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Riverside cycle path to be preserved for future

A new charitable trust has been set up to preserve and manage the Hambrook Marshes in Canterbury through which runs the popular Great Stour Way riverside cycle path. It follows the sale of the land to a mystery benefactor who was determined to keep the route open to the public and preserve the wildlife. The wetlands had been put up for sale for about £150,000 by the Kent Enterprise Trust. But a potential problem was revealed when it was discovered there was no legal obligation on a new owner to keep the path open, despite Kent County Council, the city council and the cycling charity Sustrans spending £700,000 to build it. But now the five-mile route between Canterbury and Chartham, used every week by hundreds of cyclists and walkers, will be preserved for the future. The buyer of the land has now transferred its ownership to a new charitable body called the Love Hambrook Marshes Trust. Trustee Steve Rogers said:

“The first objective of the new charity Is to ensure the area remains open, undeveloped marshland, free of new building or commercial development. It also wishes to ensure conservation of the area through effective land management, protection of existing vegetation and wildlife, maintenance of the present public access, including free ss to the cycle and foot paths. It is anticipating the support of the local community in its endeavours. Discussions with interested parties, including the existing group Friends of Hambrook Marshes, are under way to clarify how these aims can best be put into practice. The friends group were instrumental in drawing attention last year to the threat of development and possible closure of the cycle route raised by the sale of the land. With the new ownership arrangements these threats have been removed.”

For more information on the Friends of Hambrook Marshes contact Michael Walter at michaelwalter434@gmail .com

Herne Bay Gazette, April 10th 2014

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