Boost for cyclists as £50,000 Follifoot underpass upgrade given green-light

The Follifoot underpass where it cuts under the A658.
The Follifoot underpass where it cuts under the A658.

A popular cycling trail will get a new lease of life, with £50,000 to be committed in a major revamp of the rural Follifoot underpass.

The funding will see the pass under the A685 concreted, while the connecting pathway will be upgraded with compacted gravel and porous surfacing material called Flexipave.

Coun Phil Ireland, the cabinet member for sustainable transport, green lighted the allocation of funds from the North Yorkshire County Council's sustainable transport reserve at a meeting on May 2.

A further £10,000 will be available for the project from a section 106 contribution previously secured from the nearby Harrogate rugby club development.

The report on the decision acknowledges that the path is currently unsuitable for cycling, with the upgrade to benefit the entire Harland Way cycle route, which the Follifoot underpasses includes.

"It is currently in a condition that is only suitable for equestrian and heavy duty vehicle use all year round thereby limiting the opportunity for cycling," the decision notice states.

The funding is a long-time coming, with the underpass upgrade included in the Harrogate Cycling Delivery Plan, approved by Coun Ireland's sustainable transport predeccesser in March 2015.

A report on the matter states: "The underpass is of fairly basic construction with a corrugated metal roof and flooring which has deteriorated over time and is often extremely muddy".

"The approaches to the underpass comprise a stone based surface which has become narrower over time due to the encroachment of vegetation.

"The intention from HBC officers has been to develop a scheme that works for all users, whilst being particularly mindful of the needs of the equestrian community, especially so given that children with disabilities use the underpass on horseback."

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter