Devon county Councillor Paula Black, who has worked tirelessly campaigning for this project over the years, questioned DCC’s executive over progress on the cycle path at last December’s meeting. The response from the elected head of transport, Councillor Hughes, follows.
“The preferred alignment for the NCN2 cycle route from Newton Abbot to Totnes has yet to be agreed, but currently an on-road route is being considered via Denbury, Broadhempston and Staverton, connecting with the existing mainly traffic-free shared use cycle path from Totnes to Huxham’s Cross.
It is understood that locally there is a desire for a predominantly off-road section via Littlehempston as an alternative option to the Huxham’s Cross route. Whilst no funding has currently been identified for a possible link from Totnes to Littlehempston, this route was identified as an aspiration in the ‘Potential Future Capital Programme 2015 to 2017’ list of cycling infrastructure schemes approved by Cabinet on 11 July 2012. Detailed feasibility work is being undertaken, as resources permit, to understand the implications of local aspirations.”
Our thoughts on the councillor’s response….
In addition to involving a dangerous crossing over the A384 at Huxham’s cross, on the brow of a hill, the Staverton route is far hillier than the route over the footbridge. It also represents a significant detour for those travelling from most of the northern villages (Ipplepen, Broadhempston, Denbury etc). For these reasons it is currently virtually unused by cyclists now. It seems a bit silly to us to say that designating the route as NCN2 will change this usage pattern? So why is this route even being “considered”? Remember funding for the preferred route over the footbridge is available – DCC just need to act.
The other issue about taking NCN2 via Staverton is that it would then run directly to South Brent, thus completely bypassing Totnes – not great for tourism / accessibility / business.
As for the “detailed feasibility work”, DCC have been telling us that this it’s underway since May last year, but they never seem to have any developments to report.