Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Futures Forum cycling meeting 20th May: press release

Vision Group meets key players on cycling

The Vision Group’s Futures Forum has met with key players to hammer out where cycling projects in the valley and beyond are headed.
Last Monday, the Forum’s chair Robert Crick welcomed the County’s Sustainable Transport Officer Zsolt Schuller to a meeting at the Anchor Inn. 
Mr Schuller is currently working on the Devon Cycling Strategy – and meetings such as this will help take local projects forward.
“Investment for cycling will continue in Devon for 2012-15,” he said.
Peter Grainger from Sustrans confirmed that the national cycling group was working with the County on the Sidmouth to Feniton route, which would follow the old railway track, and hoped to have plans in place by the end of the year.
He was able to reassure a resident that plans to take the cycle route through Bulverton Rd should be “taken with a pinch of salt”, though, as the maps were out of date.
In answer to a question from Dave Bramley, chair of the Vision Group, about the management of the project, Mr Grainger said, “I will clarify the position with Sustrans lottery funding for a scoping study in time for the Tour of Britain.”
Jo Elliot, chair of the Otter Trail who have been working with Sustrans, had brought along students Edmund, Harry and Lawrence from the King’s School in Ottery – who have also been campaigning for the Sidmouth to Feniton route.
County Councillor Stuart Hughes, responsible for transport, said, “We have already done some considerable work towards cycling schemes in and around Sidmouth, and the Sidmouth to Feniton route is one that I hope to see progress in the next tranche of schemes from 2015-17.”
He was also able to reassure the meeting that things were likewise moving with the Sidford to Sidbury cycle route and walkway.
County Councillor Christine Channon of Budleigh and Newton Poppleford Parish Council chair Mark Sanders were also interested in the possibility of a link route from Otterton to Ottery.
And newly-elected Sidmouth Town Council chair John Hollick, together with his deputy Geoff Turner, spoke further about the £150,000 promised by the District Council for sport in Sidmouth (see last week’s Herald).
He said that much of the funding could go on cycling projects.
“It is good that EDDC are committed to working with us to make sure that local people have their say about where it gets spent,” he said.
“We hope that as many people as possible will send us their ideas.”
The SVA’s Keith Owen Fund secretary Barry Jones was also on hand, as the SVA are also very interested in cycling projects in the valley.
And finally, members of the public are clearly looking forward to the Tour of Britain coming to Sidmouth in September – “a great opportunity for Sidmouth and for cycling,” as one said.
“I enjoyed the lively debate,” said Peter Grainger of Sustrans at the end of a busy evening. 

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