Designated Funding Form Application: A417 Trunk Road Improvements
West Cotswolds Accessibility Project
- The project will focus on improving the accessibility of public rights of way and associated routes to people with a range a disabilities, linking communities overlooked by the Cotswolds Escarpment with the area impacted by the A417 project.
- The aim is to provide improved links for walkers, horseriders and cyclists between the communities at the base of the escarpment with the escarpment itself and the landscape of the west Cotswolds.
- Eligible improvements will include the removal of narrow bridges and their replacement with wide, wheelchair accessible bridges where appropriate; surfacing work to deal with difficult slopes; and the replacement of stiles with accessible gates.
- The project will also where possible tackle network severance and provide links between disconnected paths through agreement with landowners or the highway authority.
- Associated works to help develop “green corridors” will also take place as appropriate with landowner agreement, including tree planting and hedge restoration.
- Links between neighbouring communities will also be improved along routes identified through the Slow Ways initiative.
- The project expects to function principally in the 12 parishes encircling the Air Balloon project area. These are:
Brockworth, Badgeworth, Shurdington, Leckhampton with Warden Hill, Charlton Kings, Coberley, Cowley with Birdlip, Great Witcombe, Cranham, Brimpsfield and Upton St Leonards.
- Key corridors and works that tackle network severance or difficulty will be targeted where landowners are accommodating and supportive
- The project will aim to engage closely both with the parish and town councils noted above, as well as user bodies and will be led by the Gloucestershire Local Access Form (GLAF), a strategic advisory group administered by the county council.
- Professional advice and support will be provided by Gloucestershire County Council, who will also administer the project on behalf of the GLAF.
This project aligns with the Users and Communities fund theme.
Work will begin on 01/04/22 and continue to completion on 31/03/25 on a phased basis.
Support and Viability of Project
The Project will be led by the Gloucestershire Local Access Forum, comprised of representatives of landowners, including the National Farmers Union, along with user body representatives, including representatives of walkers, riders and cyclists as well as people with disabilities.
It has the support of the County Council, which will help administer the funds bid for.
Professional advice and support will be provided by the County Council public rights of way team and other experts there. The project will build on the experience of Parish Paths Project (“P3”) that ran between 1992 and 2001 and the county council’s Local Paths Project that succeeded that, delivering considerable network-wide improvements in the 108 participating parishes.
Volunteer support will be key, both at parish council level and working with existing volunteer networks such as the Gloucestershire Ramblers and Cotswold Voluntary Wardens.
Stakeholder support has already been gained from the GLAF and support from further stake holders is currently being sought including Gloucestershire Ramblers, Gloucestershire County Council, local Parishes and the British Horse Society.
The Project is designed to be part of the A417 Designated Funds Vision.
- Proposed Costs:
- 2022/23: Designated Fund Contribution £120,000; Gloucestershire County Council contribution £12,000
- 2023/24: 2022/23; Designated Fund Contribution £120,000; Gloucestershire County Council contribution £12,000
- 2024/25: 2022/23; Designated Fund Contribution £120,000; Gloucestershire County Council contribution £12,000
The proposal includes a working budget of £100,000 capital spending each year along with £32,000 funding towards a part time project manager to oversee and administrate the project.
The project would result in a considerable improvement to a number of key links between communities overlooked by the Cotswold escarpment and the Cotswold National Landscape area impacted by the A417 Trunk Road Improvement.