HOSPITAL staff, patients and visitors are among those who can benefit from the first Bee Network walking and cycling schemes in Tameside.
Work is underway on Tameside's first two schemes to boost the borough's walking and cycling infrastructure.
The developments include enhancements to an off-road path for people to enjoy walking and cycling at Chadwick Dam through Ashton and Stalybridge, which will improve connections between residential areas and Tameside Hospital.
The work extends walking and cycling provision and features a new crossing of Mossley Road to improve access towards the park. The hospital has also recently provided cycling facilities for staff to make the most of the scheme, which will give a healthier, greener, more sustainable option for those travelling to the site. Within the park some additional planting and new benches will make this a more attractive route. Ridgehill Big Local Enterprises, the lease holders for Chadwick Dam and Stamford Boating Lake, are also building a sensory garden for the benefit of the local community through a successful funding bid to the AVIVA Community fund, making the scheme a real collaborative approach.
The second Bee Network scheme involves a series of cycle improvements between Hill Street and Stockport Road in Ashton, which includes contraflow cycle lanes and a new parallel zebra crossing. This scheme will better connect residential areas in Ashton with Audenshaw and Ashton town centre, with links to the Peak Forest Canal running between Ashton town centre and the Stockport boundary via Hyde town centre. It will also provide access at Portland Basin onto the cycle route along the Ashton Canal towpath to Manchester City Centre, which was upgraded by the Canal and River Trust.
Consultation on these schemes took place in early 2020 with the vast majority of respondents indicating that the schemes would encourage them to cycle and walk more. Changes were made to the designs as a result of feedback.
The council is also working with partners to develop an activation plan to provide people with the skills and confidence to use the new cycling routes.
The Bee Network is making Greater Manchester an easier place for people to get around on foot or by bike and connecting every neighbourhood and community with a fully joined-up cycling and walking network.
Tameside Council Executive Member for Transport and Connectivity, Cllr Warren Bray, said: "It's wonderful to see that work has started on Tameside's first two Bee Network schemes, making this ambitious vision a reality.
"These schemes will create and enhance cycling and walking routes across Tameside that join up around Greater Manchester, encouraging residents to walk or cycle more, reducing vehicle trips and tackling congestion and poor air quality to protect the environment and help keep people fit and healthy.
"We're delighted to work with Tameside Hospital and Ridgehill Big Local Enterprises to support their initiatives to encourage walking and cycling. These first two schemes will give those travelling to the hospital, as well as to local shops, schools and work, a healthier and greener travel option."
Andrew Light ICFT Health and Wellbeing Guardian and Non-Executive Director at Tameside and Glossop IC NHS FT added: "The health and wellbeing of our staff is of great importance to us at the ICFT. We know how beneficial it can be both physically and mentally to get out for a walk during your lunch break or even after work. I am delighted that improvements are being made to this picturesque and much valued space close to the hospital. With spring just around the corner I can see that this area will be very well used over the coming months and beyond."
A spokesperson for Ridgehill Big Local Enterprises said: "We are proud that our successful funding bid will enable a sensory garden to be built within this area of natural beauty. This garden will enhance the area, creating a picturesque space within the Bee Network walking and cycling scheme in Tameside."
Greater Manchester's Bee Network will provide a 1,800 mile, joined up cycling and walking network across the city-region. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has approved £8.4million of the Mayor's Challenge Fund (MCF) to progress development across Greater Manchester, including £687,000 to support the delivery of the two schemes at Chadwick Dam and Hill Street. Find out more about these at www.tameside.gov.uk/MCF
Pic caps: Work's started on the Bee Network at Chadwick Dam.