Councillor says it's "dragging on"
Councillors at Devon County Council heard that despite progress being made this year on the Teign-Estuary Trail, with the opening of the section between Newton Abbot Racecourse and the Passage House Inn, there was still no progress on the section between Bishopsteignton and Teignmouth.
Cllr Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “Delivery of the route is very challenging and requires significant levels of funding to be identified. It remains a long-term aspiration for the council, but to secure the external resources of funding, support will be critical in order to deliver a project of this scale.”
However, Cllr Gordon Hook, said that he felt that the answer could have been given at any stage in the last 20 years.
He said: “I can remember back in the 90s there was ongoing progress and discussions and problems with land owners and saying that CPOs could be considered. They are a last resort as far as I am concerned, but there comes a time, and we do use them from time to time, and if we are to progress what will be a vital link in that cycle route from Exeter to Moretonhampstead and of vital significance – for the economy, for health and as a commuter route – we need to get on with this.
“This has dragged on an inexorable amount of time and there must have been, and be, large quantities of money in different amounts in Section 106 contributions or CIL money, that can be used for this objective.
“This long term problem which is causing great frustration to a large number of people could and should be resolved. The county council is being derived by my residents for its sluggishness over this section of the cycle way.
“Can we up our game and consider seriously CPOs and make this highly desirable cycleway a reality, sooner rather than later, and ideally within my lifetime so I can cycle the section from Moretonhampstead to Teignmouth and so can thousands of others. It will be of huge benefit to the economy of Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and Devon?”
Cllr Hughes said that he would ask officers to provide a written response to his question, but said that he expected it would all boil down to whether the council could find the funding for compulsory purchase orders.
Eventually when complete, there will be a cycle trail that links Moretonhampstead to Exmouth.
The Wray Valley Trail will run from Moretonhampstead to Bovey Tracey, joining with the Stover Trail to Newton Abbot, the Teign Estuary Trail up to Dawlish Warren, and then the Exe Estuary Trail to Exmouth.
He also added that the Wray Valley Trail, which will eventually run from Bovey Tracey to Moretonhampstead, should be complete by the summer of 2019.
He said: “Around 7km of the 10.5km is now complete and the majority of the remaining 3.5km is on land controlled by Devon County Council, with only two portions of land remaining outstanding.
“Planning permission is secured and design work is complete for route and work is under way to acquire the rest and to deliver the trail, and it should be done by summer 2019, which is great news.”
He added that for the section of the Teign Estuary Trail between Teignmouth and Dawlish, an expression of interest has been submitted through the Coastal Communities Fund and if successful, it will support the delivery of the trail between Dawlish and Holcombe.