We are volunteers campaigning to make it possible to cycle or walk in and out of Totnes from the direction of Newton Abbot. We are also seeking to ensure that we solve the missing link in the National Cycle Network (Route NCN2) and stop Devon County Council from agreeing a route that bypasses our town.
The pollution levels in Totnes now regularly breach the recommended safe levels. At the same time, new housing has contributed to increased congestion, in and around the town. Totnes Town Council and the surrounding Parishes of Littelhempston and Staverton have declared a climate emergency and are no planning a net zero economy by 2030. Changing how we move around will form part of this undertaking. This means more cycling and walking for between Totnes and the neighbouring villages. If you would like to help make this a reality, then please show your support by signing this petition. We have the backing from across the community including residents, MP’s, councillors, schools and businesses.
Over the years, together with Devon County Council and independent consultants, we have exhaustively researched all the possible routes into Totnes from Littlehempston (Newton Abbot). By far the most affordable option that avoids long detours, steep inclines, and/or dangerous crossings is by this using the footbridge (Bulliver Bridge) over the river Dart. This route has been designated as the most suitable option by the County Council’s Highways and Traffic Orders Committee for the South Hams, who gave it their unanimous backing. The route is also supported by cycling charity Sustrans, as well as all local schools and parish councils. The route will also help complete NCN2, a Sustrans cycle path that runs from Dover to St Austell.
Unforunately, the present owners of the bridge do not agree, in fact they are so opposed, that they refused to discuss the matter with the Ltitlehempston Parish Council. Devon Count Council have now given up and decided not to push the matter further. This has not made the problem go away. Climate change and pollution remain a mounting problem. The geogrpahy of Totnes means to cross the river safely this bridge is the best option to get in and out of town safely, unless we build a new one.
However, we believe there is still a chance the railway will change their minds. We hold this view beacsue ten years ago they totally agreed with us! In 2010 they wrote to Littlehempston Parish Council suggesting the idea of sharing the bridge recognising that a few measures would be needed to make it safe, but, that overall it woudd benefit all concerned. Unfortunately, not long after that personnel changed and the shutters came down. The railway refused to communicate, except via the press and the main reason given for not wanting to share the bridge was security. Our view is that this could most probably be overcome, it would cost money to make their site secure, but it would never cost as much as a new bridge. Unfortunately this has never been investigated. Interestingly the same cocerns were raised when the cycle path opened by the shops at the Darongton Cider Press, its also worth noting that there are a number of cycle paths running succesfully alongside steam railways across Devon.
You might argue that the railway are perfectly within their rights to refuse to engage. That is true, but it is also worth pointing out that the bulliver bridge was funded with 50% public money, money which was given for the benefit of our community and to improve sustainability. We think this fact carries some weight and leaves the railway in a morally challenging position to refuse to enter into dialogue.
Will they ever change? Maybe, possibly only when the personal change, but yes, we think they might do. In case they dont we are exploring ALL other options, including a new bridge. It just seems crazy to amass all that money and resources to build a new bridge a few hundred meters up river from the a perfectly suitbable one that already exists. Sure the railway has some valid concerns about security, however we believe there is a way of sensitively addressing those concerns, to find a solution that benefits the entire community.
So, if you want to find out if it is possible that our community and one of our prime attractions could safely and securing share the Bulliver footbridge, then please support our campaign by signing our petition, comments are very welcome but you don’t have to leave one.
Please help us get the word out by sharing with your network
South Devon Cycle Link