Test Way's Missing Link

Press Release: 13/02/2012


Construction of a safe, shared pedestrian and cycleway to link up the Test Way at Stockbridge has got the green light thanks to Sustrans funding and some quick work from Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council.

The scheme, along the A3057/A30 verge in Stockbridge formed part of the Test Valley Access Plan and Cycle Strategy and Network. A lack of funding meant the plans were on hold but now Sustrans, the charity that enables people to walk, cycle and use public transport for more everyday journeys, has confirmed that they will allocate funding to the scheme.

The Sustrans funding will come through the Big Lottery fund which works towards creating more National Cycle Network routes to link communities to local shops, schools and other amenities, in this instance the off-road sections of the Test Way at Stockbridge. The provision of funding was originally subject to the money being spent this financial year so Test Valley Borough Council, in conjunction with Hampshire County Council, moved quickly to secure the completion of the route which is part of the National Cycle Network (NCN246) as well as a long distance footpath. The design for the scheme has been completed and construction work will commence during the week of 6 February and is expected to take around 14 weeks.

Councillor Martin Hatley, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport at Test Valley Borough Council said “I am delighted that we have secured the funding from Sustrans to complete this section of the Test Way. A Council aim is to deliver on the public’s wish to provide local leisure facilities for them to enjoy, in this instance the opportunity to walk or cycle through some of the South’s most beautiful countryside”.

Sustrans South East Regional Director Simon Pratt said, “We’re delighted to be able to offer the funding to create a new walking and cycling route along the A3057/A30. We hope that the new route will encourage even more people in Stockbridge to get around on foot or by bike.”

One of the funding requirements is that each scheme will also be part of a national art programme that provides a Portrait Bench on the route. Each bench has three life-size local figures cut from weathered steel and installed behind or in front of a simple bench. The local portraits will be nominated and chosen by the local community led by a local Steering Group which is currently being set up.

For more information on Sustrans and the Connect2 lottery fund please click here.