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How Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Felixstowe and Beccles fit into Suffolk County Council's plans to improve cycle paths




A number of cycling routes are set to be improved across Suffolk in a bid to decrease pollution and boost fitness.

Decisions already made could pave the way for more than 100 routes being upgraded, subject to funding being agreed, in what bike shop owners hope will follow-on from a spike in lockdown sales.

Earlier this year, a cross-party taskforce identified the initial paths which could have the most immediate impact in getting people onto their bikes. The project includes plans to install pop-up cycle lanes, suspend parking, close some roads to through-traffic, and widen narrow cycle lanes.

A cycle path in West Row. More than 140 more paths could be built across Suffolk.
A cycle path in West Row. More than 140 more paths could be built across Suffolk.

The Department for Transport has put forward £337,000 towards an initial 20 schemes - some of which are still being finalised with local stakeholders after local feedback and Covid-19 associated delays. The other 128 could be financed by central government cash if the first phase proves a hit.

The county council has said the aim is to embed active travel 'as part of a long-term habit and reap the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits'.

Councillor Richard Rout, who owns a gym as well as representing Bury St Edmunds district Hardwick on Suffolk County Council, said: “During lockdown we’ve seen so many people look to get active outdoors, whether that’s through walking, running, or cycling.

Richard Rout (middle with red umbrella) joins other councillors and Sebert Wood Primary School Year 5 students for the opening of the new Public Right of Way connecting Moreton Hall to the town centre.	Picture by Mark Westley.
Richard Rout (middle with red umbrella) joins other councillors and Sebert Wood Primary School Year 5 students for the opening of the new Public Right of Way connecting Moreton Hall to the town centre. Picture by Mark Westley.

“Making that as safe and accessible as possible is a big part of what we’re trying to achieve and these schemes will doubtless see even more people move away from their cars, get some exercise, and drive down carbon emissions.”

The initial plan is to upgrade routes all over the county, including in Ipswich, Beccles and Felixstowe, but Cllr Rout said he is happy that Bury has been included (see full details below).

“These are all important routes,” he added. “The Beetons Way scheme will improve connectivity between the Mildenhall and Howard Estates and nearby leisure and retail facilities.

“The improvements around Northgate Street and Cannon Street will better link the town centre, railway station, and nearby residential areas. Living near the Risbygate Street route, I can say with some certainty that this is much needed - the cycle route currently ends abruptly at the Parkway roundabout and this important extension will see the cycle path extend right up to the retail town centre. This will create an excellent and much safer link between West Suffolk College and our retail centre.

Read next: Bury St Edmunds street closure plans on hold after concerns

“I’m excited to get out on my bike and try all the new areas, it will certainly make navigating the town so much safer and easier.”

Cllr Rout said he would love to see the path to Moreton Hall extended along Rougham Hill to the Southgate Green roundabout.

Chloe Hailstone, manager of Micks Cycles, said any improvement is a ‘positive’ for the safety of cyclists as well as being a boost for their business.

Chloe Hailstone, manager of Micks Cycles in Bury St Edmunds, has welcomed the plan	Picture by Mecha Morton
Chloe Hailstone, manager of Micks Cycles in Bury St Edmunds, has welcomed the plan Picture by Mecha Morton

“With the incredible increase in cycle purchases in lockdown, there must be more people out on the roads using their bikes. Therefore, any way to encourage people to get outside and exercise must be a positive.

“Bury is an old town with narrow and beautiful streets, which potentially makes it hard to adapt all areas to accommodate everyone fighting for limited space, but if cycle lanes are established where possible, this is bound to increase trust in town cycling and hopefully commuting on bikes.”

Routes around central Ipswich are also set to benefit from the scheme (Google Maps) (40270818)
Routes around central Ipswich are also set to benefit from the scheme (Google Maps) (40270818)

How and where Suffolk County Council is looking to make changes

NB This
is an updated list which previously included out of date information

All schemes are still subject to confirmation. The authority is still speaking to local cycling groups and councillors to aid the final plan process.

Beetons Way, Bury St Edmunds
Along this route there are two high school and three primary schools. Some cycle facilities do exist, however, these will be enhanced. The facilities will also be extended along the entire length of the road including temporary narrowing of side roads and closing some side roads to motorised vehicles to reduce conflict with walking and cycling.

Cannon Street, Bury St Edmunds

Following feedback from local residents, further work is now taking place. This scheme is on hold.

The county council had been looking close a number of motorised vehicle through routes on this residential area close to the town centre.

Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds

Cycle facilities already exist on part of this route that goes from West Suffolk College to the town centre, but there is a section, from Parkway Roundabout to St Andrews Street where no facilities exist.

Through the suspension of on street parking and reallocation of road space, the county council will be installing a temporary cycle lane to complete the route.

Bramford Lane, Ipswich

Following feedback from local residents, further work is now taking place. This scheme is on hold.

The county council was looking to install a road closure at the railway bridge.

Elm Street, Ipswich

This will mean removing the on street pay and display parking bays, making the street one-way for motorised vehicles and providing temp cycle lanes on both sides of the road.

This location links to the Portman Road scheme and provides part of a key east/west town centre cycle facility.

Portman Road (North), Ipswich

Following feedback from local residents, further work is now taking place. This scheme is on hold.

The county council was looking to close Portman Road between Crescent Road and St Matthews Primary School and between Dalton Road and Handford Road.

Princes Street, Ipswich

This is a key walking and cycling route from the railway station to the town centre. The temporary measures the council is looking to take comprise reallocation of road space to provide wider walking and cycling routes.

Rosehill area, Ipswich

Following feedback from local residents, further work is now taking place. This scheme is on hold.

The county council was looking to close a number of motorised vehicle through routes on this residential area less than one mile from the town centre.

Rushmere area, Ipswich

Closing a number of motorised vehicle through routes on the residential area, which is approximately one mile from the town centre.

This will provide safer walking and cycling routes because of the pavements in this area are less than 2m wide.

Lowestoft Road, Beccles

Some advisory facilities on road exist already. This plan is to make those sections mandatory and provide light segregation as well as looking to narrow side road entries or close them where possible. The county council will also extend the facility to link with nearby Worlingham where simple and easy interventions are possible.

High Road, Felixstowe

There are existing advisory cycle lanes on part of this road that helps to provide a link from the town centre/railway station to the east of Felixstowe and Felixstowe Ferry. The county council will upgrade these advisory lanes to mandatory and provide some light segregation, and also extend the existing facilities by a further 900m to Cliff Road.

Stowmarket

Provision of additional cycle parking in the town centre.

Sudbury

Provision of additional cycle parking in the town centre on Market Hill and other locations.

For live updates on how the county council is progressing, click here.