We need resolve on cycle network

Email your letters to andrew.keeble@archant.co.uk or write to us at Opinion, North Devon Gazette, Un

Email your letters to andrew.keeble@archant.co.uk or write to us at Opinion, North Devon Gazette, Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8PB. Please keep letters to maximum of 300 words and also include your name, address and contact telephone number. - Credit: Getty Images/Hemera

“Exe trail journeys jump 60 per cent” reported the Exmouth Journal on March 20 (page 4).

“Saving money and improving your health are two very good reasons to try different ways to get to work,” said Devon county councillor Stuart Hughes.

He added: “Cycling is continuing to gain in popularlity and it’s encouraging that almost 200 adults have received cycle training over the past year.”

“Cycle trips on one of Devon’s flagship routes, the Exe Estuary Trail, have increased ... to more than 110,000 by 2012 on the stretch between Exmouth and Lympstone.”

Congratulations, Devon County Council, on your continued commitment to sustainable transport.

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But what about EDDC’s Draft Local Plan? The Exmouth chapter doesn’t mention that Exmouth is on the National Cycle Network (NCN) – astonishing.

In 2003 the excellent Exmouth Cycle and Access Strategy was drawn up by Cyclepath Exmouth, and updated in 2007. It indicates a potential town network of safe routes – based around four routes radiating from the town centre:

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l The Exe Estuary Trail

l Bapton Stream Valley route

l Withycombe Stream Valley route

l Phear Park disused-railway route, leading to Littleham and Budleigh.

We await further updating of the strategy.

Routes need to be clearly identified – and safeguarded – to avoid conflicting development.

(Remember how the council paid to have the Littleham Cross railway-cutting under Salterton Road filled in – which should have been a crucial link in the radial Phear Park to Littleham and Budleigh stretch of the National Cycle Network.)

Off-road town routes are a joint project between the district and county councils.

DCC has already built traffic lights where the (developing) signed radial Bapton Valley route will one day cross Pound Lane.

Yes, we want cycle/footpaths for all ages – for getting to work, school, shops and the bus/rail station.

DCC is getting people on to bikes. And there is welcome text in the EDDC Draft Local Plan promoting green infrastructure.

But, in my opinion, any sense of ‘resolve’ or priority for sustainable transport in that document is weak.

We hear: “There is no money.” Surely the tighter the funding, the more important it is to have a proper plan – for when money becomes available.

Jan Pawson

Cyclepath Exmouth

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