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Agenda item

Mold to Broughton Cycleway

Decision:

(a)       That the Committee supports the proposals contained in the study and notes the opportunity to deliver an exciting and innovative scheme; and

 

(b)       That the Committee recommends the submission of the Mold to Broughton Cycle Scheme as the Council’s strategic application under the Welsh Government Active Travel fund for the 2020/21 financial year.

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Streetscene & Transportation) introduced a report to seek a recommendation to Cabinet for the submission of the Mold to Broughton cycle link scheme for Welsh Government (WG) Active Travel funding.  During statutory consultation, the link had been identified as a key strategic corridor on the Council’s Integrated Network Map which was subsequently approved by WG.  Funding received in 2018/19 had enabled the Council to commission work on a route option appraisal which was now complete, and detailed design of the scheme was nearing completion.

 

The scheme was part of the Council’s Integrated Transport Strategy - which sought to facilitate the integration of all modes of transport (walking, cycling, bus and rail) to enhance access to employment, education and essential services.  An update on the Strategy was due to be shared with the Committee in July.  Recent announcements on WG local transport grant funding included £5.4m for Flintshire (one of the highest settlements in Wales) to be invested in the local transport network as well as providing long-term benefits and employment opportunities.

 

The Transport Manager explained that the aim of the cycleway scheme was to link the communities of Mold, Buckley, Penyffordd, Broughton, Saltney and Sandycroft whilst providing links to existing railway stations at Buckley and Penyffordd to provide sustainable access to major employment sites.

 

The Highways Policy Officer gave an overview of the proposed cycleway route including available options and traffic management solutions where appropriate.  The route also provided good connectivity with the Deeside Industrial Park and the Wrexham-Bidston railway line.

 

The Chief Officer said that good progress had been made in completing the Saltney cycleway which was one of the links on the route.  Sharing details of the route would help to raise awareness of this innovative scheme to link communities and provide a sustainable transport solution for future generations.

 

On the Council’s success in securing funding for schemes under Active Travel and Safer Routes in Communities, Councillor Carolyn Thomas praised the officers and said that the cycleway route could be a flagship scheme for the Council and WG.

 

Councillor Paul Shotton spoke in support of the scheme which would benefit the increasing number of cyclists.  He welcomed links with the Wrexham-Bidston line and was informed that the Chief Officer was a member of that steering group.  On finance, Councillor Carolyn Thomas advised that funding for the feasibility study had been received and that some funding in this year could be used for sections of the route.  Further bids would be submitted on completion of the detailed design.

 

Councillor Chris Dolphin congratulated both Chief Officers on the progress to date.  He highlighted the importance of connectivity with rural villages, for example Gorsedd to Pantasaph.  Councillor Carolyn Thomas expained that the grant funding was subject to criteria.  In acknowledging the needs of rural communities, she advised that different funding streams were being explored to provide bus links to rural areas.

 

Councillors Joe Johnson and Bob Connah both welcomed options to address safety concerns in Sandycroft.  Councillor Connah said that the stretch between the Bridge Inn and the roundabout by the A380 factory was a particular issue requiring careful consideration.  The Highways Policy Officer said that options for an off-road facility would be discussed and that this was one of the areas where land ownership negotiations were unavoidable.

 

On behalf of the Flintshire and Wrexham Joint Local Access Forum, Councillor David Evans asked that opportunities for bridleways be explored where possible.  He also cited the roundabout over the A55 between Penyffordd and Broughton as a problem area and asked about the possibility of a pedestrianised footbridge.  On the absence of a link between Saltney Ferry and Sandycroft, the Highways Policy Officer advised that whilst this did not form part of the cycleway scheme, it was included on the Integrated Network Map as part of the Council’s 15 year plan covering a wider area.  There would be opportunities in the future to bid for funding to bring those routes into use.  Officers agreed to look into the potential for a footpath/cycleway on River Lane.  On the subject of bridleways, the officer spoke about restrictions such as land ownership and surfacing.

 

Councillor Haydn Bateman spoke in support of recommending the scheme, particularly the A5118 route.  In response to requests for further information on specific areas, the Highways Policy Officer said that the detailed design would be in accordance with the Active Travel design guidance and would be shared with the Committee once it had been completed.

 

In thanking officers for the report, Councillor Andy Dunbobbin spoke about links to the Wellbeing Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 as well as environment and climate change.

 

Councillor Chris Bithell acknowledged the increasing demand for cycleways across the County through a phased approach.  He welcomed the efforts of officers to overcome issues to achieve a creative plan.

 

Councillor Owen Thomas raised concerns about the B5129 Sandycroft to Airbus road and commented that the footpath along the river could be introduced more into the route.

 

Councillor Derek Butler welcomed the initiatives which helped to break down barriers to employment and increase commuter opportunities with links to rail.  He referred to issues arising from multi-use routes and the need for education and persuasion.

 

Councillor Mike Allport said that there was no safe link between Higher Kinnerton and the Airbus factory which was the nearest major employer.

 

In response to comments from Councillor Evans, the officer agreed to check the link to the Active Travel website which contained links to documents and design guidance.  The timescales on the Integrated Network Map were aspirational as they required submission every three years to consider further links.  The scheme would be submitted in January 2020 with WG funding available from April possibly provided in phases.

 

The recommendations were moved by Councillor Evans and seconded by Councillor Bibby.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That the Committee supports the proposals contained in the study and notes the opportunity to deliver an exciting and innovative scheme; and

 

(b)       That the Committee recommends the submission of the Mold to Broughton Cycle Scheme as the Council’s strategic application under the Welsh Government Active Travel fund for the 2020/21 financial year.

Supporting documents:

 

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