A new cycle and walking trail between Sidbury and Sidford is now under consultation.

The consultation offers the public the chance to review the draft scheme and provide feedback through a short survey before formal planning permission is sought.

The transport consultancy WSP has been commissioned by Devon County Council to assist with the development of the trail, which would be around half a mile long.

The scheme's proposed route starts from the north side of Sidford village, traversing the western side of A375 (Two Bridges Road) and connecting to Hillside, Sidbury.

Previously, another cycle scheme had been suggested from Sidford to Sidbury along the eastern part of the A375 road.

This option was withdrawn due to various issues including construction challenges, the expected costs and concerns that its distance from the main road might reduce the perception of personal safety.

The proposed western route is expected to avoid these problems.

Sidmouth Herald: A women rides a bike in a cycle lane

The trail would start on land next to the Waste Water Treatment Plant on the east of Two Bridges Road and cross the A375 via a new Toucan controlled signal-controlled crossing and run along the western side of the A375 in a northerly direction.

It would cross Ottery Lane via a new cycle/walking pedestrian priority crossing and through the existing agricultural land, leading up to to Hillside.

Traffic Regulation Orders may also be instated near the Hillside junction to regulate car parking and enhance visibility.

The current proposals are Phase 1 of the route, and there is the potential for a future Phase 2 linking Hillside and Sidbury.

A separate housing scheme that is currently under consideration for a site near Ebdon Lane could provide a link to Phase 1, but that is dependent on the housing scheme's successful development.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highway management, said: “These plans for a multi-use trail at this location is very welcome news and is something that I have advocated for a number of years and would extend the current ‘Byes’ multi-use trail between Sidmouth and Sidford.

“It will provide walkers and cyclists, who at present have to use the busy A375, with a safe alternative route while proposals for a new toucan crossing will provide people with a safe place to cross and will slow down vehicles approaching Sidford.

“Sidbury residents will have a safe route to Sidford, Sidmouth and the Community College, and it will also encourage more people to choose active travel for short local journeys which will benefit their health and the environment.

“These proposals aren’t set in stone, and we want to hear what local people think and any suggestions before we apply for planning permission.”

An online consultation event is scheduled to be held on Monday, December 4, from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on Microsoft Teams.

Email transportplanning@devon.gov.uk to request an invite to the event.

Feedback on the proposed scheme can be provided via an online questionnaire or by sending an email to the same address.

The consultation process will take place from November 22 for six weeks and will conclude on January 5, 2024.