THE chairman of the Big Lottery Fund has been in town.
Sir Clive Booth came to see progress on riverside footpath renovation in Linthwaite.
He wanted to see the progress of the River Corridors Greenway project, which aims to transform and improve the River Colne corridor, particularly around Titanic Mills.
The project is part of the three-year Big Lottery Transforming Your Space programme in Kirklees, now well into its second year.
Much of the work on the footpath is now completed, said Mick Smith, of The River Colne Project.
He added: "This is the longest stretch of footpath along the river. It was just full of puddles and mud. But now it's a hard surface, suitable for all times of the year."
The project aims to benefit the whole community, with £734,000 targeted at three schemes.
The River Corridor Greenways project gets £260,000 to enhance the River Colne corridor and improve wildlife habitat and green spaces.
It also aims to make the area more accessible to the public by creating a network of green spaces, footpaths and greenways.
The project plans to improve footpath and bridleway networks and surrounding space in the Colne River catchment area.
A website (www.greenstreams. org.uk) has also been developed. It promotes the attractions along the river and advertises volunteering opportunities, which will also be done through newsletters.
A circular walk has been created by the river which is accessibly by both wheelchair and pushchair users.
Japanese knotweed has also been eradicated, allowing native wildflowers to return.
The project partners are the River Colne Project, Environmental Alliance Ltd, the Longwood Village Group, Paddock Community Forum and the Milnsbridge Enhancement Group.
Sir Clive - who also had a look at the renovated Huddersfield Narrow Canal - said: "The River Corridor Greenways project is a fantastic example of how investing money in the local environment can improve people's quality of life and benefit all members of the community.
"Through the grants we make, more people will be able to access their local environment, gain a stake in their local area and lead healthier lifestyles."
Clr John Smithson, Kirklees Council's Cabinet member for regeneration, said: "Previously, there wasn't a co-ordinated approach to conservation and access along the Colne corridor.
"Since this project has begun that has changed. Everyone is working together much better on public rights of way and cycle paths.
"The concept of a connected network of green spaces and greenways is now being developed as part of the council's planning policy.
"The River Corridor Greenways project is an example of how this concept can be implemented and is an important part of the wider regeneration of the Colne Valley."
Jeff Keenlyside, from the Environmental Alliance, said: "The response from the public has been fantastic, with more than 100 volunteers."