Work has commenced on the eastern section of the Prittle Brook Greenway scheme between Victoria Avenue and Prittlewell Chase.
The existing footpath next to the brook is being converted into a shared use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians. The scheme will see the existing path improved with landscaping and tree planting to make it an enjoyable path to walk or cycle on.
Once completed, the Greenway will provide a sustainable traffic-free corridor running from Priory Park to Woodlands Park, linking seven schools. Plans to extend it west to Poors Lane North in Castle Point and east to Rochford are also under consideration.
The scheme is a key component of the South Essex Green Grid, promoted as part of the Thames Gateway South Essex Regeneration Project. Carefully-chosen furniture such as benches, railings, bollards and gates will also further enhance the Greenway.
Councillor Anna Waite, Southend-on-Sea Borough Councilâ€™s Executive Councillor for Planning and Transport, welcomed the start of work, which is being funded by Cycling England.Â She said:
â€œIâ€™m delighted work has started on the urban section of the Greenway, which will improve access to local schools and shops, Southend Hospital, Priory Park and Belfairs Park. Many people requested this cycle way. Initially we had insufficient funding but Cycling England agreed it was a worthy project and provided finance to help us achieve it. This will be one of the most important routes for cyclists and walkers in the town and I am really looking forward to moving ahead with it. The provision of improved road crossings will also help ensure greater safety and control shared access onto the Greenway.â€
Robin Bevan, Head Teacher of Southend High School for Boys, praised the Greenway scheme and the new zebra crossing, which was funded by Olympus KeyMed.
He said: â€œCycling and walking make a lot of sense. They are both healthy, clean and cheap ways to travel to school or work. Sometimes, however, our road system makes it difficult for our pupils to choose to walk or cycle. The new pedestrian crossing and cycle lanes on Prittlewell Chase are very welcome and have already improved the journeys to school of several hundred pupils each day. The financial support for the zebra crossing from Olympus KeyMed has been exceptional. Local councillors and residents have worked together to ensure the success of the development.â€Tags: â€˜Bike Itâ€™ secondary school, Cycling England, Olympus KeyMed, Prittle Brook Greenway, shared use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians., South Essex Green Grid, Southend High School for Boys