Agenda item

Active Travel and Cycling Strategy Update [15 mins]

Paul Sullivan, Youth, Sport and Active Travel Manager


The Youth, Sport and Active Travel Manager, MonLife provided a further update on Active Travel and the Cycling Strategy.  Following the update, members were invited to ask questions.


·         The Active Travel Network Maps submission has been sent to Welsh Government. Feedback is awaited.  5,000 individual responses were received. 399 routes have been put forward each rated high, medium or low.


·         Of 23 projects, public consultation is live on current projects:

§  Caldicot Links Project

§  Williams Field Lane link to town centre

§  Monnow Street

§  Wye Active Travel crossing and Wyesham links

§  Castle Meadow

§  Llanfoist Bridge


Funding received this year is just over £3m.  Officers are working hard to create an integrated network to provide an alternative to short car journeys.


·           Construction projects due by the end of this financial year include:

§  Williams Field Lane (Phase 2 of 3) to include a new play park at Kingsfee

§  Old Dixton Rd to widen the pavements to provide safer access to Monmouth Comprehensive school and encourage walking and cycling

§  The Cross, Caldicot – a designated crossing


·           21st C Schools, new school Abergavenny: discussions are ongoing to have input into the design to provide flow and an east/west through route. 


·           Next Year: Bids are in progress for:

·           Church Road (Phase 2)

·           Caldicot Links (Phase 1)

·           Castle Meadows (and continuation of Abergavenny linked projects)

·           Kingswood Gate (Phase 3)


It was noted that the bidding process has changed, and it is only possible to bid when ready to build.


·           Cycling Strategy: the draft document has been produced with many areas of focus and to form an action plan. The strategy concentrates mainly on leisure and tourism; there are references to Active Travel throughout.  Officers are working through the stages of the Leisure and Physical Activity Strategy that will involve investment to leisure centres, programme delivery and some of the support to community sports. The Cycling Strategy and Leisure and Physical Activity Strategy will be presented to Cabinet at the same time. 


Members asked questions, and received responses as follows:


·         It was confirmed that the route from Glangrwyney to Gilwern didn’t meet the criteria.  It was queried if Gilwern will receive any funding given the consultation results.  It was confirmed that £30,000 was invested in WelTAG 1 for Gilwern last year and 5 routes have been identified for further investigation.  Four funding bids have been allowed this year and scheme development proposals must be within core funding of £0.5m to cover multiple projects. It is hoped to develop opportunities across all seven main settlements within the criteria. There is potential for in-year funding that may cover further investigation of some of the identified routes in Gilwern.

·         It was confirmed that the Cycling Strategy will be subject of further consultation, particularly to gather feedback on the action plan.

·         It was pointed out that the documents in respect of the new school in Abergavenny make no reference to Cycling Strategy despite very low numbers cycling to and from the school.  It was confirmed that there is a detailed analysis of routes around the school for both walking and cycling and a database of improvements required.  The focus is on integrated network routes from home to school. Level 2 Cycle training for adults is available to build on the Cycling Proficiency available in schools. Assurance was provided that Active Travel is at the forefront of the plans for the new school.  The Head of Placemaking, Housing, Highways and Flooding added that a Home to School Travel Plan is the responsibility of schools. Additional funding has been mandated to fund an extra road safety officer to encourage cycling, walking and scooting throughout the county, and to support schools.

·         A Member congratulated the team and asked if bus services could carry cycles bearing in mind the focus on leisure and tourism.  It was agreed to raise this point with the national Active Travel Group. The capability to carry cycles on buses needs further investigation as the industry moves to create solutions. 

·         A Member asked that the last half mile of the Caldicot link that uses the Caerwent branch is futureproofed against the reopening of the branch to provide the answer to the Burns Report problem of the tram trains having to terminate at Severn Tunnel Junction.  The last half mile is wide enough to design a path for a single-track tram train if required to avoid the motorway issue if there will be no train service.  This suggestion will be sent to the design team. 


Officers were thanked for their contribution to the meeting.