Sustrans has been working to restore and open up a multi-million pound project Bennerley Viaduct as a walking and cycling route for over three years. In August 2017, as part of this work, we applied for a large grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), for which we were turned down in December 2017.
Although the HLF board considered the project to be a strong one, the bid was not successful, as it was not considered to provide the same level of outcomes and values for money as competing applications. Despite the outcomes, the HLF said they would welcome a revised application.
In January 2018, after careful consideration, Sustrans made a decision not to re-submit the application in its current form to the HLF for the following reasons:
- The financial risk to Sustrans posed by the match funding requirement of almost £2m.
- The continued investment of staff and cash resources both in developing the re-submission and, if successful, the Stage 1 proposal.
- Bennerley Viaduct is not part of the National Cycle Network. This requires significant investment across the UK. We are currently reviewing the Network and identifying investment priorities which makes prioritising a large single site project that is not connected to the Network hard to justify at this stage.
Sustrans is exploring a number of options for the future of the viaduct, working with the owner of Bennerley, Railway Paths Limited. We are committed to working with the local community and recognise their ongoing support as being key to the successful development of Bennerley.
Update: April 2018
The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, Railway Paths Limited and Sustrans have recently held a productive meeting to start the process of identifying possible options for a project, or projects, to achieve the aim of opening up the viaduct for public access and creating a link across it between the Erewash and Nottingham canals.
All three organisations remain committed to seeing the viaduct brought back into use as a walking and cycling route, but recognise that this may take a number of years and that it will need to be achieved in an incremental way depending on the availability of suitable funding. Over the next few months, the partners will explore the options that were tabled at the meeting, and assess their feasibility.
These options include critical repairs to the structure, the creation of a path and the enhancement of the area underneath the viaduct, the construction of a ramp at the western end, steps at the eastern and the installation of decking.
The results of this work will then be submitted to the Railway Paths Limited Board and Sustrans Executive to seek approval for the implementation of a project.
Ongoing support from the community for the viaduct is integral to its future and all three organisations would like to acknowledge the value of the time and efforts that local people have invested, and hope that this partnership can continue.