The campaign is building momentum with nearly 3000 supporters having signed the petition. The Totnes Times recently ran a front cover on the cycle path, highlighting the danger of Devon Country Council signing off a longer route that would bypass Totnes.
DCC’s more detailed route study was commenced in May 2012 but has not yet been concluded. We understand that this study is not being given a high priority because DCC consider that there is little prospect of any funding being available in the next several years to develop the path. We realise of course that funding is very tight but we still question whether DCC have their priorities right – and we remain very concerned about the prospect of a fatality on the A381. Note the recent serious accident reported in the Totnes Times on 14th Dec 2012, which really must act as a wake-up call. Bringing our preferred route over the footbridge into operation would cost approx £300k according to DCC. Isn’t this a price worth paying to save a life?
We will post fuller status update early in the New Year.
Happy Christmas, and cycle safe!
South devon cycle link
We met with the Head of Highway Management from Devon County Council along with a number of councillors on 5th April to discuss progress towards establishing a safe and accessible route. DCC had provided us with a feasibility study of 5 possible route options in advance of the meeting, which you can read by clicking the following link:
Proposed Cycle Route Feasibility Study & Maps to accompany report
The only serious options arising from this feasibility study appeared to be either our proposed route requiring the permission of South Devon Railway to share their footbridge (option 3), or a route crossing the River Dart over a hypothetical new bridge and running through the Dartington estate (options 4). Option 4 and would make a delightful route, but would cost much more than option 3 (an extra £1m approx). Our big concern about any decision to select option 4 would be that the high price would cause the project to be deferred indefinitely.
- Option 1 – Bridgetown hill and Bourton Lane: There seemed to be a general acceptance that this wasn’t a serious option for safe cycle route accessible to all.
- Option 2a/b – A381 roadside and new offroad rural path: Given that part of this route would run along verge of the A381 and thus be unsuitable for children, this route doesn’t appear to be a serious option.
- Option 3 – Our favoured route: SDR management remain extremely concerned about potential vandalism to their station at Totnes. DCC have been unable to allay these concerns so far.
- Options 4/4a/4b – Various routes involved construction of a new bridge over the River Dart. These routes would be attractive for recreational use, albeit with the downside of a very steep climb on the east side of the Dart. But the main issue is a price tag £1m+ higher than option 3. We think it unlikely this could be afforded in the foreseeable future.
- Option 4c – As above but climbs up to run through Dartington estate rather than follow the river bank. Far too much climb for a family recreational route.
- Option 5 – via Huxhams Cross and Staverton Bridge: This option runs along existing lanes and is available for use now. The reason it isn’t used is because it represents a sizeable detour, and involves significantly more climb than option 3. It also runs along the busy and fast main route from Staverton up to Huxham’s Cross, and would require cyclists to navigate the single lane, low walled Staverton bridge – which is increasingly congested at peak times.
DCC went on to meet with the management of South Devon Railway, Totnes Rare Breeds Farm and South West Water the following week. We understand from DCC that the meeting was constructive, and we are grateful to these organisations for devoting time to this project. DCC relayed our suggestions on mitigating security concerns – but we understand that SDR and Rare Breeds management remain extremely worried about the security of their premises.
Although this is disappointing, the good news is that DCC have decided to allocate to one of their design engineers the task of conducting a more detailed and thorough appraisal of each route. This will involve discussions with land owners and local councils, and will include examination of how to mitigate site security risks – fingers crossed that this professional engineering input will deliver new solutions that will be acceptable to SDR.
- As part of their detailed analysis, we expect DCC to consult with Littlehempston and Staverton parish councils, and Totnes town council. If you live in any of these areas, please write and make your views clear. If you know anyone who sits on a local council, please bring this issue to their attention.
- We are planning a cycle and walking demonstration in favour of the new cycle path – provisionally booked for 14th July 2012. This will be a repeat of a similar outing in June 2010 but on a larger scale. We will invite cyclists and walkers to gather in Littlehempston (probably at the Pig and Whistle pub on the A381) and join us on a demonstration ride/walk into Totnes and back, with a police escort. More details to follow…
Thanks to your support so far, Devon County Council now have this project firmly on their agenda.
A meeting was held at Devon County Council offices on October 17th 2011 between representatives of the local villages, the county councillors that represent them and the head of Highway Management at DCC who is responsible for the implementation of cycle routes throughout Devon.
The following presentation was made to DCC outlining the pros and cons of the various routes into Totnes from the villages in the hinterland to the north east round to the north west of Totnes.
Cycle path presentation given to DCC – 17th October 2011
Furthermore Devon County Council have put forward 5 separate routes to cost up for viability.
Once a route has been selected and agreement has been obtained from all landowners, a design will be drawn up along with an estimate for construction.
Construction will then be dependent upon the identification of suitable funding.
In March 2011 Devon County Council held a series of sustainable development workshops in Totnes entitled “Totnes on the Move”. These were designed to establish what local transport requirements were for people living in and around Totnes. Cycle paths featured predominantly – particularly this one.
There were 22 specific references alone to the Littlehemspton Cycle Path in this report. To see a copy of the report – click here
Since then Totnes has been allocated, by Devon County Council, at least £1 million from a central government Sustainable Transport Fund. There is a press cutting on this funding on the Press Cuttings page of this website
Totnes on the Move is working in partnership with DCC on cycling infrastructure and enhancements in and around Totnes. The Littlehempston Cycle Path is included within the Cycling Project Proposal.
Our MP and County Councillors are continuing to work with Devon County Council, various cycling and transport government related bodies to make this project a reality.