Work will start on a ‘demo’ section of Leyland’s much-anticipated Community Health Loop this year.
The 12-mile cycling and exercise route is a concept proposed by Leyland County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson through the Leyland Cycling Forum. It aims to link up areas of green space around the town, similar to the Guild Wheel in Preston.
Last year Lancashire County Council agreed to invest £565,000 to complete the first three significant sections of the route, totalling eight miles and a further £18,000 was ploughed into the scheme by the Leyland My Neighbourhood Forum.
On Friday South Ribble Council announced their “full support” to Leyland’s Cycling Forum on a Twitter post, and revealed a ‘demo’ section would be worked on this year.
Coun Tomlinson said: “I’d been hoping work would start last summer but it wasn’t to be, so its nice to see the council have come out and confirmed work will start this year.
“Some parts have actually started already. There is a new pedestrian crossing already in place in Longmeanygate and also in Worden Lane.”
The ‘demo’ section is set to run parallel to the River Lostock between Dunkirk Lane and Longmeanygate, on land which is owned by South Ribble Council.
Coun Tomlinson added: “It’s a nice section in the woods and alongside the river that will give people an idea of what the rest will be like.
“The idea is based on the Guild Wheel, but we want to make it clear that it’s not just aimed at cyclists. It can be for mums with prams and people walking and jogging.
“Any normal cyclist should be able to complete the full loop in about an hour.
“It will take in different areas of Leyland such as Worden Park and Wade Hall. It’s about it being accessible and encouraging people to get out safely close to Leyland town centre.”
Coun Derek Forrest, part of the Leyland Cycling Forum, said he was excited by plans and hoped it would attract cycling events to South Ribble.
He said: “It looks expensive, but a lot of the infrastructure is already there, it just needs some kinks taking out.”
Plans for the Community Loop were announced as part of Lancashire County Council’s highways masterplan in 2014.
Work is expected to fall into three phases. The second phase incorporates Cuerden Valley Park to Heald House Lane, and the third takes in Croston Road to the Lancashire Business Park.
It is thought the whole project will be completed within 18 to 24 months.