Government minister Norman Tebbit was once derided for suggesting that unemployed people get on their bikes and look for a job.
So the former leading Tory might have allowed himself a wry smile had he seen Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council unveil a new cycle path to ‘improve employment opportunities’ for people living near the Eurocentral and Maxim industrial areas.
The 1km path runs from the car park at Keir Hardie Sports Centre in Holytown to the heart of the business park at Eurocentral, off the A8.
It was built by North Lanarkshire Council, with funding from Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. The council has also secured cash from cycling charity Sustrans to carry out additional work in the area.
Holytown councillor James Coyle, convener of the planning and transportation committee, said: “With the number of businesses located at Eurocentral there are opportunities for employment, but it can be difficult to get there if people don’t have a car.
“So this new cycle path offers a quick, direct route for people commuting to Eurocentral and, we hope, will allow more people to take up jobs there.
“It also links into a wider network of cycle paths across North Lanarkshire, including new paths linking Airdrie through to Bellshill, which can be used for leisure as well.”
Jim Coleman, SPT chair added: “We are delighted to support projects such as this. One of our key aims is to promote active travel and encourage as many as possible to leave the car behind.
“What better way to do that than to create a safe environment with dedicated spaces for cyclists to use for work or leisure?”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the path’s opening.
Demand for the path was identified in a study carried out for the council by a consultancy firm from Holland where cycling is very popular.
John Lauder, of cycling charity Sustrans Scotland, said: “We look forward to working with North Lanarkshire Council and SPT to enhance cycling and walking provision.
“We want to see more people travelling actively and safe and convenient cycling and walking routes is a key factor in achieving this.”