The campaign continues

Here’s the update for 2016.

A good proportion of our time last was spent writing a detailed report on this long running campaign. Copies of the report have gone to Dr Sarah Wollaston, Senior members of Devon County Council, Sustrans and the national cycling charity, CTC. Once all interested parties have digested the report, it will be made available to the public.

The report highlights some key points: –

  • That there is significant support for this campaign from both the local and wider community. Almost 3,000 have signed the petition, plus over 1,000 have followed the campaign on Facebook.
  • All the heads of all twelve local schools have written to confirm their support for the campaign and the preferred route.
  • Local district & town councils have all written to confirm their support for the campaign and the preferred route.
  • The missing link in the National Cycle Network – NCN2 urgently needs completing, and it would be loss to the community of Totnes should it bypass the town.
  • Devon County Council (DCC) would prefer to sign off a route for NCN2 that goes via Staverton and Huxhams cross. This route is steep and crosses another dangerous main road (A364), plus it completely bypasses Totnes. We think the council are starting to appreciate that, what might be an easy solution for them, would not benefit the community and be little used.
  • The river dart footbridge was built using 50% public funds and has official bridle-way status, which includes bike traffic.
  • Southwest Water no longer have an objection in principle to the cycle path crossing their land, (on the Littlehempston side of the river Dart footbridge) This is providing safe provision can be made for sewerage and water services. Understandably they would also want to ensure the route is safe for cyclists navigating the route, along with the low level of Southwest Water vehicular traffic.
  • The private landowner in Littlehempston village also does not object to the proposal, providing the road safety issue mentioned above can be satisfied.
  • In our negotiations, DCC have also now recognised that the preferred route across the Dart footbridge is the most suitable choice.
  • DCC have also stated that they will support our campaign once all relevant parties are in agreement. Following our discussions, only one party now remains against this campaign, the South Devon Railway.
  • We await the response from DCC, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP and other stakeholders, following the release of the recent report.

 

 

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Nearly half way to our target of 6000

“An excellent example of the type of tourism development which encourages walking, cycling and the use of public transport”

These were the words used in 1993 to accompany the opening of the green footbridge over river Dart, linking Totnes to Littlehempston Station. Since then, cyclists have been prevented from using the bridge by South Devon Railway. Support our campaign to allow the community to share this wonderful resource.

Please remember that comments are useful when you sign the petition, it helps us demonstrate to other bodies and groups that we work with, how much the community would benefit from this proposed cycle path.

Thanks again

Nick, South Devon Cycle Link

 

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The Cycle Path Petition, it still needs your help!

If you haven’t done this already, please contact all your nearest and dearest and even those less near and dear, and ask them to SIGN THE PETITION!

Either follow that link, or just tell them to visit the site and aim for the big orange button.

Cheers,

The South Devon Cycle Link

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Latest cycle path news

Dear Supporters

It’s been some time, but negotiations are still continuing with Devon County Council and landowners in a bid to remove the blockages to the development of the proposed Littlehempston to Totnes cycle path route.

In the meantime, you may be interested to hear that Devon County Council have recently taken firm action to progress a similar project elsewhere in the county.  DCC have given the go ahead to extend National Route 2 of the National Cycle Network from Dawlish out to Teignmouth, involving the construction of 2.5 miles of cycle path and the application of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) at an estimated cost of £2.2 million. This is an example of what Devon County Council can achieve if they put their mind to it.  Details are available HERE.

NCN2 is a long distance cycle route which, when complete, will link Dover in Kent with St. Austell in Cornwall via the south coast of England.  It is also known as the South Coast Cycle Route. 359 miles of NCN2 are currently in operation, but there remains a large gap between Dawlish and Plymouth.  The quicker this gap is filled, the better for local people in terms of health, access, recreation, and earnings from tourism.

We remain committed to the campaign to complete our local section of the route: it is the lack of a viable safe route between Littlehempston and Totnes that has blocked NCN2 from connecting up Ivybridge and Newton Abbot.  You may remember that DCC have already established that their route option 3 from Littlehempston to Totnes (sharing the steam railway’s footbridge) would cost £0.3 million – around a 7th of the price of the Dawlish to Teignmouth project.  And we remain hopeful that a CPO will be unnecessary if land owners are provided with the security they need and persuaded to support the community and back the project.  With local businesses still suffering the effects of the recession, this project could deliver a real boost to the area, providing extra pull for tourists to visit and spend – not to mention the benefits to locals living in and around Totnes, and in the villages up to Newton Abbot.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Further updates will follow once negotiations are concluded with key parties.

South Devon Cycle Link

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Things are still going on.

Things may appear a little quiet, but please be assured that there has been no let-up in  our campaign. Detailed discussions with the various interested parties are ongoing and are being led by our Non-Executive Chair James Furse. The nature of the discussions is such that it would be premature to feedback now, but a report on their outcome will follow soon. James is a resident of Totnes and a long term supporter of the campaign.

Thanks

South Devon Cycle Link

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Paignton Velodrome and closed-road circuit

If you’d like to see a velodrome and closed road cycling circuit built in the South Hams, please go to the link below and fill in the survey.

The more participants, the better. So click the link and make it happen!

THE SURVEY

 

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County Councillors back the cyclepath!

It is great to see that the collection of County Councillors showing their support for the proposed cyclepath Route 3 is increasing on a weekly basis. Please have a look at the ‘Support So Far’ page to see who’s already signed up.

If your local Councillor hasn’t yet signed up, please get in contact with them via this link and click on their name to get their email details. You can send them an email to direct them to http://www.littlehempstoncyclepath.co.uk/ and tell them that many of their fellow Councillors are already behind us!

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Cycle to the Tally Ho, and drink in your own pub!

As campaigners for the Littlehempston to Totnes cycle and foot path, we think you might be interested in a campaign by Littlehempston villagers to buy their pub for the community.  They have set up a co-operative to buy the Grade 2 listed building and are looking to raise £350,000 by way of a share issue to ensure its future for generations to come.  It is hoped that support will come from both local people and those further afield, and who knows, it could be the first watering hole when we succeed with our cycle path!

The Tally Ho is on the route of the proposed cycle path that would link Totnes to several villages to the north but it will also make it easy and pleasant to travel a couple of miles out of Totnes on foot or cycle to a re-opened Tally Ho.  So the team behind the campaign to buy and re-open the Tally Ho are also firmly behind the cycle path campaign as it can only help to make the Tally Ho an even more viable proposition.

The share offer launched on May 1st  2013.  Central government is backing co-operative schemes like this and a big attraction is that under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), purchasers of shares should get 30% of their money back from the Inland Revenue.  There will be a meeting in Littlehempston Church on Tues 11th June 2013 to explain the share issue to potential visitors and outline future plans for those who have already bought their  shares.  Do come along.

Much more information, including how to apply for shares in Littlehempston Community Pub Ltd., is available on www.tallyhoinn.co.uk or from Mike Thomas on 01803 865058.

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Letter of support for the campaign from the Leatside Surgery, Totnes

We are very pleased to say that Janine Payne, the Strategic Business Manager for the Leatside Surgery in Totnes, has added the voice of the surgery to the ever growing list of supporters for the proposed cycle path.

The range of voices willing to voice their support directly to DCC is fantastic, now we just hope they listen. See the letter here.

We have also had further confirmation from Sustrans that money really isn’t the issue, as they will be able to fund the project. Let’s make this happen.

Please send anyone you know who hasn’t signed the petition to the site and help make the path a reality.

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Berry Pomeroy School add their voice to the campaign

Please follow the link below to the letter of support recently sent to Cllr John Hart, from Berry Pomeroy School.

A great letter, concisely summing up the key points and what the proposed path would mean to all those in the area who don’t have, or can’t use a car.

Berry Pomeroy Letter

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Overwhelming support from local schools for the foot and cycle-path

The campaign has been boosted by the amazingly positive reaction, of every local school who has been contacted about the cyclepath campaign.

Without exception, the schools and colleges that we have contacted have all given their unequivocal backing for Route 3 and contacted Councillor John Hart, Head of Devon County Council (DCC) to ask him to get DCC to use their influence to drive this project forward.

DCCs current excuse of “no funding identified”, is no longer valid, with Sustrans supporting the scheme and willing to fund the surveys and development, so it’s time that DCC recoginised that this is a matter of political will, rather than political bills.

Please visit the Support So Far page, to view the letters from the schools and colleges of the South Hams and have a look at who else is backing the cyclepath scheme.

Also, if you haven’t already, sign the petition!

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Great news for cycling in the South West, with Velodrome decision

Below is a link to a news item confirming Torbay Councils decision to fund a new velodrome, at Clennon Valley, near Paignton.

The council have agreed to fund half the projects, to the sum of £780,000, with British Cycling match-funding this figure.

This is a brilliant piece of news for a region who have produced some great cyclists, but have always fallen behind when it comes to funding sports projects.

With projects like this, and the Plymouth Life Centre, the region is starting to get the development of sporting facilities that it has long deserved.

Well done Torbay Council!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-22539201

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Totnes and River Dart Valley cycle map from www.cycledevon.info

The link below is to a PDF leaflet published by Devon County Council for their ‘Cycle Devon’ website.

Totnes and River Dart Valley cycling leaflet and map PDF

The leaflet shows two off-road routes coming in and out of Totnes, running North-West and South-East, to the south of the River Dart.

It is interesting to note how there are no traffic-free routes running towards the main tourist destination of Torbay (North-East), or to the South-West towards Harberton, Harbertonford and on to places such as Blackpool Sands, Slapton and Kingsbridge.

Of particular relevance to the campaign to open up the foot and cycle-path route between Totnes and Littlehempston, is the clear barrier that the River currently presents to those without motorised transport. Using the footbridge that was half-funded with public money and is only currently used to access two tourist sites on the North side of the River, would be the perfect way to change this.

Devon County Council (DCC), are still saying they would like to take cyclists from Totnes, out to Huxhams Cross, round to Staverton and then back down to Littlehempston (and vice versa), a very long and protracted route, completely unsuitable to anyone but the most keen and able cyclist and in no way catering for families, children, the elderly or those with disabilities.

There is another way! Sustrans have already promised money to support the building of the simple and direct path that we are campaigning for (Route 3) and we just need DCC to use there influence to push the project through.

To help get this path made, please sign the petition (there is an orange link button at the top right of this page), and pass it on to everyone you know. In addition, if you have the time to send an email of support for Route 3 to Councilor John Hart, leader of DCC, that would be great john.hart@devon.gov.uk.

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Saving The Tally Ho Inn and the benefits the path would bring

The campaign to save the Tally Ho Inn in Littlehempston is well under way, with a dedicated group from the village and surrounding area rallying the troops to the cause. The group has formed ‘Littlehempston Community Pub Ltd’ (LCPL), a not-for-profit Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community.

Currently LCPL are raising funds for the project, by selling shares in the pub, so here is your chance to not just help save a local pub, but to become a share holder as well and have a voice in its future.

Another way to have a voice in the future of local businesses such as the Tally Ho, is to spread the word about the Littlehempston to Totnes foot and cycle-path and help get the path made.

Such paths play a huge role in helping small communities to re-invigorate their economies, giving safe and simple access to large populations from the surrounding towns (Totnes in this case), without the need for cars and the parking space they then demand. Communities further benefit from the increased ability for people to live outside population centres and travel safely into the towns they work, increasing rental and sale opportunities for everyone. Alongside these are opportunities for new businesses to grow and develop, based on improved tourist access from surrounding towns.

We need to get our elected representatives to support all of the people who are trying so hard to reinvigorate and boost the economies, so please visit the Tally Ho website and spread the word about this campaign and also the cycle-path campaign.

 

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Newly elected Councillors pledge support for the path

For those who haven’t seen them yet, below is a link to the Devon County Council Results for the 2013 elections.

Election Results

We are really pleased that the two candidates who were elected – Robert Vint (Green Party, Totnes Rural) and Rosemary Rowe (Conservatives, South Brent and Dartington) –  support the Littlehempston to Totnes foot and cycle-path campaign.

We will be speaking to the candidates in the coming weeks to discuss how they will take the path forward and hopefully with the added support of Gordon Hook (Liberal Democrats, Newton Abbot South) and Alistair Dewhirst (Liberal Democrats, Teignbridge South), we can get a team of Councillors behind the scheme.

Maybe this will finally convince Devon County Council to put their considerable weight behind this and push the project through, making use of the money already pledged by Sustrans.

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Council Elections on May 2nd 2013 – The Candidates’ Views

We have asked candidates standing in the Devon County Council elections on May 2nd 2013 for their views on the foot and cycle path proposal.

We have approached candidates in divisions within the locality Totnes (rather than the whole county).  These include:

  • South Hams: South Brent & Dartington Electoral Division and Totnes Rural
  • Teignbridge:  Newton Abbot (N and S), Teignbridge S, Ashburton & Buckfastleigh.

Many thanks to all the candidates who have contributed so far.  We will continue to update this post as and when comments come in.

It is very encouraging to see the growing list of strong support for the project, and we look forward to working with the successful candidates after the 2nd May, and finally seeing some real progress on this much needed cycle and foot path.

Below are the comments:

Totnes Rural

Robert Vint – Green Party

This cycle route is essential and will benefit residents, the environment and the local economy. Working together we can design a path that will also meet the needs of walkers and local landowners.

Carole Whitty – Labour

The many arguments for opening the Totnes-Littlehempston cycle path have been well made; I am supportive of the project and would certainly like to see it happen for many reasons, especially for its positive contribution to providing new routes to schools.

As a close follower of the process thus far and the issues raised, I would suggest that the election of the new County Councillor could prove to be a useful catalyst. It provides an opportunity to review action and progress so far, bring all parties together and facilitate a reasoned way forward. There are still certain barriers to be overcome, perhaps peace to be made in some areas. If elected, I would want to use my fresh voice and perspective immediately to establish a round table meeting for all parties. The intention would be to work collaboratively to set out a plan and timetable for resolution.

Andrew Bridgwater – Liberal Democrat

First of all I am, in principle, in favour of developing cycle paths to help and support cyclists and pedestrians such as your proposal.

However having contacted South Devon Railway and the Rare Breeds Centre in Totnes I am aware of both organisations’ serious security concerns which would result from leaving the South Devon Railway’s security gate permanently open to enable 24 hour access to your proposed cycle route.

I am also aware that Devon County Council is currently looking at alternative route options with full costings. I also understand that there is some capital budgeting available within 2015/7.

Therefore if elected I will ensure that this work progresses without delay so that a solution acceptable to all can be found and implemented.

Colin Hair – Conservative

Cycling is a great recreation, with benefits for health and the environment. If elected to Devon County Council I will support the provision of a cycle network around the county, including the Totnes to Littlehempston route.

South Brent & Dartington

Jacqi Hodgson – Green Party

Election time is a great opportunity to highlight issues that can get buried under arguments; as a keen cyclist I fully understand that we need to make this vital link happen if we are to encourage people out of their cars, bring more tourism to our villages and promote safe cycling for children.

Tony Whitty – Labour

I am in support of the project to create a cycleway between Totnes and Littlehempston. As a member of the Totnes on the Move Board, I am up to speed with the progress of the project and I fully supported the need for a security assessment. if I am elected next week you can be assured that I would work with all the necessary parties to expedite a successful outcome for all concerned.

Rosemary Rowe – Conservative

I fully support the local campaign to achieve the Littlehempston /Totnes route for the cycle path. It would open up a safe route for all to enjoy cycling in this beautiful area of South Devon.

If elected as your County councillor I will carry on the work which Cllr. Pennington has been doing to make this come to fruition.

Ray Harrington – UKIP

Yes of course I support the proposed path, and I have done for many a year.

Indeed, I joined your very first awareness ride in June 2009 from The Tally Ho Inn to the Plains. And I joined your last ride in September 2011 from the Pig&Whistle to the Sports Ground with our MP Sarah Wollaston. Not forgetting the August 2010 event where we all, and Sarah Wollaston, briefly occupied the steam railway pedestrian bridge.

Most Wednesdays (although not in the recent bad weather) I cycle with the Totnes Cycle Club, formally led by Julian Burns, and we often head up the A381 from the Plains to Littlehempston, so I can tell you first hand what an incredible dangerous road that is for cyclists.

As far as the proposed path is concerned, most of the track is already there. I know because I have cycled along it. Your campaign has demonstrated that there is a demand for it both locally and as part of the National Network, so yes you can count on my support.

And at the personal level, these last few years I have participated in the fund raising charity cycle rides across Northern India and VietNam to Cambodia.

Newton Abbot – South

Gordon Hook – Liberal Democrats

As one of the original signatories of the petition in the very early days I am happy to give my unequivocal, even passionate support for what you are trying to
achieve. I will support with the utmost vigour. No ifs no buts. As one who has cycled many of the cycleways of Devon and Cornwall I very much look forward to adding
Totnes/Newton to the list. Every good wish.

Newton Abbot – North

Jackie Brodie – Liberal Democrats

I am a candidate in the County Council election standing for Newton Abbot North in the County Elections. I have lived in Newton Abbot for the last 25 years, but was born and brought up in Totnes, at Hillbrook Rd. I was then and am still a very keen cyclist. Even back in my childhood, (a long time ago now!) I remember talk of a possible route to Littlehempston, that would negate the need for the horrible main road ride up the hill past what was I think called the Chateau BelleVue Hotel (is that right, my memory may have faded). The rest of the route to Newton Abbot can be done in minor lanes but this is a key section that is missing. I very much support the campaign for this route, I know it has been an ongoing campaign and would like to get involved and would be keen to know what the hurdles are that need overcoming.

Teignbridge South

Keith Clements – Green Party

As the Green Party candidateTeignbridge South, I am writing to give my 100% support for the Totnes – Littlehempston cycle/pedestrian path.
I will be keen to work with councillors, of any political hue, who support this and keep pushing for this model to become a reality in our area.

In fact I would go further. As a county councillor, as well as a keen cyclist, I will be pushing for a cycle/pedestrian path from Newton Abbot, via Littlehempston to Totnes and thereafter onwards to Dartmouth.
I am very keen to see Devon emulate the highly popular, well used and vandal free Camel Trail in Cornwall.

Running from a market town, 17 miles inland (Bodmin) alongside a steam railway part of the way, the Camel Trail goes via a quirky, small town (Wadebridge) 7 miles up a tidal river and ends at an estuary port (Padstow). This trail not only attracts small businesses to invest and open up along it’s length, adds over £3 million to the local economy, gives 34 full time, year round jobs to local people, but also is used year round by local schoolchildren and workers, commuting to school and work.

Alistair Dewhirst – Liberal Democrats

I fully support any safe cycle path and will continue to work with all Parish Councils and any other body to achieve a safe cycle path from Newton Abbot to Totnes via the villages.

Jacqueline Stewart – Labour Party

I am committed to increasing accessible and sustainable infrastructure for local communities, and I would most definitely support the project. I feel that with political will, a way can be found through any technical problems. Good luck with your campaign!

Dennis Smith – Conservative Party

I believe it to be important that Totnes and its outlying communities are not left out of the National Cycling Network. Although not a cyclist myself I know that there are many supporters in the villages that make up the Teignbridge South Division

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Council elections on Thursday May 2nd 2013

May 2nd is the date of local elections for Devon Councillors and so far Jacqi Hodgson, Green Party candidate for South Brent & Dartington Electoral Division and Robert Vint, Green party candidate for Totnes Rural Electoral Division have expressed their positive support for the cycle path scheme.

We will inform you if any other candidates come forward with support, but make sure you use your democratic right to vote and make your voices heard.

Here is a link to the ‘Statement of Persons Nominated’

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The new Sustrans funded Newton Abbot Cycle-bridge, over the River Teign, Devon

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Sustrans Chief Executive – Malcolm Shepherd, writes letter of support for route over the footbridge

Sustrans is a national charity partly funded by government which works with communities and local authorities to encourage more journeys to be made in a sustainable way, on foot, by bike or on public transport.  Sustrans Chief Executive Malcolm Shepherd made the following statement on 9thJan 2013:

“Sustrans urges the completion of National Cycle Route 2 between Newton Abbot and Totnes by Devon County Council as soon as sufficient resources can be made available. We recognise that most of this route will be on minor roads and therefore requires only modest resources to implement, but that the route into Totnes would need to cross the river Dart close to the town. The only safe on road route available for NCN2 is via Staverton bridge and Huxham’s Crosss, which effectively bypasses Totnes as well as missing out villages such as Littlehempston.

Of the various options for a river crossing and connecting routes identified by us and roughly costed by DCC, making use of the existing footbridge to the steam railway company’s station and providing security measures at the station and neighbouring property remains the most attractive and cost- effective option. We strongly urge the landowners and Devon County Council to try and overcome the issues that have so far  prevented an agreed design and management of this proposed route, and to identify resources for achieving it as soon as possible. Both Totnes and Newton Abbot are towns benefiting from 3 local sustainable transport fund awards to Devon County Council for projects up to March 2015 and this route would be a fitting addition to the local network and aid the aspirations of all these projects”.

Sustrans Chief Executive – Malcolm Shepherd statement – 9th Jan 2013

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Paula Black’s question to Devon County Council (DCC)

Devon county Councillor Paula Black, who has worked tirelessly campaigning for this project over the years, questioned DCC’s executive over progress on the cycle path at last December’s meeting.  The response from the elected head of transport, Councillor Hughes, follows.

“The preferred alignment for the NCN2 cycle route from Newton Abbot to Totnes has yet to be agreed, but currently an on-road route is being considered via Denbury, Broadhempston and Staverton, connecting with the existing mainly traffic-free shared use cycle path from Totnes to Huxham’s Cross.

 It is understood that locally there is a desire for a predominantly off-road section via Littlehempston as an alternative option to the Huxham’s Cross route. Whilst no funding has currently been identified for a possible link from Totnes to Littlehempston, this route was identified as an aspiration in the ‘Potential Future Capital Programme 2015 to 2017’ list of cycling infrastructure schemes approved by Cabinet on 11 July 2012. Detailed feasibility work is being undertaken, as resources permit, to understand the implications of local aspirations.”

Our thoughts on the councillor’s response….

In addition to involving a dangerous crossing over the A384 at Huxham’s cross, on the brow of a hill, the Staverton route is far hillier than the route over the footbridge.  It also represents a significant detour for those travelling from most of the northern villages (Ipplepen, Broadhempston, Denbury etc).  For these reasons it is currently virtually unused by cyclists now.  It seems a bit silly to us to say that designating the route as NCN2 will change this usage pattern?  So why is this route even being “considered”?  Remember funding for the preferred route over the footbridge is available – DCC just need to act.

The other issue about taking NCN2 via Staverton is that it would then run directly to South Brent, thus completely bypassing Totnes – not great for tourism / accessibility / business.

As for the “detailed feasibility work”, DCC have been telling us that this it’s underway since May last year, but they never seem to have any developments to report.

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