Sidmouth safe cycling wish-list calls for one-way streets and seafront bike route

A wish-list of one-way streets and extending the bike route from the Byes to Sidmouth seafront have been revealed following a campaign to boost town cycling safety.

Sidmouth Cycling Campaign has released the results of its report following a survey for better biking in the Sid Valley.

The probe highlighted calls for more off road cycle routes; a proposed trail from the town to Sidbury and the Otter Trail from Sidmouth to the Bowd – and down through Harpford Woods to Tipton St John and beyond.

The wish-list highlighted hopes for:

  • More cycle stands
  • Improvements to the Byes cycle route including an extension to the seafront
  • More education for road users
  • Making some streets one way
  • Building a pump track for BMX

The campaign group said the response to the questionnaire had been positive and won the support of Devon County Council and East Devon District Council.

A spokesperson for Sidmouth Cycling Campaign said: “The county council have recently applied for development funding to progress the Sidbury to Sidford route and a decision on this is expected by the end of March.”

The Sidmouth Cycling Campaign report is the result of a questionnaire circulated in December last year. Some 185 responses were received.

Councillor Marianne Rixson, EDDC Portfolio Holder Climate Action and Emergencies, said: “I would like to thank the Sidmouth Cycling Group for conducting a survey in order to understand the needs of local cyclists. This information is invaluable to our council.”

She said EDDC was keen to work with the group in the future in a bid to ‘provide active travel in the Sid Valley, which is important for health, tourism and to meet our climate emergency pledge’.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “One question that wasn’t asked is where the funding is coming from to pay for all the aspirations?

“Land agreements is one of the most timely and costly to sort as we’ve seen with Sidford to Sidbury flipping from the eastern route to the western route which is at present seeing plans drawn up.”

He said the Sidford to Sidbury route had been included in DCC’s bid to Active Travel England and a decision was due at the end of March.

Cllr Hughes said ‘a start’ had been made with widening Long Park, plus an on-road route to Ice House Lane.

He said delivery across the A3052 will require a new bridge, costing around £1million, adding ‘safer roads’ into town could be achieved through park and ride services.

Cllr Hughes said: “This alone will unlock safer roads into town encouraging more visitors to leave their cars and change mode of transport into town be it by around town buses or cycling.

“This scheme is in our cycle strategy and will see development in phases as funding and land agreements can be reached.”

He said cycle stands and a 20mph town speed limit was ‘already in the programme’ as part of phase two of the Traffic Management Plan.

“The first phase saw cyclists being allowed to continue using Old Fore Street, where other vehicles were not permitted,” said Cllr Hughes.

Meg Booth, Devon County Council (DCC) Director of Climate Change, Environment and Transport County Council, told the Sidmouth cycling campaign group development funding had been applied for ‘to progress’ the Sidbury to Sidford route; the Seaton to Colyford route was ‘being prepared for delivery’; and there ‘has been significant investment in the Sidmouth to Feniton cycle route over several years’.

She said: “Attractive active travel routes including a Toucan crossing of the A375 have been delivered in Sidmouth to the northern edge of the town via the Byes and towards the Bowd and cycle improvements have also been delivered in Ottery St Mary.

“Route feasibility work has been funded with support from Sustrans; however, delivering the route north of Sidmouth towards Ottery and Feniton will be dependent on securing external grant funding.

“Our efforts to progress the section through Harpford Woods between Tipton St John and the Bowd were met with disappointment with an unsuccessful Rural Development Programme for England bid in 2019.

“Alongside our capital investment, the county council is developing a Countywide Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan to refresh and prioritise its long-distance multi-use trails in line with the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy expectations.”

She added: “I would encourage the Sidmouth Cycling Campaign and the Vision Group for Sidmouth to engage with this process and make representations in support of local schemes to give these the best chance of securing future funding.”

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