Communities can apply for footpath funding
Posted on: 22 May 2012
Community groups and partnerships in Devon can apply for cash to improve their local public rights of way – thanks to the newly launched Paths for Communities Fund.
Natural England has created the grant scheme, offering between £5,000 and £150,000 for individual projects. The fund total of £2 million has come from the Rural Development Programme for England and needs to be spent before May 2014. The aim is to benefit the rural economy and rural populations – making it an ideal opportunity for communities across Devon.
Natural England is encouraging people to look around their local parish to see whether a new right of way can be created which would benefit local businesses, residents and visitors; for example a route which leads to the local shop, pub, school, cycle hire place or visitor attraction.
Routes cannot be permissive but must include a public right of way creation. This might be a new bridleway or involve upgrading a footpath to a bridleway to permit cycle and horse use. Footpath creations may be considered if there are community and economic benefits.
Applicants should also consider:
- accessibility for wheelchair users and pushchairs
- seating for the elderly
- how the new route can be promoted to encourage locals and visitors to support local shops, attractions and businesses
- how there might be integrations with public transport and links to popular destinations.
The next step
Once the applicant has submitted an initial ‘expression of interest’ form, a Local Grant Officer from Natural England will be in touch to discuss the potential project.
Normally 75% of the project will be funded and no additional public funding is allowed for the remaining 25% (including National Lottery money). However, there is some flexibility in the scheme to allow for up to 100%.
Applicants are encouraged to seek advice from their local tourism partnership. There are six groups in Devon – more details can be found at VisitDevon.
Devon Countryside Access Forum Tel. 07837 171000. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dartmoor Access Forum Tel. 01626 831006. Email: email@example.com
Exmoor Local Access Forum Tel. 01398 322229. Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted in: Community