Work to create the much-anticipated Leyland Loop will start ‘imminently’, as a significant cash pot has been pledged towards the project this week.
And the whole 12-mile cycling and exercise route around Leyland could be finished in two years, according to the plans agreed by Lancashire County Council (LCC).
“When you think that the Guild Wheel in Preston took 12 years from conception to completion, the Leyland Loop is moving along quite quickly”County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson
The trail, also known as the Community Health Loop, is a concept proposed by Leyland County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, through the Leyland Cycling Forum, to link up areas of green space around the town.
Schools, parks, shops and other amenities will also be linked up to the loop over time, which hopes to attract walkers, joggers and families too.
Natural play areas, exercise equipment, trim trails, public art and community maps and notice boards are also part of the ambitious plans.
Following the announcement that LCC has agreed to invest £565,000 to complete the first three significant sections of the route, totalling eight miles, Coun Tomlinson said: “I’m delighted this is all coming forward so quickly.
“We announced the plans last year, and when you think that the Guild Wheel in Preston took 12 years from conception to completion, this is moving along quite quickly.
“I think 12 miles is an ideal length because people could cycle that in a couple of hours, or even walk or run it in an afternoon.
“Work on the first phase will start imminently to give people a chance to see what the whole route will be about.”
A further £18,000 has also been ploughed into the scheme by the Leyland My Neighbourhood Forum.
The demonstrator, or pilot, section of the route runs from Worden Park to Earnshaw Bridge.
It will include enhanced shared surface pathways, interpretation panels, exercise equipment, a natural play area, seating, bins, community maps and amenity signs, and public art.
There are three road crossings which need improvements and a pedestrian bridge requires widening.
A new pedestrian crossing will also be created around the Worden Lane and Langdale Road area, near Worden Park and Runshaw College.
Plans for this were announced as part of the county council’s highways masterplan last year, and it has now been revealed that work will take place in the summer holidays, and that the crossing will form part of the Leyland Loop.
The second phase incorporates Cuerden Valley Park to Heald House Lane, and the third takes in Croston Road to the Lancashire Business Park.
The loop will consist of a series of ‘mini projects’ and members of the public will be able to use each section individually as they are completed. The remainder of the route will be developed as funding becomes available over time.