Longer Strawberry Line to stop cyclists risking injury on B3133?

PUBLISHED: 17:14 07 June 2018

The entrance to the Strawberry Line at Yatton.

The entrance to the Strawberry Line at Yatton.

Archant

Approximately a quarter of a million pounds in funding has been identified to extend the Strawberry Line from Yatton to Clevedon.

The trail is popular with cyclists and walkers and North Somerset Council says plans are progressing.

However, at a meeting on Monday, landowners raised fears about it – with one stating it would satisfy ‘retired pensioners on bikes’ at the expense of people who work for a living.

The Strawberry Line car-free route runs between Cheddar and Yatton Railway Station. There are hopes to extend the Somerset end to Wells and Shepton Mallett, while the council is looking into moving the North Somerset finishing point to Clevedon.

Frankie Mann, the council’s sustainable transport and road safety manager, said it is looking ‘earnestly’ at the scheme .

No route is proposed because the trail would need to go through private land – which would require negotiations with those affected. But it may use a culvert under the M5, with a ‘floating pontoon’ for cyclists and walkers to use which can be raised or lowered in accordance with the amount of water flowing through.

Landowners at the meeting raised concerns over the impact a longer Strawberry line would have on their livelihoods, with security, trespassing and livestock welfare all mentioned.

But many attendees spoke of the value of extending the trail.

Chris Boddington, who chaired the meeting for the Clevedon Environment Forum, said cyclists ‘take their lives in their own hands’ on the B3133 through Kenn between Yatton and Clevedon.

He said: “On the main road, or along Kenn Moor Road which is just as busy, the cars go past very fast.”

The council believes extending the route would aid commuters and improve people’s health.

It has been accumulating cash for the project through grants paid to offset housing developments. More than £100,000 has been accrued, with the prospect of a further £250,000 suggested in the years to come.

Additional grant funding will be necessary, and the council has not put any timeframe on the project.

Initial work would focus on a link between Yatton station and new houses at North End, with Bloor Homes building a further 720 metres of the trail.

Cllr Tom Leimdorfer, who represents Congresbury, believes the ‘problems can be overcome’.


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