THE first stage of a new walking and cycling route between Newton Abbot and Ogwell is expected to be given the go-ahead next week.
The Ogwell Strategic Link project should lead to 'significantly more appeal and safety for cycling' between the village and its nearby town. Conditional planning permission was granted in 2019.
Now Teignbridge District Council’s ruling executive is being asked to approve phase one of the project – using £190,000 of government grant funding – when it meets on Tuesday (June 6).
The overall route, according to a council report, aims to provide 'predominantly off-road provision, as an alternative to on-road travel along the busy and constrained Totnes Road A381' which links the two places for motorists.
Phase one focuses on the Baker’s Park area and delivering the stretch of route past the tennis courts, though subsequent phases will need to be built before the route can be fully opened, which will be to connect into Beverley Way and onward via Bunting Close into Ogwell.
Eventually, it will link the village with cycle routes to Newton Abbot town centre and the railway, Stover Trail and Wray Valley Trail, and potentially to Torbay, the Teign Estuary Trail and onto the existing Exe Estuary Trail to Exeter and Exmouth.
However, a byelaw currently bans cycling in Baker’s Park and four other parks in Newton Abbot (Courtenay, Forde, Osborne, Powderham). This is in the process of being amended to allow the route.
Recommending approval, officers state: 'There are economic benefits that can be generated from provision of high-quality active travel provision, in particular goods and services demand from high-quality multi-user trails, which can benefit the towns and villages linked to those trails.'
Their report concludes: 'The Ogwell Strategic Link will support safe and appealing bicycle travel between Ogwell and Newton Abbot town centre, railway and onward leisure routes that are nationally recognised.'