BLACKBURN with Darwen Council has revealed how it will spend the first chunk a government grant of £385,000 to make roads safer for cyclists and walkers to use.

The cash is from the Department for Transport’s new Emergency Active Travel Fund.

Whitehall officials have approved the council's scheme to create a permanent safe walking and cycling route from Witton Park to Blackburn town centre.

It aims to continue the trend for borough residents to cycle and walk more during lockdown and keep traffic congestion on the roads down.

The £385,000 funding will be awarded in three phases work on stage one will commence within weeks.

The safe walking and cycling route from Witton Park to Blackburn town centre will include new permanent cycle lanes, linking to National Cycle Route 6 , on bus lanes along Preston Old Road and installation of government-approved social distancing signage.

A ‘Park and Ride/Stride’ facility will be provided at Witton Park and with improved links to the town centre to encourage more employees and students to walk and cycle the last two miles of their daily commute.

The Council intends to monitor usage by installing fixed speed indication devices that record vehicle types and cycles and pedestrian movement sensors on crossings along the route.

Plans for phases two and three are currently being developed.

Cllr Zainab Rawat, the council's assistant growth boss, said: "Phase one of the development will help reduce traffic and increase road safety along this very busy stretch of road, which is especially important as three schools and Blackburn College are situated on this route. Enabling more people to walk and cycle can improve their health and wellbeing."