Canterbury City Council has agreed to allocate £150,000 of developer funding to a scheme to provide a walking and cycling path on part of the line of the former Crab and Winkle railway in Whitstable.

The funding is from the developer of the former Huyck site and is sufficient to complete a 350 metre section of the path from Teynham Road to The Sidings.

Ecological surveys have now started to ensure that the design respects the natural habitat as much as possible and mitigates against any adverse impacts on flora and fauna.

The design will minimise the number of trees and other vegetation that needs to be removed, both to protect natural habitats and also to provide a screen against overlooking.

Once the ecological surveys and any arising mitigation have been undertaken, ground clearance will be carried out and construction work can start towards the end of 2017. The council will be working closely with the Crab and Winkle Line Trust, as the Trust obtained the planning permission and is the landowner for much of the land.

This project is part of a wider scheme to provide an attractive, traffic-free route for walking and cycling between Invicta Way and the harbour, which is listed in the council’s Transport Strategy. It is hoped it will provide a springboard for the Trust to fundraise to complete the remaining sections of the route, which includes bridges over Old Bridge Road and the railway and over Teynham Road.

Chairman of the council’s Regeneration and Property Committee, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: “We’re very supportive of this project and believe it to be an excellent use of the developer money. Providing safe, dedicated walking and cycling routes encourages more people to leave the car at home, and of course there are significant health benefits to getting out on two feet or two wheels as well.”