A cycle path is to be created on a disused railway line between Bradford and the Spen Valley.

Land between Low Moor and Heckmondwike, which had been owned by the former Transperience Discovery Park, has been sold to the cycling group Sustrans and will form part of a national cycle path network.

The deal means Sustrans will be responsible for maintaining bankings and bridges which cross the route.

And rail enthusiasts have backed the move as it means the route will be kept clear should a rail link be reopened.

Sustrans regional manager David Hall said the route would provide travellers with an alternative to using cars.

He said: "We have had support from all sections of the local community and the path will give people a more tranquil and healthy alternative to their cars."

The deal, which took ten months to strike, was made after consultation between Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood, the Missing Link rail group, Kirklees Council, the Spen Valley Civic Society and Metro.

Part of the railway line between Heckmondwike and Dewsbury is already owned by Railway Paths Ltd which is a sister company of Sustrans.

Councillor David Sheard, chairman of Kirklees highways committee, said the sale was great news for the Spen Valley.

Coun Sheard, who is also chairman of the West Yorkshire Transport Museum Trust which formerly owned the line, said: "It means a lot of derelict land will be developed and protected.

"Kirklees is in talks about setting up a fund with Sustrans so money can be spent to maintain bridges along the route."

The four-and-a-half mile stretch of line is understood to have been sold for a peppercorn fee.

Sustrans are still in talks with the owners of the former Transperience site in Low Moor regarding access though their land.

MP Mike Wood said: "The new path should be up and running within a year. It will be a real amenity for the area."

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