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May 2022

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Published on 16 May 2022

Councillors asked to back major strategic cycle route bid

Councillors will be asked next week (24 May) to support a £15.4 million bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to deliver a strategic cycle route between Newton Abbot and Torquay as well as links to the new neighbourhood at Wolborough. 

The proposed strategic cycle route would deliver an environmentally friendly, more sustainable travel choice between Newton Abbot and Torbay, which sees the highest commuting numbers to and from the town. 

The plan is in line with feedback from last September’s public consultation on Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP) which prioritised investment improvements through Kingskerswell as well as new links into Wolborough, including a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the railway at Langford Bridge. 

As most of the proposed route is within existing highway land, implementation could meet the government’s requirement for the funding to be used by the end of March 2025. 

The project consists of three elements - 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 new bridge.   

Consideration was also given to submitting a funding bid based on the Teign Estuary Trail proposals but as land assembly and project design has still to be completed, a bid at this stage was not pursued as it could not meet the government’s 2025 deadline. 

The Newton Abbot - Torbay bid must be submitted by 6 July and be supported by a 10 per cent local cost contribution. Devon County Council has agreed to cover two thirds of this cost leaving Teignbridge to make a £500,000 payment from its capital programme which councillors will also be asked to approve at next week’s annual council meeting (24 May). 

Executive member for Planning Cllr Gary Taylor urged councillors to support the bid.  “This proposal would make better use of existing infrastructure and encourage increased cycling along one of Teignbridge’s most important commuter corridors. This will both encourage healthier lifestyles and low carbon, low-cost transport choices,” he said. 

Despite Newton Abbot, Teignmouth and Dawlish being amongst the hardest economically hit towns across Devon, our Levelling Up Fund status has stayed at the lowest priority level which only attracted seven per cent of successful bids nationally in the first round of levelling up allocations. 

Cllr Taylor said: “As most funding is distributed to the government’s priority levelling up areas, we start at a disadvantage but believe that because we can meet the deadline, have kept the project cost below the Government’s £20 million cap, can show it has local support and have already undertaken some design work we have a strong proposal to submit. 

“Discussions are taking place with Torbay Council – which is in the highest priority group – to support the proposal which aims to secure long-lasting benefits for people living, visiting and working in the area”.