Communities can apply for footpath funding

public footpath

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.

Projects should also be discussed with Devon County Council’s Public Rights of Way team, telephone 0845 155 1004 or email prow@devon.gov.uk, as well as the relevant local access forum:

Devon Countryside Access Forum Tel. 07837 171000. Email: devoncaf@devon.gov.uk

Dartmoor Access Forum Tel. 01626 831006. Email: localaccessforum@dartmoor.gov.uk

Exmoor Local Access Forum Tel. 01398 322229. Email: cacarder@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

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Posted in: Community