Pathway to Bristol to be completed

CYCLISTS and walkers will be able to travel from Nailsea to Bristol while avoiding busy roads from this spring after the final section of a new route was approved for construction.

The Festival Way is due to be completed by mid-April following the approval of the last section in Long Ashton.

Also known as the National Cycle Network Route 33, the pathway links Nailsea to Bristol via Flax Bourton and the Long Ashton Estate, allowing walkers and cyclists to use quiet roads and traffic-free paths while also avoiding the busy A370.

Many sections of the route, which has been developed by Sustrans, a UK sustainable transport charity, along with North Somerset Council and Bristol City Council, have been in use for some time.

On Thursday North Somerset Council’s north area planning committee approved an application for a 1.3km section of agricultural land off Yanley Lane in Long Ashton to be changed to a shared cycleway and pathway.

Work on creating the 3m wide, tarmac path will now start at the end of February.

Sustrans’ South West regional director Adrian Roper said: “We hope it will be used by people commuting to Bristol and by others for leisure use.

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“It will be a massively popular route.

“People can now avoid the dangerous A370.

“Hopefully people will take up cycling as a result.”

Prior to Thursday’s meeting, calls were made for the path to also be designated as a bridleway and the North Somerset Local Access Forum objected to the plans because they did not include such a provision.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said that to have altered the application and delayed its approval would have resulted in the loss of �600,000 in funding due to the strict timescale within which it has to be used. They also confirmed upgrading the path to a bridleway will be pursued.

Sustrans said it has no objections to horse riders using the path provided other third parties raise no objections.

The Festival Way has been funded by the Local Transport Partnership and the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Sustrans has also contributed to the costs after it secured a �50million grant from the Big Lottery Fund for such projects.

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