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Funding for £8m Teign cycle route is approved

The 'decades in the making' project is finally moving forward

An £8m cycle route ‘decades in the making’ that would finally provide an accessible, safe and active travel option for people travelling between Kingsteignton and Teignmouth is finally moving forward.

Teignbridge District Council’s executive committee on Tuesday morning agreed spending £200,000 on preparing a planning application for the route, known as the Teign Estuary Trail.

The new trail, which has strong support from local communities and businesses, would help people enjoy the countryside and stay healthy, and would cost around £8m in total to deliver.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors threw their wholehearted support behind the cycle route that would mean cyclists would not have to take their life into their hands on the A381.

Cllr Gordon Hook said: “I very much welcome this. It will be fantastic and let us say hallelujah for where we are now, even if this is 20 years later than it could have been. This has merit not just a tourist trail to welcome weekend cyclists but also a commuter trail. I know people who want to travel by bike from Teignmouth to Newton Abbot, but no-one in their right mind would use the very dangerous route on the A381.”

Cllr Chris Clarance said: “The road is extremely dangerous so it will be magnificent if this finally comes to fruition,” and Cllr Martin Wrigley added: “The Exe Estuary Trail been a huge success and I see the same happening with this.”

Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Councillor for Teignmouth East Ward and Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, added: “This news will be welcomed by all our local cycling groups who have campaigned for many years to provide a safe trail along this difficult road. At last a start can be made on getting the planning process underway.”

And the council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Leisure, Cllr Philip Bullivant, added: “We know there is huge support from residents for this trail for walkers, cyclists and mobility scooters. We have listened to the large number of requests to prioritise the route, which we received during the recent Local Plan Review consultations.

“Teignbridge has an excellent track record in contributing towards important cycle projects like the Teign Estuary Trail.  Over the past seven years our partnership approach with Devon County Council has helped bring forward more than 45km of new cycleway across the district.”

Next Wednesday, on March 13, Devon County Council’s Cabinet are recommended to progress with a planning application for the section between Passage House, Bishopsteignton and the edge of Teignmouth.

Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “We welcome this support from Teignbridge District Council which will help with the costs of the preparation of a planning application. The Teign Estuary Trail has always been a key part of the County Council’s cycling strategy and we are continuing to make progress as and when funding becomes available.”

The leader of Teignbridge District Council, Cllr Jeremy Christophers, added: “We are investing £200,000 in the delivery of the project and the money has come from CIL contributions from developers to improve the safe travel of people by dedicated cycle routes. We have delivered virtually 50km of cycle routes now but this has been one that has been highly sought after, and we are excited about the prospect of what this will deliver.

“The A381 is a very dangerous road and quite often cars leave it and career off it, so why you would want to cycle on it, defeats me. Safety is a big issue around people getting on a bike as if they have to compete with cars then there is only one winner, so a safe off-road route is key.”

He added that he hoped a planning application for the route could be put forward in a matter of months.

A report to the executive by Fergus Pate, Principal Delivery Officer, added: “Devon’s Cycling and Multi Use Trail Network Strategy highlights the Teign Estuary Trail as a key missing link in Devon’s cycle network and proposes it as an important scheme for investment. Cycling charity Sustrans have also recently identified the link between Teignmouth and Kingsteignton as one of their top national priorities.

“Teignbridge’s Council Strategy calls for a cycling revolution with more dedicated cycle paths linking city, towns and countryside and a very important next step will be to connect Kingsteignton, Bishopsteignton and Teignmouth.”

The executive unanimously agreed to approve funding of a £200,000 contribution towards the preparation of a planning application for the Teign Estuary trail.

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