Ashford Borough Council has approved the initial stages of a new cycling and walking strategy to span for the next ten years.
The council’s cycling strategy was first approved in 2010 but has now been revised and reviewed to incorporate walking into a joint initiative. The new strategy will be a key part of the wider aim of improving overall sustainable transport within the borough, particularly accessibility in the town centre.
The cycling and walking strategy 2019 to 2029 has six main aims: to provide and improve the cycling and walking network, to increase cycle parking around the borough, to maintain the existing cycling and walking network, to focus on safer cycling, to promote cycling and walking in the borough, and to increase opportunities for cycling and walking tourism.
It will bring together polices and related actions with the aim of increasing the proportion of journeys made by these active travel modes, and also acknowledges the need for better utilisation of all existing cycling and walking infrastructure in the Ashford urban area.
It will also seek to increase cycling and walking participation by promoting safer cycling, active promotion and the support for cycling and walking based tourism. Consultation with community groups, parish councils and local interest groups will now take place, before the strategy can be formally adopted.
Councillor Mike Bennett, portfolio holder for culture, said: “These are an excellent set of initiatives which develop real progress towards our aspirations to make Ashford a ‘cycle town’ by improving the existing network of routes and developing new ones. I fully support this active travel strategy.”
Councillor Paul Clokie, portfolio holder for planning and development, added: “This strategy should enable the council to increase not only the number of cycle routes but also routes which have a high regard for cyclist safety.”