WALKING and cycling routes between Kidderminster and Stourport will benefit from a share of £135,000 from the government.

The funding has been awarded to Worcestershire County Council from central government's Emergency Active Travel Fund designed to support walking and cycling initiatives during and after the pandemic.

The routes that will see improvements in Worcestershire include Stourport to Kidderminster, to link with the employment and housing development at Silverwoods, as well as Fernhill to Blackpole in Worcester, the A449 Malvern to Worcester, and the Redditch to Bromsgrove corridor.

Councillor Alan Amos, cabinet member for Highways, said: “The county council wholeheartedly supports active travel, and support all forms of transport.

"Improving our road network goes hand in hand with improving our cycling network, and remains one of our key priorities.

"This funding from central government will allow us to continue the progress we’ve already made in this area.”

The funding will also help to create a cycle parking initiative, which will provide secure cycle parking at businesses, education and retail locations across the county.

These will be placed where no parking exists currently, or where provision is limited, to enable more people to consider cycling to access local services and facilities.

Part of the funding will be spent on digitising Worcestershire’s walking and cycling maps to enable the public to access information and updates about the routes via their smart phones or other devices.

It will also see the installation of safety signage for Covid-19 and waymarking to encourage social distancing.

The Shuttle reported earlier this week that councillors and cyclists in Wyre Forest had called for the money to be spent on widening footpaths on Bewdley Bridge to help people to socially-distance while crossing the River Severn.

District councillor and Green Party member Vicky Caulfield said: "This is welcome news as it links with the Silverwoods development so will help residents there to be able to cycle.

"However, I would say the county council has showed a lack of ambition with their Emergency Active Travel Fund bid. They have only been allocated 50 per cent of what they asked for as the bid did not meet the full brief from government.

"The fund is about more than painting white lines, it's about real infrastructure.

"Bewdley Bridge is an amibitious example of what central government was asking councils to do.

"That being said, I am pleased Wyre Forest will receive this investment."