New cycling and walking schemes planned for Barnstaple

Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A series of measures to promote cycling and walking in and around Barnstaple are set to be introduced.

Devon County Council will receive £1.3 million of the Department for Transport’s active travel fund to progress schemes in Barnstaple, Newton Abbot and Exeter.

The funding is awarded to councils to create safe space for walking and cycling.

Proposals for Barnstaple include a shared crossing facility on Station Road to link Barnstaple Railway Station and the town centre, and improvements to the segregated shared cycle path on North Road linking the town centre to the hospital.

A segregated shared cycle path will also link the Tarka Trail to Anchorwood, according to Devon County Council’s submission.

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Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “Clearly we welcome this additional funding, although we will need to look closely at the small print.

“We’re keen to encourage active travel in order to help tackle congestion, cut carbon emissions, and improve health.

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“We will be working with local communities across Devon to ensure this funding is used to make it easier for people to walk and cycle.”

The funding will have to be spent or committed by March 2021.

Devon introduced a series of ‘pop-up’ measures across the county earlier this year, including in Barnstaple and Bideford, with initial funding of £338,000 from the Emergency Active Travel Fund.

The first wave of measures included proposals to temporarily close Barnstaple Longbridge.Devon County Council, with the support of North Devon Council and North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, had intended to temporarily close the bridge to all motor vehicles except buses and emergency vehicles.

The proposals were met with fury by local residents, who feared the three-month closure would see the town swamped with traffic congestion.

The objections prompted a U-turn from the county and district councils, which opted not to go ahead with the plans.

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