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Monday 20 March 2017

Council unveils strategy to give huge boost to cycling in Cheshire East


Cheshire East Council has unveiled a strategy to double the number of people cycling in the borough.

The authority’s ambition is a ‘step change’ in the take up of cycling by residents of all ages across Cheshire East, with a vision ‘to enable more people to cycle safely, more often and with confidence for everyday and leisure journeys’.

The new cycling strategy provides a framework which will shape council policy and inform the planning and design of the borough’s streets, communities and green spaces.

The plan will deliver a cycle-friendly network of key routes connecting people and places. This network will link with local routes to connect residents and visitors to jobs, skills, schools services and leisure opportunities.

The council will work with partners and local cycling groups to deliver the cycling strategy over the next 10 years. Cheshire East aims to double the number of local people cycling at least once a week by 2025*.

Speaking after the cycling strategy was formally backed by cabinet today, Councillor David Brown, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is fantastic news. In adopting this strategy there is a real opportunity to capitalise on increased public awareness and interest in cycling following Cheshire East’s hugely successful hosting of stage three of the Tour of Britain last September.

“The council’s cycling strategy demonstrates how we intend to deliver a high-quality cycle network so that people of all abilities will be able to travel safely around the borough by bike – and help put cycling on the map in Cheshire East.

“Cycling has so many well-recognised benefits – not just for individuals’ health, wellbeing and pockets, but also our wider communities, environment and businesses.

“It will also help the council achieve its wider ambitions, set out in our corporate plan, by making Cheshire East a green and sustainable place, enabling people to live well and for longer and helping ensure Cheshire East has a strong and resilient economy.

“I would like to thank our local cycling groups and residents who responded to our online survey for their enthusiasm and assistance in the development of this document – whose aims have won the support of a thumping 89 per cent of all respondents.

“The message is clear: by cycling regularly you’ll be healthier, happier and wealthier – and it’s great for businesses, the visitor economy and the environment too.”

To deliver the cycling strategy, funding will be needed from a wide range of sources. Current funding streams accessed to improve the cycle network across the borough in 2017/18 onwards include:

Share of £5m allocated to Cheshire and Warrington LEP by the Local Growth Fund to improve cycle routes which link key housing and employment and development sites; 

£500,000 Local Growth Fund match funding by Cheshire East Council;

£612,445 secured from the Department of Transport to fund Bikeability cycle training for children;

● Commitment from Network Rail to construct cycle facilities alongside the proposed rail replacement bridge on the A530 at Leighton, Crewe;

● Developer funding as part of planning consent agreements.

The cabinet decision means the cycling strategy document will become part of the council’s transport strategy framework.

The cabinet further underlined its commitment to cycling by supporting a motion put before council by Cllr Sam Corcoran, and seconded by Cllr Howard Murray, which said:

‘This Council supports the Space for Cycling process promoted by Cycling UK and commits to providing the funding to implement its cycle policy effectively’.

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