East Devon: Plans are in the pipeline for a new cycle and walk route to connect Cranbrook to Exeter city centre

A new East Devon walking and cycling route from Cranbrook towards Exeter has moved a step closer, writes local democracy reporter, Ollie Heptinstall.

The East Devon highways and traffic orders committee has voted for a planning application to be made for the route between Mosshayne Lane and Cranbrook, and to start acquiring the land needed.

The 1.5 km off-road walking/cycling route from Cranbrook’s Station Road will connect to the proposed Clyst Valley Trail and become part of the Exeter cycle network that connects Cranbrook to the city centre.

East Devon

The proposed Mosshayne to Cranbrook cycle link.
Image: DCC.

In a report, the council was told the existing shared-use path along the London Road B3174 is “inadequate for the expected demand and not compliant with current guidance, nor suitable for all users.”

The report added that “significant growth” between Cranbrook and the M5 will “increase traffic volumes on the B3174, making the current route unattractive for people to use to access employment, education or leisure opportunities.”

The new route will provide an “attractive and direct alternative link away from traffic between Exeter and the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone (Cranbrook, SkyPark), enabling short to medium distance journeys to be converted to active travel.”

Councillor Sara Randall-Johnson (Conservative, Broadclyst) asked whether cyclists and pedestrians could be separated along the trail, but she was told the council had decided against this as it would mean the trail would have to be five metres wide – “too intrusive to this particular area.”

An officer added: “With our shared space signing campaign and other methods we need to make sure that we encourage people to behave properly when they’re on bikes but also people walking with dogs etc.”

Cllr Randall-Johnson later said that she didn’t think the width of 3.5 metres is enough, given the increasing size of Cranbrook. “This is not a rural area any more. This is very much an urban area and we should be planning for it.”

Cllr Phil Twiss (Conservative, Feniton) supported the proposal, saying he was encouraged to use his e-bike due to Exeter being “basically a large car park after you go under the M5 bridge.”

He also asked for cyclists to be involved in preparing the detailed plan for the route.

Devon County Council intends to submit a planning application next winter. Subject to approval and funding, construction could start in the financial year 2024/25.

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