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We believe there should be a safe cycle route between Totnes and Newton Abbot, enabling cyclists and walkers to avoid the dangerous A381 Newton Abbot road.
The route must be accessible to all, and therefore relatively direct and flat. Excessive gradients rule out most of the proposed alternative routes. The new route must also represent value for money, solutions therefore involving a new bridge over the river Dart, are probably unlikely to be affordable at the present time.
After carefully analysing all the possible solutions over a number of years we believe that the best route by far runs along existing quiet lanes from the village of Littlehempston (north of Totnes) towards the South Devon Railway (SDR) station, crossing the Dart over the existing footbridge. This route has been backed by Sustrans and many others. Having said that, we will support any route which is accessible to families, safe, and affordable.
We understand that the SDR management have concerns about allowing shared access across the footbridge. We believe that it is vital that any solution resulting in the use of the SDR footbridge must involve adequate council-funded measures to ensure the security of the railway. The proposed cycle path would pass over 100 metres from the railway so we believe it should be possible to create sensitive and aesthetically pleasing security measures that do not negativity impact on the business.
We urge Devon County Council not to sign off their preferred indirect route for the National Cycle Network (NCN2) and bypass Totnes on a route that is unsuitable. Both South West Water and the private landowner whose land is involved in this campaign, support our proposed route in principle.
We now need the council to work with SDR to find a mutually acceptable way forwards. And we ask that SDR enter these negotiations in the spirit of compromise, particularly in recognition of the fact that approximately 50% of the funding for the bridge was provided by the public. Please SDR, support the local community and help make this project a reality.
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