A VILLAGE is set to benefit from a new, safer cycle route after the Transport Minister announced yesterday (Thursday, April 4) that £125,000 has been allocated to a scheme proposed by Central Bedfordshire Council.
Norman Baker announced the total £107 million Cycle Safety funding for across England in a bid to improve the design and layout of roads at 78 locations across the country, with all schemes due for completion within the next 12 months.
The council’s bid for funding in Cranfield was for a high quality, off-road cycle route connecting the village with Cranfield University and Technical Park. The council will be making a £66,000 contribution from the Local Area Transport Plan (towards the total cost of £191,000).
Councillor Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Strategic Planning and Economic Development, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news! The route has been a longstanding ambition of Central Bedfordshire Council and the Parish Council, as well as local residents and the University’s staff and students.
“At the moment cyclists travelling between the village and the University have two options for their journey, neither of which is ideal. Both routes skirt the perimeter of Cranfield Airfield and are intimidating to cyclists because of fast traffic. This route will go alongside Airport Way and will be traffic-free; offering safe, sustainable transport options to those riding for work, learning or leisure.”
“We’ll start as soon as we can to get it in place this summer and have worked hard with the University to ensure that it goes right into the centre of the campus.”
Professor Clifford Friend, Acting Vice-Chancellor at Cranfield University, said: “We are very pleased to hear that the cycle path between Cranfield Village, the University and its Technology Park will shortly begin construction.
"This has long been the ambition of the University and its local partners.
“I am very glad that by routing the path through the University Technology Park we have helped to unlock a much more ambitious cycle path than any of us ever imagined”.
Norman Baker said: “Cycling is healthy and reduces congestion so it is welcome news that more and more people are taking to 2 wheels. Ensuring this funding is targeted where improvements will make a real difference to cyclists is just one way we are ensuring this trend continues.”
Cllr Young said: “The council has an excellent track record of securing government investment in sustainable travel, and cycling in particular. This news comes on top of the recent £4.95 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund grant and the £1.5 million received from government and invested in developing Leighton-Linslade as one of the UKs 18 Cycling Towns and Cities."