Call for safe cycle and walking paths in South Northamptonshire using council's government funding
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Safe paths for cyclists and pedestrians to get around South Northamptonshire should be built using recent government funding, according to a campaign group.
South Northants Active Travel Group A43 and B4525 (SNATRA43) has been set up to lobby Northamptonshire County Council over the issue and is looking for more support.
The local authority said the focus is on urban areas for the £1.35 million grants from Whitehall but hoped more money will be available in the future for rural schemes.
SNATRA43 member David Cranwell said: "The 'active travel route' would not only benefit our local environment but it would also encourage families living in South Northamptonshire to improve their own physical and mental wellbeing."
The council has been given the cash from the Department for Transport's Active Travel Fund to create short and long-term schemes to encourage walking and cycling, known as 'active travel routes'.
SNATRA43 wants one created alongside the A43 between Towcester and Brackley and next to the B4525 from Syresham to Banbury.
They argue it would reduce the current reliance on cars as more commuters could cycle or walk safely to work rather than using the busy A43 as well as helping to lessen pollution.
Mr Cranwell said: "As far as we can see, it’s tricky to get from town to town on your bike around here without taking your life in your own hands.
"Even though cyclists are allowed to use major A or B roads, mingling with fast-moving traffic and heavy trucks is not the safest way to get from Towcester to Brackley so, sadly, it’s the car or bus for us."
Council cabinet member for highways and place, Jason Smithers, said there are many factors to consider before implementing an effective travel scheme.
The width of roads, the impact on cyclists and pedestrians and making sure the funding received is used suitably, he explained.
“With this in mind, we have been working closely with the borough and district councils from the outset to understand which measures are needed to benefit all parties in many different areas," the Conservative councillor said.
“We understand there are many people across the county campaigning for cycling schemes in their particular area.
"The government’s focus in Northamptonshire this year, following the Covid-19 pandemic, has been very much on urban areas and we have had to be selective with where we allocate the funding, based on public consultation and analysis of where the measures will be most effective.
“From the consultations we have done on cycling schemes so far, we are aware of the desire in rural communities for improved facilities and we hope there will be sufficient funding available in future that can be utilised in these areas.”
Anyone interested in supporting SNATRA43 should email Mr Cranwell at [email protected].