New Cycling and Walking Strategy unveiled
Ashford Borough Council has approved the initial stages of a new Cycling and Walking Strategy for the borough to span the next ten years. After a draft document was approved at a Cabinet meeting last night (Thursday 14 March), the Strategy will now go out to public consultation.
The council’s Cycling Strategy was first approved in 2010, but has now been revised and reviewed to incorporate walking into a joint initiative which supports benefits in health, transport and the economy.
This new Cycling and Walking Strategy will be a key part of the wider aim of improving overall sustainable transport within the borough, particularly where accessibility to the town centre is concerned.
The Cycling and Walking Strategy 2019 – 2029 has six main aims:
- To provide and improve the cycling and walking network
- To increase cycle parking around the borough
- Maintaining the existing cycling and walking network
- Focusing on safer cycling
- Promoting cycling and walking in the borough
- Increasing opportunities for cycling and walking tourism
Ashford already has an excellent network of well-used cycling routes in place in the urban area, and this incorporates parts of the national cycling network that pass through the borough.
However, this new strategy will bring together polices and related actions with the aim of increasing the proportion of journeys made by these active travel modes. In addition to the provision of new or improved cycling and walking infrastructure, the Strategy acknowledges the need for better utilisation of all existing cycling and walking infrastructure in the Ashford urban area.
The Strategy also seeks to increase cycling and walking participation by promoting safer cycling, active promotion of cycling and walking and the support for cycling and walking based tourism.
Consultation with community groups, parish councils and local interest groups will now take place, before the Cycling and Walking Strategy can be formally adopted.
Of the initiative, Cllr Mike Bennett, Portfolio Holder for Culture, said: “These are an excellent set of initiatives which develop real progress towards our aspirations to make Ashford a ‘cycle town’ by improving the existing network of routes and developing new ones. I fully support this active travel strategy.”
Cllr Paul Clokie, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Development, added: “This strategy should enable the council to increase not only the number of cycle routes but also routes which have a high regard for cyclist safety.”