Date Published: 09 January 2020
Plans by North Kesteven District Council to get more people on their bikes to improve health and reduce motorised transport for the benefit of climate change are really beginning to pay off.
Councillors will be told next week (January 15) that the district’s Cycling Strategic Review has been working on a number of projects over the last year and more are in the pipeline for 2020.
In the north of the district an option to create a footpath and cycle link from Hykeham Station through to Teal Park has been looked at and the Council is also considering a footpath and cycleway through from Discovery Park to Sadler Row.
Landowners are on board with the idea and work to complete the appraisal, route and costings should be complete by March.
Another project is to link Sleaford and Chapel Hill with a pedestrian and cycle route following the banks of the River Slea. This scheme will be dependent on securing external funding – potentially from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Wright, said the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan sets the policy requirement for the delivery of high quality walking and cycling networks linking to the wider area of the sustainable urban extensions.
He added: “This will be a requirement for the design brief for the Canwick Heath development and any work at Witham St Hughes will bring forward new pedestrian and cycle links as well as footpath and cycle improvements.
“Similarly, improvements have been made to the pedestrian and cycle links at Handley Chase in Sleaford and the Council has just secured funding to improve pedestrian and cycle links along the River Slea near to the Sleaford West quadrant.”
Cycling and walking arrangements are now an important part of discussions with developers to make sure meeting these needs are built into new schemes and improvements are planned into existing schemes.
There are also ongoing discussions with authorities including Lincolnshire County Council to make sure cycling needs are built into road improvements – a good local example is the junction improvements at Sleaford Rugby Club.
“We are also working hard to develop a Wheels For All project at our facility at One NK. This initiative is a nationally recognised programme that embraces children and adults with disabilities and differing needs so they can enjoy quality cycling activity and fun.
“As part of the process a series of cycling projects were delivered at One NK and at Cycle Fest 2019 with the aim of engaging local businesses and organisations to support the project.
“Thanks to support from a number of organisations including Active Lincolnshire we now have a fleet of 20 adapted cycles and are in the process of registering to be the first Wheels for All Centre in the county. Engagement with a number of local organisations and day centres has been positive and we expect weekly sessions to start soon,” said Cllr Wright.
In addition, British Cycling is also showing significant interest in a council bid for funding towards the Places to Ride Programme which would be centred on a cycling hub concept at One NK and would create an off-road track and quotes are also being sought for a storage unit to house a cycling hub and cycling scrappage scheme.
The Council has also been building relationships with local clubs and Lincoln Wheelers Junior Section moved its base to One NK in the summer and has reported a 25% increase in junior memberships as a result.
Another positive result was the first North Kesteven family cycling session at Doddington Hall in June. The event, delivered in partnership with Giant and Access Lincoln was aimed at families and those new to cycling.
Activities on offer included mountain bike taster sessions, family rides, a virtual velodrome, karts, bike safety checks and a wide range of cycling related stalls.
More than 800 people attended and due to the excellent feedback planning is now underway for Cycle Fest 2020.
“We are also continuing to work with Active Lincolnshire to promote the Go Explore Lincolnshire app and remain the leading authority in the county on its development. Active Lincolnshire plan further work over the next year to develop and enhance the app further and we already have 12 digital routes available,”