Sid Valley cycle routes will cost millions and could be years in the making

Stuart Hughes. Ref shs 22 18TI 4992. Picture: Terry Ife

Stuart Hughes. Ref shs 22 18TI 4992. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

‘Money and enthusiasm’ is needed to get a Sidmouth-to-Feniton bike path project off the ground.

Those were the words of town Councillor Denise Bickley at the latest Sidmouth Town Council meeting on Monday, September 2.

Cllr Stuart Hughes, who represents highways at Devon County Council (DCC), assured the chamber that both the Sidmouth-to-Feniton multi-use trail and the Sidford-to-Sidbury cycleway were included in DCC's cycling strategy.

He said: "This is a very protracted, long, drawn-out procedure. If you take the Exe Trail, that took 15 years to complete."

A ballpark figure to complete the Sidmouth-Feniton trail route would be in the region of £10million with a further £5million needed to build a bridge and redesign a junction.

Cllr Hughes said, now the Sidford business park application had been given the go-ahead, the county council's first priority is to get moving with the Sidford-to-Sidbury scheme and a planning application is almost ready to be submitted as soon as land negotiations have been finalised.

He said the scheme would take precedence over the Sidmouth-to-Feniton trial where there have been starts made at either end of the route.

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"One of the biggest issues was crossing the A3052 and we would be looking at a new bridge," Cllr Hughes said.

He said there had been issues with how getting the route across the A3052 could have been resolved with a new bridge, which would have come as part of a Sidmouth Park and Change/Ride development.

Persimmon Homes has agreed to build it all if permission for a development on land between Higher Woolbrook Park and Greenway Lane was granted.

But, the site had not been included in the local plan or the neighbourhood plan.

Cllr Hughes said a redesign of the multi-traffic light junction at Bowd would work but would cost millions of pounds.

"There are also land negotiations that would need to take place, which could eventually end up with compulsory purchase and a planning application to be drawn up," he said.

"If I had to make a choice of where efforts to raise money should go then I would clearly give this council a steer to help raise the £1.5m shortfall for the Beach Management Plan Scheme."