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Bishop's Stortford Town Council takes the brakes off cycling and walking strategy with new investment

Cycling provision in Bishop's Stortford is to be cranked up a gear by the town council.

Members of its environment and public amenities committee want to kick-start the council's "stalled" cycling and walking strategy with an easy win after learning that a new route for cyclists could cost up to £600,000.

They have recommended £10,000 be spent on creating a digital map and mobile phone app to highlight cycle paths, on additional signage on those routes and on extra bike stands in the town centre. The potential for lockers to be installed in the Jackson Square car park for riders to store their helmets was also added to the sustainable transport wish-list.

Bishop's Stortford Town Council's cycle path plans (16731558)
Bishop's Stortford Town Council's cycle path plans (16731558)

Cllr John Wyllie, leader of the town council, said: "There is actually a lot of cycle parking already in the town... but some of them don't look like traditional bike racks. If you go into the multi-storey car park there are literally dozens of them. The simplest thing to do would be to put a sticker on them saying 'I'm a bike rack'. I think people generally don't know what they are."

Cllr Terence Beckett suggested heart-shaped bike racks to make them distinctive and hammer home the council's cycling-friendly stance.

Town council chief executive officer James Parker outlined the prospects for new cycle paths, highlighting a north-south route with the best chance of success.

Ultimately it would create a lane from the A120 at Bat Willow Hurst country park to The Causeway and Hockerill Street by joining existing sections.

Mr Parker said the project was the easiest option because all the land required belongs to the town council or East Herts Council. One of the new links is already part of the £2.2m Castle Park scheme, and the biggest gap is between Michaels Road and Cannons Close park.

He said that preliminary estimates to complete the route ranged from £300,000 to £600,000. If the final quote was closer to the lower price, enough Section 106 planning permission conditions cash from East Herts Council might already be available to realise the scheme, with a similar injection from the town council.

Mr Parker said: "£118,000 of Section 106 money has been identified."

He said sums from the county council's S106 coffers might also be available, and the town has £439,000 ringfenced for all such strategic projects.

Mr Parker said that it was "an opportunity to lock in active travel behaviour for new residents in Michaels Hurst, Bishop's Stortford North and Bellis Homes' development".

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