Delays inevitable on £4m tourist scheme
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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.
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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.
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“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.