More cycling infrastructure coming to Kenilworth after council adopts cycle strategy

Cycling
Cycling

The Kenilworth Town Council has adopted a cycling strategy which among its objectives includes increasing the proportion of journeys in town made by bicycle.

Members of the town council approved the strategy by a majority vote of 13-2.

Kenilworth Cycle Route map: Blue signifies proposed cycle routes, green signifies national cycle routs and yellow signifies current cycle routes.

Kenilworth Cycle Route map: Blue signifies proposed cycle routes, green signifies national cycle routs and yellow signifies current cycle routes.

The detailed 15-page strategy was formed by a working group of residents who came up with more than 40 ideas, which were prioritised by a simple voting method.

The top three priorities included improving cycling infrastructure and linking up existing cycle routes, improving signage around the town to improve safety and awareness for people who cycle and to promote cycling across town through cycling related events.

After three meetings the group has around two dozen members.

Town Cllr Andrew Milton, who proposed the strategy said: “I'm delighted that the town council has chosen to adopt the cycling strategy.

“This sets out our intent as a council for the future, and most importantly it's been shaped by members of the community.

“We've been really impressed by the number of creative ideas that the group have come up with which just goes to show the value of community involvement. The hard work begins now and we'll be continuing to work with the group to move some of these projects forward.”

As Cllr Milton proposed the strategy to the town council he highlighted some of the reasons for the need for the strategy, which included how car ownership and levels of commuting by car in town are well above the national average.

Only a small percentage of our young people choose to cycle to school. Thirty-seven per cent of people state that they walk or cycle journeys that they currently take by car.

He added: “We kicked off the work because encouraging more people to travel by bicycle is vital to the future of our town.

“It reduces the amount of carbon we burn, reduces congestion, improves air quality and has benefits on physical and mental health.”

One of the key issues discussed within the group as part of strengthening cycling infrastructure for the town included cycling in the Abbey Fields parkland.

Cycling is currently prohibited at Abbey Fields under the local by-laws. The issue was recently part of a public consultation conducted by the Warwick District Council to find out what people wanted in regard to the issue.

The strategy said while the issue of cycling in Abbey Fields has proved contentious with some people, removing restrictions to cycle access to the area is seen as vital to facilitate east to west travel and better connectivity across town.

For more details on the cycle strategy people can download the actual report on the town council's website.

Cllr Milton added: “I recognise the sensitivities that surround Abbey Fields. We will proceed carefully, but it is important that we set out a clear statement that finding a safe cycling route through Abbey Fields is something that we are supportive of.

“With the further developments to the swimming pool and Castle Farm Recreation Centre improving green travel options is hugely important.”

Cllr Rob Barry added: "It will be interesting to get the output from the question in the Abbey Fields consultation that relates to a cycleway through Abbey Fields.

“We will need to take this into consideration following the Kenilworth Town Council's support of a safe cycleway through Abbey Fields.

“The green travel plan for the new Castle Farm Leisure facilities must include a cycleway through Abbey Fields if we are to encourage safe active travel to these new facilities."