£37,000 HS2 grant will improve access to woodland and create safer routes for schoolchildren in Woodford Halse

Part of the proposed new pathway.Part of the proposed new pathway.
Part of the proposed new pathway.
A grant of £37,000 has been awarded to Woodford cum Membris Parish Council by HS2.

The Woodland Walkway Community and Environment Fund grant by HS2 independently administered by Groundwork UK, will improve access to local woodland and create safer ways for children to reach the village school and for everyone to access other amenities.

The grant, together with top-up funding from the parish council’s Community Infrastructure Levy provided by local developers, will fund the construction of a footpath next to the busy Byfield Road in Woodford Halse, inside the village’s community-managed Great Central Woodland.

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Byfield Road is the main road through the village connecting the Banbury-Daventry A361 road with the village, including the school. With more than 300 homes constructed in former fields alongside the road, access along this route for children is important. The current footpath alongside this busy road is very narrow, subject to flooding in heavy rain and involves crossing the road up to three times from one end to the other.

Great Central Woodland is a 10 hectare green space in the heart of the village on the site of former railway marshalling yards. It was acquired on behalf of the community four years ago by the parish council.

The new walkway will provide a safer route to school and year-round access to the woodland suitable for the elderly, pushchair, and wheelchair users as well as easier access to the village centre for all residents living on or near Byfield Road. Work will include improving access to this part of the woodland via a wheelchair friendly slope.

The council is currently advertising for a contractor to construct the pathway. Work is estimated to take six weeks. Target date for completion is before the 2021 autumn school term.

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The project is part of the council’s five-year strategy and 10-year management plan for the improvement of the Great Central Woodland’s ex-railway land as a village amenity.

For further information contact the vice-chair of Woodford cum Membris Parish Council and chair of the Great Central Woodland Management Committee Paul Blackwell [email protected].

Further information regarding the HS2 funds can be found here: www.groundwork.org.uk/hs2funds

Further information on the project and the woodland, including details of the Parish Council Strategy and Woodland 10 Year Management Plan is published on the Village Signpost www.woodford-halse-villagesignpost.co.uk and at www.greatcentralwoodland.org

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