Posted: Wed 17th May 2023

‘Cycle Path to Nowhere’: Flintshire locals await key connections

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Residents in a Flintshire village face a wait for what has been dubbed ‘the cycle path to nowhere’ to be linked up with other routes. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Motorists experienced more than three months of disruption at the end of last year when work took place to install a cycle track and footway on the A550 between Penyffordd and Hope. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It was undertaken by Flintshire Council after receiving funding from the Welsh Government to improve the viability of active travel and sustainable journeys in the area. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

But speaking at a meeting of Flintshire Council’s environment and scrutiny committee, Penyffordd Cllr Roy Wakelam (Ind) said villagers from his ward have questioned how useful it is until it is joined up with other routes and have labelled it “the cycle path to nowhere”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Work also began on a similar cycle path between Saltney and Broughton earlier this year. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Streetscene chief officer Katie Wilby said long-term it is hoped that route will be linked up but this depends on funding and other factors. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We’ve got the Active Travel Network maps and we have to consult on those every three years”, she said. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The intention is to link the cycle networks up in Flintshire but that is dependent on funding and it tends to be a phased approach. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Where we can apply for funding, bid for funding we will build the cycle route where feasible but it may be that we have to wait for the next tranche of funding to come along before we can build the next section. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“It also depends on land ownership and the availability of land to build the next section. We’re not always going to build off-road cycle lanes purely because of the nature of the infrastructure we have in place across Wales and Flintshire. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We’ve got quite a lot of communities, historical buildings, things like airfields that can’t be moved so we just can’t change things.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

With a pandemic bus subsidy coming to an end in July, some bus routes could be at risk if not viable for operators, something else which is concerning councillors. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Cllr Wakelam added: “In my ward (Penyffordd) you cannot have a 9am-5pm job and rely on public transport, to Mold, Wrexham or Chester. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“There is no bus service to get you anywhere near.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ms Wilby said the council was waiting on details of franchising and to see what happens at the end of the subsidy. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Bus Emergency Scheme (BES) was set up to help keep bus companies afloat and ensure that vital bus services kept running throughout the pandemic. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

This has been extended to the end of the school year in July to ensure that there is no disruption to school transport services but there is no further funding from the scheme for bus companies beyond this date. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here). ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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