Sunday, 31 May 2015

Devon Cycling Strategy: agreed... but 'it will need to be more targeted and selective about which projects it invests in'

The cycle routes out of Sidmouth are notoriously difficult:
National Cycle route 2 9th section Sidmouth to Exmouth Rail in Devon, United Kingdom | MapMyRide
Sidmouth Cycling Routes - The best cycling routes in Sidmouth, England

What is actually available on the ground is very 'selective'...

The County Council's own webpage for cycle routes includes nothing for East Devon:
Cycle routes and maps | Cycle Devon

And the cycling pages on the tourist site 'Select Sidmouth' give no mention of routes within the Sid Valley itself:
Cycling - Visit Sidmouth

Some years ago, the route between Sidmouth and Sidford was completed:

There have been many efforts to extend the route to Sidbury:

And meanwhile, the proposed route to Ottery St Mary and beyond continues to be considered:

Two years ago the Devon Cycling Strategy went out for consultation:

Futures Forum: Cycling: Devon Cycling Strategy

It has now been agreed - as this report from the VGS earlier this month relates:

Cycling News

Silhouette photograph of a cyclist
The Devon Cycling Strategy has now been agreed and released by Devon County Council (DCC).

DCC had agreed to a period of consultation with the general public, community groups and Sustrans. There has been no consultation yet (outside DCC).

Zsolt Schuller, our main DCC officer for contact with DCC is no longer working in the county.

At a meeting of Devon Sustrans members, held in Exeter on 25 April, the part time Sustrans Manager for Devon (Rupert Crossbee) said he would do all he can to raise the Sidmouth (and surrounds) profile with both DCC and Sustrans.  However, his main position is (and has been for some time) as Sustrans Manager for North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

It was suggested by Rupert Crossbee and Graham Heysett (Sustrans Volunteers Coordinator) that VGS needs to be more persistent and assertive in  its dealing with DCC, Sustrans, STC, and EDDC, and other groups and relevant bodies. The example was given of the recent success of Dawlish in obtaining about £1.2m to improve cycling access into Dawlish. DCC will carry out most of the work.

Vision Group for Sidmouth - Cycling News

Here is the section from the County Council cabinet from last month:

Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy

Given the changes to the government funding detailed above, it will be increasingly difficult for local authorities to secure or make a strong case for smaller scale schemes, including walking and cycling projects. The exception may be cycle schemes that relate well to specific developments, and are able to evidence that they are necessary in delivering sustainable housing and jobs or growth to the economy. These would be delivered as part of the development management process.

The County Council will continue to be proactive in its pursuit of cycle infrastructure; however, it will need to be more targeted and selective about which projects it invests its design resources in. The lack of funding directly available to the County Council means that it will need to identify a range of funding sources that will help deliver the county's strategic priorities. This will include preparing bids through the LEP Growth Deal process, other government funded bids and ensuring that cycle schemes are included in Local Planning Authority infrastructure delivery plans so that developer contributions (S106/CIL) can be secured.

The following aims and objectives have been proposed, which reflect the changing financial context and the pressures it will put on future funding of cycle schemes across the county:

Showcase Exeter, Newton Abbot and Barnstaple as premier cycling towns

- to provide a healthy, more efficient alternative to travelling by car for a proportion of journeys cyclists will be able to avoid congestion and benefit from a number of traffic-free cycle routes in the urban areas.

Invest in Devon's leisure routes and trails

- to secure transitional economic and health benefits in rural Devon by increasing peoples' access to Devon's impressive countryside and heritage, and providing linkages with rural towns and villages.

Influence the planning process to enable cycle aspirations in market and coastal towns to be delivered

- to ensure that cycle schemes are included in Local Plan infrastructure delivery plans so that developer contributions can be secured and new developments designed to create attractive walking and cycling environments.

A copy of the draft Cycling and Multi-Use Trail Network Strategy is included within Appendix II. This document was discussed at Place Scrutiny Committee in September 2014.

Cabinet (Devon County Council) - Wed Apr 08 2015

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