Public votes to award biggest ever single lottery donation to cycling and walking network

The Big Lottery fund has announced that Sustrans: Connect2 has won The People’s £50 Million Lottery contest.

The project was one of four shortlisted to receive the biggest ever award to be decided by a public vote.

Sustrans: Connect2 is a UK-wide project that will create new cycling and walking routes to improve local travel in 79 communities across the country.

John Grimshaw, CEO and founder of Sustrans, said: “It is fantastic for the 79 communities and many other partners and local authorities across the UK. The hard work starts now to build those bridges, tunnels, crossings and networks of paths."

Four projects went head-to-head in a bid to win the £50m grant, each receiving an initial grant of £500,000 to invest in their project’s development.

The other three projects in the running for the grant were the Eden Project: The Edge, Sherwood: The Living Legend and the Black Country Urban Park.

Over the past week each of the projects has been the subject of a television documentary shown on ITV1, with people being able to cast their vote online or by phone.

The Edge design for the Eden Project
The Edge represents the next evolution of the Eden Project in Cornwall, where communities will be able to share the ideas they have for improving their lives and surroundings

Black Country Urban Park
The Black Country Urban Park project is the starting point for the long term transformation of the Black Country, aiming to improve the open green spaces and canals for people and wildlife across the region.

ke's design for Sherwood Forest visitor centre
Sherwood Forest Living Legend is a regeneration scheme which will protect and expand the ancientforest, the legendary home of Robin Hood, and create one of the largest multi-user path networks in Europe. A sustainable visitors centre “The Tree” has been designed by Make.

Sustrans' Connect2
Connect2 is a UK-wide project to improve local travel by creating walking and cycling routes for those everyday journeys.