Hundreds share views on walking and cycling path improvement spots
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Hundreds of people across two Suffolk districts have been sharing areas of the county in need of walking and cycle path improvements — and more views are still being sought.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils have launched a public consultation on a joint walking and cycling strategy, which aims to establish where the popular spots are for walking and cycling, and find out which walkways need improving.
The consultation closes on June 22, but already more than 550 people have put forward their suggestions, which will help inform a walking and cycling infrastructure plan being developed.
Jessica Fleming, Conservative cabinet member for the environment at Mid Suffolk, said: "Cycling and walking are great ways to do short trips, enjoy the local outdoors and access businesses — while also supporting our local economy, wellbeing and protecting the environment.
“I would encourage anyone in our district — whether an avid rambler, cyclist, or just interested — to have their say in our interactive consultation. The more people we hear from the better, so we can work with partners to improve active travel infrastructure in Suffolk as part of the vision for both our towns and rural communities."
Babergh cabinet member Elisabeth Malvisi, also Conservative, added: “Making sure we have accessible and well connected cycling and walking routes is at the heart of our regeneration plans and visions for our towns. We need to support both the wellbeing of those in our district, as well as encourage people to shop local in order to support our businesses.
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“Moving towards more sustainable travel options over the coming years will play an important role in safeguarding our environment. This consultation gives our communities the opportunity to tell us what infrastructure they want to see in the district.”
The consultation employs a simple pin drop on an interactive map, allowing people to highlight specific locations.
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Once the consultation ends the data will be collated and will inform the walking and cycling strategy to be put forward to the council's cabinets later this year.
Dr Daniel Pratt from Mid Suffolk's opposition Green and Liberal Democrat group, said: "Encouraging public uptake on active travel means we must not only make walking and cycling easier but also an attractive option.
"This necessitates a great deal of investment in local infrastructure including the improvement of existing and creation of new cycleways. To get this right, we must involve our communities and local businesses to gain local consensus on where that infrastructure is most needed.
"So far, the consultation has been met with a positive reaction from our residents. We encourage engagement from all residents, whether they walk or cycle to travel to school, work or to the shops, or simply use the infrastructure for leisure purposes.
"The Green/Lib Dem group insist that walking and cycling must be at the heart of any plans for new development and not come as an afterthought."