The Kenilworth to Leamington (K2L) cycle path is among three cycle routes to be approved for funding by Warwickshire County Council at a cost of nearly £12m.
Money for a series of casualty reduction schemes was also allocated by cabinet members at their meeting yesterday (Thursday November 14).
The Kenilworth to Leamington route is by far the costliest of the projects coming in at £4.7m with the other routes linking Hinckley to Nuneaton and Nuneaton to Coventry. The high cost of K2L is because of the level of engineering works required.
There was cross party approval for the routes.
Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe (Con Stour and the Vale) said: “This really kicks off the next stage. It is exciting to be on that journey and they work very well with the climate agenda that we all signed up to last July."
And Cllr Bill Gifford (Lib Dem Leamington Milverton) added: “This really shows a commitment from this council to try and get cars off the road and encourage people to cycle. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a shift.”
K2L will deliver a new 5km dedicated off-carriageway route along the A452 and B4115, including a new pedestrian/cycle bridge over the River Avon at Chesford.
Campaigners for the Kenilworth to Leamington (K2L) cycle path made a presentation to members of the Warwickshire County Council last month on the benefits of the cycle path.
Marie O'Riley, the campaign coordinator for the K2L, said: "Some of our Cycleways members have campaigned for 20 years to have a safe segregated cycle route between Kenilworth and Leamington.
"We are therefore thrilled that WCC have agreed to fund the Ken2Leam route and look forward to Councillor Clarke’s report regarding the projected timescale for this scheme."
Jonathan Chilvers, the councillor and leader of the Green group for Warwickshire County Council, said: “This off road route will make life easier and safer for both cyclists and motorists travelling between our towns.
"For years my Green colleague and I and other parties have been pushing the Conservatives to systematically prioritise, cost and fund cycle schemes. It's often been like pushing a boulder up a hill, but tomorrow will be the first real significant results.
"The K2L campaign, cycleways, CyclingUK and Sustrans have been magnificent. There's lots more to do but let's celebrate this achievement.”
Kenilworth Town Cllr Rob Barry said: "This is a welcome positive action by WCC and meets the first part of the campaign group Cycleways' petition that many local residents supported earlier this year. The second part is that the cycle way should be completed by March 2022.
"To this end we need to continue the campaign to ensure that the cycle way construction is prioritised as this is a key element of the green travel infrastructure in Warwickshire. WCC should ensure that we are able to enjoy cycling safely to the Commonwealth Games events in Leamington in 2022.
"I am sure that a strong Green voice at all levels of local government have contributed to this positive decision by WCC."
Kenilworth Town Cllr Andrew Milton, who is leading the town's cycle strategy, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled by this decision. Many people, both councillors and residents have worked hard over many years to achieve this outcome.
I think it's especially right to pay tribute to Cycleways and the campaign team who did such a good job organising the petition and the final push. This was crucial in getting the decision across the line. Now we need to see a timetable from the council so we can start to realise these benefits as quickly as possible."
The K2L funding issue now needs to be approved by the whole council.
The other routes will form a Nuneaton - Bedworth - Coventry corridor, providing safe and attractive cycling access to major employment sites and allowing people to attend the 2021 Coventry UK City of Culture and 2022 Commonwealth Games activities.
Cllr Peter Butlin (Con Admirals and Cawston), who presented the item to cabinet as the portfolio member for finance and property, said: “I’m mindful of the fact that anyone who travels up the A444 would not want to cycle up it and yet Bedworth has the lowest level of car ownership so those who want to get to work in Coventry where a lot of the work is need a safe way of getting there on a cycle.
Among the traffic schemes to receive funding were the junction of Hatton Bank Lane and the A439 just outside Stratford, the Green Man crossroads in Coleshill and the Portabello crossroads in Shipston.