PROJECTS across the region are battling it out for lottery cash as voting starts this morning for schemes in Northumberland, County Durham and Newcastle.
In Blyth, the community is hoping for the £1.4m revival of a cross-river ferry service.
The River Blyth ferry – which connected the town centre to the villages of North Blyth and Cambois for 130 years – was axed in 1997.
Now sustainable transport charity Sustrans and Northumberland County Council have devised the £1.4m bid to restore the service in an attempt to boost green travel.
The scheme forms part of the nationwide Connect2 transport project, which is battling it out with three other high-profile projects for a £50m prize in The Big Lottery Fund Living Landmarks: the People’s Millions.
The winner will be chosen by public vote and from 9am today people all over Britain can begin voting online for their favourite project at www.thepeoples50million.org.uk
Telephone voting will take place over the weekend of December 7 to 10, after which the winner will be announced on ITV.
Yesterday Coun Bill Brooks, Northumberland’s executive member for environment and regeneration, said: “This project really has the potential to improve local people’s quality of life.”
The Connect2 bid also involves a direct cycle route between Bedlington and Cramlington, linking through to North Tyneside, central Newcastle and the Quayside.
Elsewhere in the region, projects are battling it out for £80,000 of people’s millions cash.
In Durham, MPs Hilary Armstrong and Roberta Blackman-Woods are urging viewers to vote for cash for a new park in honour of football legend Sir Bobby Robson.
Durham goes head-to-head with Teesside to canvass the North-East public’s support on tomorrow’s People’s Millions contest on ITV Tyne Tees, when the Sir Bobby Robson Park project competes against Middlesbrough Council’s The Renaissance of Acklam Avenue.
The Sir Bobby Robson Park project would create a play area at Langley Park, the former mining village where the ex-England and Newcastle soccer boss grew up, including a children’s playground and skate park.
There will be a number given on North East Tonight at 6pm on Tuesday to vote for the play park, which wants an £80,000 grant.
There will be one winner of the £80,000 award each night, between tonight and Thursday. At the end of the competition there will be also an additional bonus award of up to £80,000 for the runner-up with the most votes.
Tonight the Fenham Swimming Project in Newcastle, to update the pool, will go head-to-head with Hill Top Community, Gateshead, who want to provide a community centre for the elderly.
On Wednesday a bid for a bandstand at Redcar, Teesside competes against a wildlife project at Whinney Banks, Middlesbrough and on Thursday a community education centre at Pennywell, Sunderland, will vie for votes against a scheme to create pontoons for sea cadets at Derwenthaugh, Blaydon, Gateshead.
Go to www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/ prog_ peoples_millions to vote.