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Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils set to agree cycling and walking plan as wishlist of 200 improvement schemes outlined



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A wishlist of nearly 200 schemes to improve walking and cycling in two Suffolk districts have been outlined in a new plan to upgrade infrastructure.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils' cabinets will next week to agree the local cycling and walking infrastructure plan (LWCIP) which outlines a series of short, medium and long-term upgrades needed to help encourage people to get out of their cars and on their bikes or walking.

It also hopes to connect villages without people needing to use their cars.

A wishlist of nearly 200 schemes to improve walking and cycling in two Suffolk districts have been outlined in a new plan to upgrade infrastructure. Stock image
A wishlist of nearly 200 schemes to improve walking and cycling in two Suffolk districts have been outlined in a new plan to upgrade infrastructure. Stock image

Among the schemes are:

  • Continuous cycle routes connecting Sudbury town centre with surrounding residential areas
  • Improved cycle route along A12 between Capel and Washbrook
  • Improved crossings at busy A1071 junctions in Hadleigh

  • Segregated cycle route through Hadleigh high street
  • Shared walking and cycle path from Acton to Long Melford
  • Cycle path along B1456 between Shotley and Chelmondiston
  • Improvements to pavements between Bramford and Ipswich

  • Safer provision for cyclists at A14 Junction 52 for Great Blakenham
  • A14 Junction 49 roundabout work to connect with existing cycle route in Stowmarket

  • Better segregation from traffic on B1113 between Bramford and Claydon, and Stowmarket and Old Newton

Schemes can contain a mix of measures, such as widening existing paths, creating new pavements or cycle paths, reduced vehicle speed limits, improved signs or new quiet lane designations.

Jessica Fleming, Conservative cabinet member for the environment and Rickinghall ward member at Mid Suffolk District Council, and Hartismere division councillor at Suffolk County Council. Picture: Mid Suffolk District Council
Jessica Fleming, Conservative cabinet member for the environment and Rickinghall ward member at Mid Suffolk District Council, and Hartismere division councillor at Suffolk County Council. Picture: Mid Suffolk District Council

Mid Suffolk District Council's Conservative cabinet member for the environment, Jessica Fleming, said: "Ensuring we can influence long-term sustainable transport plans for our communities is vitally important.

"Having this plan in place will enable us to work with Suffolk County Council to ensure active travel schemes best meet the needs of the district's residents.

"We are particularly interested in linking residents with schools and public transport and therefore reduce reliance on personal vehicles."

A public consultation last summer helped inform areas where improvements were needed.

Suffolk County Council is the highway authority, which means schemes must be delivered in conjunction with that council, but the district councils can allocate housing developer contributions on projects.

Councillor Elisabeth Malvisi, councillor for Long Melford and cabinet member for climate change, biodiversity and sustainable transport at Babergh District Council. Picture: Babergh District Council
Councillor Elisabeth Malvisi, councillor for Long Melford and cabinet member for climate change, biodiversity and sustainable transport at Babergh District Council. Picture: Babergh District Council

Babergh's Independent cabinet member for sustainable transport, climate change and biodiversity, Elisabeth Malvisi, said: "We're committed to helping make sure sustainable transport such as cycling, walking or public transport can be a more natural choice for our residents.

"Also we're keen to see an increase in the uptake of cycling and walking, with our residents and local businesses alike getting involved, to support Suffolk's countywide ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030 while improving health and wellbeing at the same time."

Both councils' cabinets are recommended to approve the plan on Monday.

Leigh Jamieson, Green group leader and South East Cosford ward councillor at Babergh District Council. Picture: Babergh District Council
Leigh Jamieson, Green group leader and South East Cosford ward councillor at Babergh District Council. Picture: Babergh District Council

Leigh Jamieson, opposition Green and Labour group leader at Babergh, said: "It's good to see this plan for cycling and walking improvements come to fruition, particularly as Green councillors at both the county and district council level championed drawing up a priority list of improvements in 2018 and 2020.

"The need for such measures is even more acute given the rocketing price of petrol and diesel and their impact on the cost-of-living which really hits people living in rural areas hard as they are more dependent on their cars.

"There is no funding at the moment for these routes and unfortunately the county council has not included rural routes connecting villages to the towns, but having the list means we will have a greater chance of winning funding bids and of extracting funding from developers."

Sarah Mansel, Green councillor for Elmswell and Woolpit at Mid Suffolk District Council. Picture: Wendy Turner
Sarah Mansel, Green councillor for Elmswell and Woolpit at Mid Suffolk District Council. Picture: Wendy Turner

Sarah Mansel from Mid Suffolk's opposition Green and Liberal Democrat group, added: "The adoption of the LCWIP is a big step in the right direction for Mid Suffolk and is the result of some excellent public consultation and engagement.

"More initiatives will be needed to encourage the modal shift to sustainable travel and the very fact that we have a LCWIP does mean that we are thinking about sustainable means of travel.”

The group has called for a regular review of routes, cautioning that a wishlist of schemes does not guarantee funding.