Council and Sustrans working together to get people more active
The Active Travel Transformation project is a two-year behaviour change project funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council which aims to get residents in Chester and Winsford travelling more actively, for example by walking or cycling. Active travel is a simple low cost and effective way for people to travel whilst increasing levels of physical activity in their day to day life.
As well as health benefits, the project will also benefit the environment. An increase in walking and cycling can help to reduce car travel leading to reductions in air pollution, carbon dioxide emissions and levels of congestion.
The project, which started in May 2019, is being delivered by Sustrans, the charity that is making it easier for people to walk and cycle. Sustrans connects people and places, creates liveable neighbourhoods, transforms the school run and delivers a happier, healthier commute.
In Chester, the project is centred on the Greenway, which is owned and managed by Sustrans and runs from Mickle Trafford to Deeside, with specific focus on the area between Blacon and Limewood fields. The Greenway is used for both commuting and leisure activities by approximately 4,000 people a day. The project is aiming to increase the number and type of users using the Greenway. Consultation events held over the summer with users and non-users asked people what they would like to see on the Greenway, how people currently use it, and what barriers are stopping them from using it more.
Two schools adjacent to the Greenway, The Arches Primary School in Blacon and Newton Primary school have carried out the Sustrans Big Street Survey as part of the project. The survey helps pupils to investigate their local area, consider what is good and less good and then produce a manifesto for change. In both school, pupils from year five worked hard over two sessions to come up with their manifesto which they presented to a local ward Councillor.
In the Arches Primary School, top of the manifesto list was ‘artwork’ as the pupils thought the area around the school needed brightening up. There are plans for Sustrans to work with the school in the spring to take this idea forward and use artwork to link the school with the Greenway as well as add more planting.
Newton Primary School highlighted the need to reduce parking outside the school gate and suggested alternative parking where families can walk the last section to school. They also wanted to see a more colourful zebra crossing on Brook Lane to encourage people to slow down. Children said they wanted signs to encourage people on bikes to slow down on the Greenway outside the school, as well as benches and seats.
In Winsford, the project specifically focuses on the Winsford 1-5 Industrial Estate, which has over 100 businesses and 4,000 employees. The project will aim to increase the number of people who travel actively to the Winsford 1-5 Industrial Estate by providing more active travel commuting opportunities in the area.
A series of fortnightly Lunchtime Wanders have been set up at Winsford 1-5 Industrial Estate throughout the autumn to get people moving actively during their lunch breaks. These start from Health Intelligence on Road Five and are led by one of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Countryside Rangers, who has a wealth of interesting wildlife facts at his fingertips. The walks explore the landscape around the industrial estate and will take in rural and urban trails.
In the spring, the Active Travel project will be linking with other business on the Industrial Estate for a Corporate Health day as well as running a series of Dr Bike sessions, to help people get their bikes in good order ready for cycling. In Chester, a series of family rides and led walks on the Greenway is planned for Spring/Summer 2020. There will be further details on www.sustrans.org.uk in the spring.
During the project, Sustrans will be looking to recruit and train community and workplace champions to continue the legacy of the project. For more information about the Active Travel Transformation Project please contact: