Public consultation on controversial cycle way

Public consultation on controversial cycle way

MEMBERS of the public will be able to have their say on a controversial cycle way from Ashton Court to Flax Bourton.

North Somerset Council is re-opening public consultation on the route after disagreements between the local authority and Sustrans.

Planning permission for a section of the connect two route into Bristol was refused by North Somerset’s Central Area Committee and the executive member for highways, councillor Elfan Ap Rees, has met with Sustrans director, Adrian Roper, and agreed a to a new round of local public consultation on the route, to take place early in the new year.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “It is clear that the approach by Sustrans in the past to force their plans on local residents has not gone down well.

“Withdrawing from an agreement to pay for the cost of a crossing point in Nailsea, simply because local residents did not want a fully-fledged tarmacadam surface through an area of local space, and attempts by the steering group to remove North Somerset’s representative, are not the best way to secure local co-operation.

“I have asked Sustrans to reconsider both these issues and have also pointed out that maintaining tarmac cycle ways in the future is unlikely to be a North Somerset priority.”

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The new consultation will consider both the currently proposed route and alternative suggestions which may be safer and easier to maintain, as well as issues such as surfacing to ensure the best options are being selected.

Sustrans’ regional director Adrian Roper said: “I am surprised by Cllr Ap Rees’ comments. North Somerset Council, alongside Bristol City Council, approached Sustrans in 2007 with the aim of getting the Festival Way onto the Connect2 project, which was awarded �50million by the Big Lottery Fund following a public vote.

“The route was agreed by all three parties at the time, and a large section of the route is included within North Somerset’s Local Plan.

“The public vote from 2007 and the number of North Somerset residents who wrote in support of the recently refused planning application in part of Ashton Court are a reminder of how many local people want and would benefit from this route. In fact, there was only a single objection from a member of the public.

“We understand that Bristol City Council, as applicant, is considering an appeal against the planning application refusal, and we hope in time the proposed route will allow more people to make every day journeys safely on foot or by bike.”