MAJOR bids are going to Government for funding towards a £9m off-road cycling and walking link between two Tyne Valley areas.

Northumberland County Council's bid for nearly £17m is being made through the Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) - a £4.8 billion scheme for eligible local authorities to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life, including regenerating town centres, high streets and upgrading local transport.

In Tynedale, it is proposed to create an active travel link between Hexham train station and Corbridge.

Discussions about connecting Hexham and Corbridge with a better cycling route have been ongoing for more than 20 years.

The proposed route would largely follow the A695 between the two location's rail stations.

County councillor for Corbridge Nick Oliver said: "I have been working with colleagues in Hexham for several years to promote a scheme like this and I'd like to thank all of the Council staff who have done the technical assessment and worked it up into a £9m costed scheme.

"If successful this bid will bring transport, health and tourism benefits."

County councillor for Hexham Central with Acomb Trevor Cessford added: "I hope the Government will support this bid which will connect two communities in the Tyne Valley and I will get behind all efforts to encourage people to walk and cycle more." 

The funding would also go towards a scheme in Bedlington, which would provide new and upgraded active travel infrastructure to improve the east to west link across the town, connecting key residential and employment areas with the planned Northumberland Line station.  

Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for Local Services, said: “The benefits of using our cars less where we can and taking more sustainable transport are well known to us all.

“Over the past 12 months a considerable amount of work has been carried out to develop a suite of Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plans for main towns across the county.

“These have now been prioritised based on a number of detailed criteria and we’re pleased to be submitting this strong bid which we feel will markedly improve active travel in these areas.”