KIRKLEES councillors have agreed to pay £3,535 ... for a Barnsley Council worker.
The Cabinet last night agreed to become a partner of the Trans-Pennine Trail, a route of footpaths along disused railways, canal and riverside paths, bridleways, urban cycle lanes and footpaths from Liverpool to Hull, via South Yorkshire.
Council papers say that “the Trans Pennine Trail itself does not come into Kirklees, however, the trail is ‘linked’ to Kirklees from Penistone along a road route and a quiet/bridleway route via Skelmanthorpe and Stocksmoor to Kirkburton”.
Plans were unveiled last summer to extend the main route from the east to west coast via South Yorkshire into Kirklees with on and off-road routes linking Penistone and Kirkburton .
The Trans-Pennine Trail website states: “Both routes will be open and available for use this summer 2012 and signs are already in place with the help of our partners at Barnsley MBC and Kirklees Council.”
Kirklees Cabinet agreed to pay £3,535 per year towards the funding of a Trail officer based in Barnsley Council offices, with day to day management provided by Barnsley Council.
Kirklees, along with 26 other authorities, pay for the officer and an assistant and council papers say: “The level of contribution is set by the Members Steering Group, which could increase in the future, which the Council (Kirklees) has no control over, but would have a seat on the group from which to argue a case and a vote on a decision.”
Clr David Sheard , deputy leader, queried why they were agreeing to potential future undisclosed sums of money if the trail incurs costs.
Clr Mehboob Khan, council leader, said they could add a caveat to revise their partnership on an annual basis “depending on the cost benefit analysis of it”.
He later said: “Kirklees will be promoted on the Trail’s literature and it will have benefits for Kirklees and attract cyclists and walkers to the area and be of benefit to the villagers of Denby Dale and Kirkburton.”
Last night Kirklees Cabinet agreed to enter into the “spirit” of the partnership of 26 of the local authorities the Trail encompasses.
A £5.7m grant from the Millennium Commission, now the Big Lottery Fund, funded completion of the route, which opened in 2001.
It is used by walkers, runners, cyclists and many sections are suitable for horse riders.
The coast-to-coast section of the Trail is around 215 miles long, with 350 miles of interlinking route within a twenty-mile corridor in which almost 15 million people are said to live.
The recreational and transport route connects the towns and cities of the North of England with the Peak District National Park and the east and west coasts at the Mersey and Humber estuaries.