Draft plan published for proposed new walking and cycling routes
People could soon get the chance to share their thoughts about an ambitious proposed network of new and upgraded walking and cycling routes across Shropshire.
If Shropshire Council’s Cabinet agrees at its meeting on Wednesday 8 March 2023, a six-week consultation into Shropshire’s draft first Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) will be carried out.
An LCWIP sets out a 10-year plan for delivering new or improved infrastructure for walking and cycling. Work to develop Shropshire’s LCWIP began in October 2021 and was carried out by City Science Incorporation.
In line with national guidance it focuses on areas where there is a larger density of population and therefore the greatest propensity to increase levels of cycling and walking. As a result, the draft LCWIP focuses on seven key market towns – Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Market Drayton, Church Stretton, Ludlow and Whitchurch.
Proposals within the draft plan include new cycling and walking routes, crossings and bridges.
The draft Shropshire LCWIP is made up of the main report and seven appendices, which include maps for each area and prioritisation matrices.
Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said:
“The development of the first draft Shropshire LCWIP, in line with Government guidance, establishes the strategic approach to identifying and delivering a high-quality network of cycling routes and walking measures across Shropshire, with a focus on the seven key market towns.
“LCWIPs are increasingly being seen as a key requirement to access Department for Transport funding, so this new plan will strengthen our case for future Government funding for cycling and walking.
“We really will need people to share their views and tell us what they think about our draft LCWIP. Public feedback, particularly about the proposed routes and interventions for each area, will help ensure the network accurately responds to demand from local communities.”
The delivery of the plan is dependent on the council’s ability to seek and secure funding to both develop and deliver future schemes. Once funding is secured for specific schemes these will then be subject to local consultation with councillors and the public before progressing to implementation.
The LCWIP will need to be reviewed and updated approximately every four to five years to reflect progress made with implementation. It will also be updated if there are significant changes in local circumstances, such as the publication of new policies or strategies, major new development sites, or new sources of funding.
If the recommendation for the draft LCWIP to go for consultation is approved, consultation will run for a six-week period in spring 2023. Following the consultation an updated LCWIP would be presented to Cabinet.
The proposed consultation approach includes an online survey, a school-focused online survey; seven ‘roadshow’ style consultation events, one each within the seven market towns; three online public presentations and Q&A virtual meetings covering Shrewsbury, north Shropshire north and south Shropshire; and information sessions for teachers and pupils at up to four local schools.
The approach used to develop the cycling and walking networks involved building an understanding of accessibility by walking or cycling to both existing and planned key destinations, including residential areas, employment areas, schools and colleges and leisure and recreation areas.
The key cycle routes within each of the geographical areas were identified through an evidence-based approach which included analysis of 2011 census data alongside other data sources (including Strava) to identify and map out travel to work journeys of up to 10km.
In terms of walking trips, the work to determine the priority network focused on routes to and from key walking trip generators (within a 2km radius) such as town centres, employment areas, bus and railway stations and schools within each area.
Walking and cycling routes, as well as existing barriers to walking and cycling, were also informed and validated by key internal and external stakeholders throughout the different stages of development. Stakeholders included national organisations such as Highways England, Sustrans and the Canal & Rivers Trust, local town councils and parish councils, as well as local cycling, walking and access groups, and local schools.
The proposed cycling and walking networks indicated in the plan outline the potential alignment of a route and the interventions at an early feasibility stage, and should not be considered as detailed proposals.