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Resurfaced path means no more muddy walks to school

30 September 2016

Children and parents can now safely walk to two primary schools without having to break out the wellies or get mud all over pushchairs and prams.

Thanks to a project to resurface a popular pathway used to get to and from both Vicarage Park and Dean Gibson schools in Kendal, they will be able to walk the route this autumn and winter without trudging through mud and puddles.

The resurfacing of the path that links Collin Road and Collinfield Lane has been carried out thanks to a £9,000 Locally Important Project (LIP) grant from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

SLDC’s grant was supplemented by a further £1,000 from SLDC Kendal Stonecross ward Councillor Sylvia Emmott from her own members’ allowance, £876 from Kendal Town Council to oversee the project and highways authority Cumbria County Council made up the difference to complete the funding for the £15,000 scheme.

Councillor Emmott championed the LIPs grant bid and said: “I’d heard many comments about the muddy state of the path and the problems of trying to push prams and pushchairs on the uneven surface, as well as about parking issues at both schools at the start and end of the school day.

“Dean Gibson’s regular newsletter reminds parents about not parking inconsiderately on Hawkesmead Drive and Avenue adjacent to the school, and there is always congestion outside Vicarage Park School.

“There are 370 pupils at the two schools and hopefully, by improving this path, we will help to relieve congestion issues by encouraging children and parents to walk to the schools, which is obviously better for the environment and their health.

“It will also be great for the local community to have a better path linking the new path at the bottom of Dean Gibson playing field and Collinfield Lane, including the many people that use the schools for recreational classes in the evenings during the summer.’’

Cumbria County Council carried out the resurfacing work and parents and pupils are already seeing the benefit, especially now that the weather has turned more autumnal.

Parent Jonny Grisedale, whose son attends Dean Gibson School, said: “I've been cutting back the bushes on this path for years to help make it easier for everyone to use it, but recently walking our son to school along the path had become a dodge the dog poo and mud nightmare; the dog poo often difficult to spot in the mud and fallen leaves.

“Now it has been resurfaced the school run can be completed without anyone getting ridiculously dirty shoes or the need for wellies.  It will make such a difference to so many people in the area - it has been the talking point of the school playground this week!’’

LIPs grants are intended to support SLDC’s Council Plan priorities on environment, housing, supporting the local economy or health and wellbeing.

Organisations eligible for LIPs funding include parish and town councils and community organisations.

In the most recent round of grants £285,000 was awarded to projects as diverse as upgrading playgrounds and installing a drainage scheme at a local football club pitch to funding studies to alleviate a village’s traffic congestion issues.

The LIPs grant funding schemes fit with SLDC’s ‘More Local’ commitment to embrace neighbourhood working, engaging with communities and empowering them to deliver on things that matter locally.

The LIPs money is allocated through the New Homes Bonus, where the Government matches the council tax raised for new homes and properties brought back into use. Additional funds are also given for each affordable home built.

SLDC decided to use the New Homes Bonus funds to address the needs of local communities and part of the money goes towards LIPs grants.

SLDC leader Councillor Giles Archibald said: “These grants demonstrate our commitment to localism and working in partnership with local communities on the issues that matter to them.’’