South Devon Cycleway funding bid submitted

Local MPs, councils and community organisations have given strong backing for plans to develop a high-quality cycleway connecting Newton Abbot, Kingskerswell and Torbay which would also link the Bay into the National Cycle Network.

The proposed South Devon Cycleway will provide safe travel networks on the most used commuter routes through Teignbridge and Torbay as well as providing travel choices to Newton Abbot rail station and the upcoming Edginswell rail station.

Devon, Torbay and Teignbridge councils worked together to submit a £14.5 million funding bid for the cycleway to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. If successful, this important transport link will provide sustainable and active travel options between existing and planned routes, bringing about benefits to the local economy and businesses through improving commuter travel, as well as boosting health and wellbeing for families, residents and tourists.

The plan also responds to the Government’s challenge to improve cycling infrastructure in order to double the number of people cycling and embraces the vision for Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton Garden Community to flourish through investment in high quality infrastructure.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said:

“This ambitious bid seeks to enable the delivery of priority schemes identified in the Heart of Teignbridge Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, providing an important addition to the existing active travel network in the county which can help support economic recovery and growth.

“The close collaboration between the councils and local MPs highlights that this scheme is a vital link between Newton Abbot and Torbay which will give people greater sustainable travel choices, while helping to cut congestion, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions. The South Devon Cycleway will be a great asset to encourage active travel, so that people can enjoy the benefits that walking and cycling offers our health and the environment.”

Teignbridge’s Executive Member for Planning, Councillor Gary Taylor, said he was delighted that since advocating the scheme in May, the council had attracted such strong support and had been able to work jointly with Devon County Council and Torbay to submit a strong bid.

He said: “This is an excellent example of local authorities working together on a scheme that will bring numerous benefits to the area. We hope that the active travel benefits that this scheme offers will attract the funding necessary to deliver it by 2025.”

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council said: “I’m really pleased to be partnering with Teignbridge and Devon on this proposal, supporting consistent cycle infrastructure across boundaries and further enhancing the travel choices for residents, employees, and visitors on the corridor between Torbay and Newton Abbot.

“We approved the Torbay LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan) in April 2021 and it’s great to see this scheme designed and ready to be funded, demonstrating our ambition to enhance walking and cycling infrastructure across Torbay and linking up with the National Cycle Network.”

Local MPs Anne Marie Morris and Kevin Foster have welcomed the bid, enthusiastically supporting the proposals which would provide more sustainable, safe travel choices, reduce air pollution and congestion and improve public health by encouraging active travel.

Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot, said: “I very much welcome the proposed new cycleway which would provide much needed connectivity between part of the constituency and down into Torbay. Increasing local travel options are not only great for local residents but also for the wider South Devon economy”.

Torbay MP, Kevin Foster, said: “The opening of the South Devon Link Road transformed the journey between Newton Abbot and Torquay for motorists, now we need to deliver the South Devon Cycleway which will transform it for cyclists. The plans present an exciting opportunity to enhance links on this crucial corridor delivering better journeys for work and leisure, whilst helping level up our region by providing the type of cycle infrastructure seen in other parts of the UK.”

The plan has also been supported by local colleges, cycle clubs, Sustrans, Network Rail and Torbay hospital.

The recently submitted joint bid covers a new segregated route between Newton Abbot and Edginswell; a connection from there to Torbay Hospital; and a link between Kingskerswell and the Wolborough development, including a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the railway at Langford Bridge.

As most of the proposed route is within existing highway land, the cycleway could be implemented to meet the Government’s requirement for the funding to be used by 2025.

With the recent rise in fuel costs, the proposed new route also links some of the most deprived areas in the country, providing an alternative for residents who cannot afford to drive, giving them access to centres of employment, learning and skills training.

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