FUNDING has been granted for a scheme to improve 3 kilometers of canal towpath in Bradford.

At a meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority's Investment Committee this morning, members agreed to provide £1.363 million funding for a joint scheme that would see improvements to a stretch of canal towpath between Shipley and Apperley Bridge, and a 4.3km of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal from Milnsbridge to Slaithwaite.

It is part of the Authority's City Connect programme to boost cycling and sustainable transport in the area.

Both schemes would be delivered by the Canal and River Trust, and it is hoped they will be complete by next Spring.

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The Shipley stretch of work will run from Dock Lane in Shipley to the Dobson Locks area in Apperley Bridge, and area that is of a much lower standard than some stretches of the towpath.

A report to the committee said: "The new upgraded towpath will increase widths available for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as providing a durable all-weather surface that is also in keeping with the nature and historic value of the canal environment.

“The aim of the CityConnect programme is to encourage more people to travel by bike, through the creation of high-quality infrastructure and delivering engagement initiatives to enable shifts in behaviour change.”

Rob Griffiths, programme manager, told members the work would help with the push to make "cycling and walking the natural choice for short journeys."

He said it would "fill gaps" in the existing City Connect scheme - making it easier for people to cycle from Apperley Bridge to Bradford city centre on traffic free routes.

Councillor Alex Ross Shaw, Bradford Council Executive for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: "I'm pleased to see the Shipley section included. I know it is something that has been requested by a lot of the local community, and it is good to see it coming forward."