A SCHEME aimed at completing a public pathway alongside the east side of the river Avon in Tewkesbury has begun.

Thanks to a vital piece of land that has been released to the borough council by Tewkesbury Wetherspoons and subsequent funding from the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, the completion of a scenic riverside walk can now become a reality.

The idea of a riverside walk was first introduced over 60 years ago when American soldiers staying in the town left the borough council a small financial legacy to provide improved access to the river. While much has been achieved since then - such as the promenade in Back of Avon - the final link in the walk has never been achieved as a result of lack of access to the required section of land.

However after extensive negotiations, Wetherspoons gifted the final vital piece of land to Tewkesbury Borough Council back in August so that the walk could be completed. The council, more recently, applied for and match-funded a grant of £25,000 provided by Gloucestershire Environmental Trust in order to deliver the long-awaited project.

Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Lead Member for Finance and Asset Management, Cllr Dave Waters, said: “We are delighted that we are finally able to start work on this beautiful walkway after years of planning. It has been a great community-led project and will provide new and improved access to the scenic riverside in Tewkesbury. Once the walk is finished it will not only benefit visitors to the town but it will be a fantastic asset for local residents to enjoy.”

The works will involve building a section of the path, which will include metal railings, a new footpath in blue clay pavers, new kerbs and bollards to the St Mary’s Lane car park, and extensive work to the river bank. There will also be natural stone benches and fencing added to enhance the attractiveness of the area. It is expected the works will be completed in spring 2016.

The idea of a riverside walk was supported by members of the public at a consultation held by the Tewkesbury Town Centre Master Plan team in 2011.

Since the start of the 2015 financial year, The Gloucestershire Environmental Trust has offered grants of over £700,000 to local organisations. For more information about grant eligibility and the work of the Trust, please visit www.ge-trust.org.uk