Cumbria County Council have today launched ambitious plans for new safe cycling and walking routes in the county.
The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) for Barrow, Carlisle and Kendal are the first to be published but will be closely followed by plans for Workington, Whitehaven and Penrith later in the year.
The LCWIPs identify and prioritise cycling and walking improvements at a local level, with a focus on routes that are used for everyday shorter journeys, such as going to work, school or the shops. The aim is to encourage more people to travel on foot and by cycle for the benefit of people’s health and the environment.
By providing coherent, safe and direct infrastructure that connects people to the places where they need to be, cycling and walking is more likely to become the natural choice for shorter journeys.
The views and suggestions from the public, stakeholders and delivery partners have been central to the process of developing the LCWIPs and the county council thank all those that took the time to provide feedback on the emerging plans. Whilst the LCWIPs set out a framework for the improvements, they will continue to develop over time and will be updated to reflect changing priorities and local needs.
Having an LCWIP in place is key to unlocking Government funding and developer contributions to build the infrastructure needed. The council will look to secure funding over the next 15 years to provide new safe routes for cyclists and walkers across Cumbria’s main towns and city. The process of applying for funding has already begun with successes in Barrow where the council has secured nearly £10 million to invest in cycling and walking infrastructure.
The LCWIPs were approved by the Council’s Local Committees in March 2022 and following this received full endorsement from Barrow Borough Council, Carlisle City Council, South Lakeland District Council and Kendal Town Council.
The LCWIPs along with their accompanying technical reports and consultation summaries can be accessed on the Council’s Cycling and Walking webpage at: https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/planning-environment/cyclingandwalking
The networks identified in the plans reflect the importance of connectivity across the towns and city with the aim of increasing active travel and reduce car journeys. Key aspects of the network include:
- Connections from residential areas to major employment sites such as BAE Systems, Furness General Hospital and the town centre.
- Links to education facilities including Furness College and numerous primary schools.
- Improved access to greenspaces and the coast, with leisure- based route options around the edge of town and on Walney Island.
- Longer distance connections to Askham-in-Furness and Dalton-in-Furness
- Building on the Kendal River Corridor Vision and with Kendal’s natural assets running through the centre of the town, the LCWIP focuses on routes for active travel along the Kendal River and Canal Corridors, supporting the ‘green living’ concept of Kendal becoming a place where people cycle and walk as the preferred mode of travel.
- The LCWIP identifies potential improvements within the Core Walking Zone and along the primary walking routes in the town which, could include new or enhanced road crossings; better quality public spaces and paths; and the provision of dedicated and separated space for walkers.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said:
“We want to encourage more people to take up walking and cycling within the county, to improve connectivity between communities, boost health and wellbeing, and tackle climate change.
“Through the delivery of the LCWIPs we want cycling and walking to become the preferred way to travel for shorter journeys. Good infrastructure is key to achieving this and the LCWIPs will ensure the right conditions are put in place to encourage people to cycle and walk more often.
“Expanding on the active travel network will also help to achieve an ambition set by the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership, for Cumbria to become the first carbon neutral county in the UK by 2037.
“I am grateful that the district councils in Barrow, Carlisle and Kendal have endorsed these plans, and we will now investigate funding to make these plans a reality.
“I would like to once again thank everyone who has participated in engagement and provided feedback so far.”