Plans for £750,000 cycle path divide Forest community
BATTLELINES have been drawn over the £750,000 plans to build a cycle path through the Wye Valley.
The plans were submitted in August by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, to Monmouthshire County Council and Forest of Dean District Council.
SUPPORT: Residents who want the new cycle path which would run through the Wye Valley.
They are for a traffic-free path for families, walkers, cyclists, runners, mobility vehicles, wheelchair users and horse riders. It would follow the disused 19th Century Wye Valley Railway line, open up two former railway tunnels and see a new bridge being built over the Wye at Tintern.
However, the plans have been criticised in some corners with Tidenham Parish Council voting unanimously against it for a number of reasons including increased parking issues and maintenance costs.
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Chairman John Powell said: "Sustrans are known for coming up with the cash to buy these things and then not looking after them.
"If this goes through and that is the case, which I expect it would be, then the parish council would be left with a maintenance bill of £40,000 per year to look after the path. The knock-on effect is that this would have to come out of council tax, meaning that people would find their council tax bill rising by 40 per cent just to afford this, it's crazy.
"I, and the rest of the council, sincerely hope this doesn't go through."
He said claims that the path will boost the economy are wide of the mark.
He said: "It is an absurd statement as we only have one pub and we don't have any cafes!"
A group has been set up in support of the cycle path called Wye Valley Communities for Safe Cycling.
Andy Littledale of the group said: "It will be a benign and well-loved asset to the community and not a magnet for anti-social behaviour and parking problems.
"Local kids could cycle to school, disabled people could access the Wye Valley without getting in their cars and the local businesses in the area would get a well-needed boost."
The railway path is one of 79 projects nationwide that will benefit from a share of £50 million of Big Lottery Fund money awarded to the Sustrans Connect2 project.
The deadline to register a view with Monmouthshire County Council is tomorrow.
Send an email to planning@mon mouthshire.gov.uk, quoting planning reference number DC/2010/00783.