WORK is scheduled to begin early summer on the £1.6 million extension of the Millennium Greenway in Chester to include Guilden Sutton and Mickle Trafford, creating links through to Chester and beyond into North Wales.

It is expected that the extension, which is a partnership between Cheshire County Council and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), will be open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders by the autumn.

The funding package will provide approximately three kilometres of surfaced greenway, areas of new landscaping, a new pedestrian bridge over the Chester to Manchester rail line and a number of access points onto the route.

The new project is part of a programme of works called REVIVE which includes the county council and NWDA working together to reclaim 70 hectares of brownfield land in Cheshire and Warrington.

Cheshire’s environment executive member Andrew Needham said: “The Millennium Greenway, which follows the route of a former railway line, is extremely popular and I am sure that the extension from Chester to Mickle Trafford and Guilden Sutton will add to its enjoyment for everyone who uses it.

“The REVIVE programme is extremely important in bringing back to life acres of brownfield land and there will be other projects, in particular old chemical industry sites, over the coming years.”

Aftercare maintenance for the Guilden Sutton and Mickle Trafford project will be provided for 15 years, through the environmental charity Sustrans, who will also manage the route.

The first phase of the existing Millennium Greenway was completed in 1999 and runs between Deeside, North Wales to Chester.

Mark Hughes, executive director, economic development at the NWDA said: “Revive is an ambitious programme of land regeneration which will breathe new life into a number of disused sites.

“This new extension of the Millennium Greenway will greatly improve the local environment and open up more land for residents’ enjoyment.

“Further regeneration of brownfield sites will support economic growth and create new opportunities for leisure and recreation while improving the image of Cheshire and Warrington.”

In March last year both the county council and NWDA signed an agreement to secure £17.3 million of NWDA grant to transform and create new open green space, with improved public access, whilst preserving and enhancing nature conservation on areas of previously developed land.

The whole programme will take 22 years to complete and each programme is vigorously scrutinised and assessed before funds are allocated.