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Cycle and pathway scheme could still get funding

Created on 19/06/2017 @ 10:33
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An Active Travel initiative that would help integrate cycling and pedestrian networks in Newtown could get funding despite a financial bid failing.

The Active Travel Act came into law in Wales in 2014  and places a legal duty on all local authorities in Wales to consult with local communities and develop a safe network for walking and cycling.

Powys County Council put forward a bid for its Active Travel Network in the county, including a network in Newtown that would have improved the public transport infrastructure. Part of the bid failed, including the Newtown element to tie in with the opening of the town's bypass next year.

Montgomeryshire AM, Russell George, took the matter up with First Minister Carwyn Jones.

"Among the main proposals of the Newtown Active Travel Bid were a shared use pedestrian and cycle route along Llanidloes Road to Dolfor Junction; a link path from Treowen housing estate to the train station; improvements in pedestrian and cycle links between the railway station, town centre and the bus station; and the construction of a cycle and pedestrian bridge across the river Severn which presents one of the main barriers to walking and cycling in Newtown," said Mr George.

"I agree with Powys County Council that the development of a meaningful Active Travel network for Newtown is a once in a generation opportunity which would take advantage of the opportunities which the Newtown bypass will ultimately provide to both Newtown and Montgomeryshire.
"I was disappointed that Powys  County Council were unsuccessful in their bid for funding, especially given that support for the development of the network is growing and new partnerships are being formed between Powys County Counciland the Town Council to work towards a common vision."
The ambition is to see an improvement in the walking and cycling links between the railway station, town centre and the bus station as well as links between schools and colleges, housing areas in Newtown and the retail estates towards the east of the town.

The First Minister said: “The two Powys local transport fund schemes are at the top of our reserve list for 2017-18, as part of our wider work associated with the Newtown bypass, and we are looking at options to see how we could allocate some in-year funds to the Powys active travel bid for Newtown.”

Newtown North County Councillor, Cllr Daniel Rowlands added: "The development of the bypass could be a springboard for the wider regeneration of Newtown so it is disappointing that the Welsh Government were unable to support the application for funding through the Local Transport Fund.
"Nevertheless, I was pleased to hear the First Minister  confirm to our AM  that he will look at allocating some in-year funds to the Powys active travel bid for Newtown.
"Mr George added that  he will be keeping up the  pressure on the Welsh Government to ensure that this ambitious project is afforded the necessary funding which will mean that this project becomes a reality."

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