CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after a planning inspector approved a controversial £400,000 footpath and cycleway between Bilton and Ripley.
The decision from Government-appointed inspector Roger Pritchard followed a public inquiry in which various landowners and Nidd Parish Council attempted to block the project over fears it would become a hotspot of anti-social behaviour.
The bridleway, which is being developed by the cycling charity Sustrans, is seen as a vital link from Harrogate to the 12,000 mile National Cycle Network.
David Hall, Sustrans regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, told the Yorkshire Post he was “delighted” at the planning inspector’s decision.
Following the announcement, campaigner Malcolm Margolis, said the new route was targeted to be opened by this time next year and would be a real boost to public health and tourism in the area.
“It will be a wonderful asset for many cyclists, walkers, horse riders and wheelchair users, and perhaps most especially for those with young families who want to travel sustainably to enjoy the beautiful countryside between Harrogate and the Dales”, he said.