route.
“Hopefully it will persuade more people to leave the car at home and get out in the fresh air and take some exercise.
“I am sure that Cheshire East residents will be making use of this greenway for years to come.”
Peter Foster, regional director for Sustrans, said: “Our experience on the previous 14,000 miles of the National Cycle Network has us convinced that we’ll see lots of walkers, cyclists, pushchairs and wheelchairs out enjoying this new route.
“With the help of our partners and local campaigners we’ve created an attractive traffic-free journey from the Barony to Queens Park.
“Choosing to walk or cycle for short journeys – such as to work, to school or to the railway station – is good for your health, it’s good for the planet and it’s good for your wallet.”
The Crewe to Nantwich Greenway was officially opened on Wednesday 20th March 2013.
The route runs from Tipkinder Park in Crewe, through (and around) Queens Park, around King George V playing fields to the Rising Sun Inn, then west through the fields alongside the A530 Middlewich Road to Barony Park where it ends at Beam Street in Nantwich. It will give pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists a traffic-free route between Crewe and Nantwich. The western section from the Rising Sun Inn to Barony Park has been designed to accommodate horse riders.
A ribbon cutting ceremony by Councillor Peggy Martin (Mayor of Crewe), Councillor George Walton (Mayor of Cheshire East Borough) and Councillor Arthur Moran (Nantwich Town Council) took place at the 'Portrait Bench', located by the entrance to Alvaston Hall. The ceremony was also attended by walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders.
The Portrait Bench features life-size sheet steel effigies of a Roman Soldier, a Civil War Roundhead and a Railwayman: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/portraitbench
The route was funded by the Big Lottery Fund, constructed by William Pye Ltd and promoted by Sustrans (sustainable transport charity).