Worcestershire County Council and Sustrans have celebrated the introduction of a new walking and cycling link in Worcester.

Penny Brick Way was officially opened and named in a ceremony on Wednesday, February 13 at St Mark's Church on Bath Road, Worcester.

Worcestershire County Council has been working closely with Sustrans to develop a number of important walking and cycling links to the new Diglis Bridge across the River Severn.  One of those links has now been developed in partnership with St Mark's Church and the Diocese of Worcester, who have agreed to a new shared use path for walking and cycling through the grounds of the Church.

The path, which runs between Orchard Street and Bath Road, provides a route for users to access a new toucan crossing facility on Bath Road, where users can cross the road to access Cherry Orchard School via the Duck Brook Pedway.

The toucan crossing is for use by cyclists and pedestrians.  The existing pelican crossing just north of Stanley Street remains and has been linked wirelessly to the new crossing to support traffic flow through the area.

The overall cost of the project, which is funded through Big Lottery Fund and County Council funding through the Connect2 scheme, is approximately £240,000.

'Penny Brick Way' was chosen as the result of a competition for pupils of Cherry Orchard School to suggest names for the new link.  The winning entry was submitted by Joey Gough, a Year 2 pupil at the school, who was today presented with a £30 cinema voucher as his prize by Worcestershire County Councillor John Smith OBE.  The name 'Penny Brick Way' comes from a scheme to raise funds to enable the church to be built in 1902, which involved the sale of 'penny bricks'.

Henry Harbord, West Midlands Area Manager for Sustrans, said:  "It is terrific how the Diocese of Worcester has allowed us to create this new route across church land and the County Council has worked so hard to get the detail right.  I think the name Joey has chosen for the path is just perfect."

Worcestershire County Council's Cabinet Member with responsibility for highways and transport, Councillor John Smith OBE, said: "Worcester is a beautiful city and it's absolutely essential that our residents have access to good walking and cycling routes to support the choice of healthy travel options around the city and beyond.  It is wonderful to see local organisations such as St Mark's Church and local children working in active partnership with the county council and Sustrans towards such a successful result.  I'm absolutely delighted to be involved in the official opening and look forward to seeing the new link in use."

Worcestershire County Council's Deputy Leader, Councillor Simon Geraghty, said: "It's great to see yet another walking & cycling link completed in the City. This forms part of a number of key improvements to join up routes and create an even better network of cycleways & pedestrian links. I'm also glad to see the addition of a new crossing on this busy road."

Councillor John Cairns added: "One of the pleasures of being a county councillor is the opportunity to know about and be involved in great projects such as this in my local area.  I'm pleased to see the local primary school have been so actively involved, and of course we're very grateful to St Mark's Church for their co-operation in this project which will benefit local people.  The new link will provide an attractive route for walkers and cyclists around this lovely part of the city.  I'm delighted to be involved in the opening of Penny Brick Way and am looking forward to exploring the new route for myself."