Dream vision of safe pathways through Sid Valley to avoid ‘dangerous’ roads

PUBLISHED: 19:29 22 May 2016 | UPDATED: 09:02 23 May 2016

Steering group member Claire Russell is hoping the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan can influence introduction of more shared pathways

Steering group member Claire Russell is hoping the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan can influence introduction of more shared pathways

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Cyclist Claire believes Neighbourhood Plan will make a difference to community

Steering group member Claire Russell is hoping the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan can influence introduction of more shared pathwaysSteering group member Claire Russell is hoping the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan can influence introduction of more shared pathways

A dream of shared, safe pathways linking the whole Sid Valley is the motivation for a committed cyclist who feels the whole community would greatly benefit.

Claire Russell, of Lymebourne Park, says a recent near-miss on Sidmouth’s ‘dangerous’ roads was the final push she needed to join the Neighbourhood Plan steering group in the hope of making a difference.

The £46,000 project is now well under way and - once adopted - will form a blueprint for future planning decisions across Sidmouth, Sidford, Sidbury and Salcombe Regis.

Claire, a health care assistant for the Sid Valley Practice, explained her main passion is in the development of safe pathways to enable cyclists, walkers, youngsters and people in mobility scooters to get out and interact with each other.

The 53-year-old mum-of-three said: “I’m a very keen cyclist and want to see more people cycle or walk to commute in the area, without resorting to the car if they can.

“I think it’s good for people’s personal fitness and the environment, but also for social inclusion, because you meet people when you are out and about.

“My dream is that Sidmouth, Sidford, Sidbury and Salcombe Regis are all linked safely with shared paths. In Sidmouth, we have the most wonderful example in the Byes.

“I find it dreadful cycling to work at the moment. The day I decided to go to the meeting about the plan was the day I was nearly killed on Woolbrook Road.

“That was what spurred me to get involved because the roads around here are so dangerous for cyclists. There is nowhere to go to save yourself, the roads are narrow and some motorists drive far too fast. We need to get cyclists of all ages to feel safe.

“The other thing about shared paths is tourists staying on camp sites could cycle down and it would bring so many more people into the town.

“In terms of people’s well-being, fitness and community cohesion, it’s the most wonderful gift we can give the community. We all adjust our lives to the danger of traffic, so when we are free of it, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Claire says she cannot wait to get out and take part in the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan road shows and talk to members of the community about their concerns and aspirations.

The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is looking for volunteers to assist with upcoming road shows.

Confirmed dates are as follows:

● Tuesday, June 8: St Teresa’s Hall, Connaught Road. 4.15pm - 8pm.

● Tuesday, June 14: Stowford Community Centre. 4pm - 8pm.

● Monday, June 20: Sidford Social Hall. 5pm - 8pm.

● Wednesday, June 22: Sidbury Village Hall. 3pm - 8pm.

Thursday, July 7: St Mary and St Peter’s Church, Salcombe Regis. 4pm to 7pm.

Anyone able to lend a hand can email Deirdre Hounsom: d.hounsom@hotmail.com.

Updates and further information are available in the Herald, on notice boards and at www.sidmouth.gov.uk

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