FUNDING has been agreed for the first stage of a new walking and cycling route between Newton Abbot and Ogwell.

Members of Teignbridge Council’s ruling executive approved the £190,000 scheme for the initial phase of the project. 

The Ogwell Strategic Link is aimed at providing a safer route for both cyclists and pedestrians between the village and the town. 

Conditional planning permission for the scheme was granted in 2019.

At the executive committee, Cllr Jackie Hook welcomed the project: ‘This section will avoid the worst of Totnes Road. I cycled it once and vowed never to do it again.’

Cllr Gary Taylor, executive member for planning, explained that the scheme was ‘much-needed’ along the stretch of road for cycling and walking. There were benefits of safer, active travel along with environmental benefits. 

Funding is available for this financial year, Cllr Taylor said, adding there was ‘little time to waste’.

Money for the link has come after the Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton Garden Community status was granted by the Government’s Homes England scheme in 2019, to help revitalise neighbourhoods and shape significant developments and facilities for local communities. 

Homes England has since awarded £190,000 capital funding towards the link.

The overall route 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 route at Baker’s Park. 

The scheme was approved by Teignbridge Highways and Traffic Orders Committee in November 2019.

Cllr Paul Parker raised an issue regarding the section at Buntings Close, Ogwell where he described the footpath as very narrow as it comes into the A381 Totnes Road. He pointed out when he visited the area, his foot was run over by a cyclist. 

Cllr Taylor said he was confident any adjustments needed could be made. 

The route has been forthcoming after the Ogwell Neighbourhood Plan included the need to provide better links between Ogwell and Newton Abbot with safe paths and cycleways.

In a report to members, officers said: ‘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. 

‘Positive and timely delivery of external funding is important, so funders see evidence that funds awarded for improvements to benefit communities in the Heart of Teignbridge will be used accordingly.’

The route is aligned with Steppes Meadow and Baker’s Park at the eastern side and Bunting Close to the west.