ANGER has erupted after a funding bid for desperately-needed improvements to a section of canal towpath was rejected.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority had requested over £11 million for Bradford-district schemes in its bid for Active Travel England cash to improve walking and cycling.

But only £1m was awarded.

And projects to miss out include long-awaited work on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath between Silsden and Kildwick.

Questions have also been raised about why more of the total £23m given to West Yorkshire from the Department for Transport-run fund wasn't earmarked for Bradford-district schemes, with much of it going to Leeds.

Bradford Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, says: "Whilst it’s good news that West Yorkshire will receive funding to improve its walking and cycling network, I’m hugely disappointed that Active Travel England overlooked the massive opportunities in Bradford district.

"West Yorkshire Combined Authority bid for just over £11 million of funding for the district, most of which would have gone towards extending the Thornton Road cycleway and upgrading the towpath between Silsden and Kildwick, helping to get people out of their cars."

Leader of the Green Party on the council, Councillor Matt Edwards, said: "It's very disappointing for Bradford district, indeed for West Yorkshire as a whole, that so much of what was meant to be a joint bid is being allocated to Leeds city centre."

John Grogan backed the campaign for improvements to the three-kilometre stretch of canal towpath between Silsden and Kildwick when he was Keighley's MP.

He says: "The campaign goes on following the news that the Government quango Active England has turned down the funding application to upgrade this section.

"This is the only stretch of towpath on the entire 127-mile length of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which has not been improved for the enjoyment of walkers and cyclists alike.

"It is an absurdity that the West Yorkshire mayor and local councils have to make bids to Government about schemes to improve walking and cycling in our local area and then the Government picks and chooses between them. It is time such decisions about priorities were made locally."

But Active Travel England defends the process. It says each bid underwent a "robust" assessment that considered a range of criteria, with funding decisions taken on the basis of "quality, deliverability and value for money". It added that feedback is being provided to authorities with unsuccessful bids.