Phase 2 – map and details
Phase 2 will extend the Great Elm end of the cycle path towards Frome up to Elliots Lane in Hapsford. About half of the land including Buckland Bridge and most of the embankment is already owned by Sustrans. There has been some difficulty obtaining the rest of the land and Network Rail’s stringent health and safety requirements may add very significantly to the construction cost. The original cost was estimated at £200,000, although railway fencing may increase this. Sustrans, based on the previous fundraising success, suggested that Frome as a community should raise £20,000 as an indication of their support for the project. This target was exceeded but unfortunately the government’s austerity agenda has led to a dearth of grant funding so Sustrans has been unable to provide the remainder.
Volunteers have cleared the route of brambles, removed the old railway track and concrete sleepers from a section of the route, levelled the ballast and built steps up the embankment. The sleepers have been re-used in a couple of picnic benches along this section.
Phase 2 has been much delayed and is at a bit of an impasse for now. We sadly had to say goodbye to our LEADER – LAG funding due to time constraints caused by the delays. Other sources of funding are being investigated. We are liaising with Sustrans who have agreed to negotiate with Network Rail – we would like NR to at least go halves with us regarding the cost of essential palisade fencing works. As usual this is a slow process. We also agreed to let Sustrans negotiate the land purchase that we need to finish Phase 2. Revised Planning Permission was approved for Phase 2.
Practical work continues in two main ways. The Ecology Group, ably led by Andrew and Colin meet on Thursdays and they have been creating wildlife habitats and surveying fauna and flora along stretches of the route. They have also been working with Sustrans Volunteers from Radstock to help keep the Colliers Way clear and to improve the experience for all users of the path. Meanwhile the Friday Group (ably led by Geoff) have been keeping vegetation at bay along the Phase 2 route.