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Delays inevitable on £4m tourist scheme

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 June 2014

Archant

RESIDENTS will have to wait ‘decades’ for a tourist-attracting £4 million cycle and walking route from Sidmouth to Feniton – but hope has been expressed that smaller sections can be delivered far sooner.

Negotiating with at least 28 private landowners and a bridge over the A3052 at Bowd are issues that will treble the cost of the long-awaited project. Sustainable transport charity Sutrans has carried out a feasibility study into the concept.

Devon and Torbay area manager Paul Hawkins told Sidmouth Town Council on Monday that the 10-mile route, which would also take in Ottery St Mary and Tipton St John, would require an outlay of £1.4million.

However, Mr Hawkins added that figure excluded land acquisition – which would ‘double’ the cost.

Mr Hawkins added that a crossing of the A3052 was ‘not simple’ and a bridge would need as much as another £1.5million of investment.

He added that the link, which would have a range of health benefits, could also bring £300,000 to £600,000 a year to the local economy.

“These things don’t happen overnight,” said Mr Hawkins.

“You are talking decades rather than years,” he said of the complete route from Sidmouth to Fention, adding: “There are sections that could potentially happen quite quickly.”

Groups in both Sidmouth and Fention are keen to see work begin on sections from their towns.

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