A VOLUNTEER ranger has said he is delighted that funding will continue to help maintain the Nutbrook Trail after the council ‘U-turned’ on its decision to cut the grant.
Erewash Borough Council pays Sustrans to provide two full-time employees to ensure the popular cycling and walking route, which passes through Straw’s Bridge and into Shipley Country Park, is well-maintained.
But Sustrans ranger Clyde Hinton says he was told earlier this month that the group’s £4,500-a-year funding had been cut as part of the council’s budget, which was finalised on March 1.
After he complained to councillors and talked to Erewash Mayor Cllr Robert Parkinson about the issue, Mr Hinton says he was told two days later that there had been a ‘big mistake’ and the funding would continue in full.
“I don’t know whether it was a result of our campaigning but we are very pleased to hear that the grant is in place for another year,” he said
Phil Wright, Erewash’s director for operational services, said there were never any firm plans to cut the grant and confirmed they would be maintaining the funding.
He said: “The council can confirm that the Sustrans grant for the Nutbrook Trail was reviewed by officers as part of the overall budget for 2011/12 with agreement made that this grant will continue for this year and will be considered as part of the budget next year, which is consistent with the process for all council grants and service level agreements.”
But Labour councillors said the funding should never have been put under threat in the first place.
Cllr Louis Booth added: “The planned cuts to the Sustrans grant should never have been up for consideration.
“Thousands of local people from Abbotsford, West Hallam and Kirk Hallam use the trail on a regular basis, and for such a small grant it has a massive impact.”