Priority routes identified for cycle improvements in Suffolk over the next five years
Nearly 150 routes across Suffolk have been eyed as priorities for cycle improvements over the next five years, costing well in excess of £80 million.
Suffolk County Council unveiled 20 temporary schemes on Monday, which were the first it was seeking feedback on for measures to help people to travel by bicycle. The list included some road closures to motor vehicles entirely.
It came from work undertaken by a cross-party task force (policy development panel, or PDP) at the authority on improving cycling routes, with a full list of 148 priority routes for the next five years having been published ahead of the council’s cabinet next week.
Of those, 80 have estimated costs attached to them which total just over £82 million.
The council report said different funding streams, such as housing developer contributions and Department for Transport grants, would be assessed in helping to fund the projects.
Councillor Andrew Reid, Conservative cabinet member for highways, said: “The work of the PDP has highlighted those schemes that have the potential for getting the greatest number of people out of their cars and on to bikes.
“This includes those strategic routes to key services and places of work and education.
“Our aim is to embed cycling as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits by making permanent changes to the county’s cycling infrastructure.”
The report stressed the 148 schemes had not yet been confirmed and 'should be viewed as an overall plan of how cycling schemes can be implemented, as funding becomes available, not a programme of works to be delivered on an annual basis'.
The cabinet is next week asked to approve measures to begin discussions with district and borough councils on developing the five-year-plan and pursue detailed feasibility studies of the first 20 schemes announced on Monday including costs, funding sources and estimated timeline for delivery.
Robert Lindsay, the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group transport spokesman, said: “Up to now Suffolk had no proper prioritised plan for cycle routes in the county, just a piecemeal approach which depended on individual communities lobbying for them.
“We really needed to identify what routes had most potential for encouraging people to switch from driving to cycling.
“Once we as a county have a published plan for desired cycle routes, then it is easier to obtain funding for them, either from Government, public bodies, or from developers who want approval for planning applications.
“But the county council should also put its own money where its mouth is and dedicate a proportion of the annual transport budget to cycling infrastructure. We are more likely to attract funding as a county if we can show we are ourselves willing to put some money in to these schemes.”
Helen Armitage, of the Labour group, said: “A lack of safe routes is putting off potential cyclists when we should be encouraging people to leave their cars at home and travel in more sustainable ways.
“Little has been done to reduce the traffic on our roads and congestion is only getting worse. With the funding pots available there is no excuse for failing to deliver these improvements for Suffolk. We must now make sure that detailed proposals are produced, and that they encapsulate all the suggested schemes in one coherent plan, giving us the best chance of successfully bidding for the money needed.
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The priority routes outlined in the five year plan include:
Bury St Edmunds
• Cotton Lane (Northgate Street to Mustow Street)
• Mount Road (Orttewell Road, Eastgate Street, Angel Hill)
• Barton Road (Ortwell Road to Eastgate Street)
• Cullum Road (A1302 Nowton Road to Westgate Street/Guildhall to Cornhill
• Thetford Road (Lark Valley Drive, Culford Road and The Street to Tollgate on B1106)
• Westgate Street/Abbeygate Street (Westbury Avenue, Queens Road, Kings Road, Cornhill)
• Hardwick Lane/Vinery Road (Nowton Road to Horringer Road)
• Westgate Street to Hospital Road (West Road, Hospital Road, Westgate Street)
• Bedingfeld Road/Rougham Road (Skyliner Way to Southgate Green)
• Beetons Way (Newmarket Road to Fornham Road)
• Southgate Street/Angel Hill (Southgate Green, Crown Street and Angel Hill)
• Newmarket Road/Risbygate Street
• Kings Road/Parkway
• FP1 upgrade
• River Linnet
• Horringer-Bury cycle link
• Fornham St Martin cycle track
• Elmswell to Bury St Edmunds (to Mount Road)
• Field Road A1101 (College Heath Road, Folly Road to Queensway)
• Kingsway A1101 (Kingsway from North Terrace to Brandon Road)
• Worlington Road to Mildenhall Road (NewmarketRoad, Station Road, Aldrich Place, Market Place to Queensway)
• A11 Fiveways
• Great Blakenham to Needham Market
• Finborough Road (B1115 Thirlmere Drive/Onehouse Road to Church Walk/Tavern Street)
• Gipping Way (Needham Road roundabout to Station Road)
• Ipswich Road (The Crescent/Poplar Hill to Tavern Street)
• Navigation Approach (Thorney Green in Stowupland, Mortimer Road to Gipping Way/Navigation Approach)
• Chilton Way to Bury Road
• Stowmarket to Ipswich cycle link
• Chilton Way to St Edmunds Road
• Constable Way to St Marys
• Bury Road/Stowmarket South
• St Edmunds Road
• Thorney Green to school
Stratford St Andrew
• A12 Inker Brook
• Woolpit to Elmswell
More by this authorJason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter
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