Areas of Cornwall to prioritise walking and cycling after successful council bid

Falmouth, Penzance and Truro are set to make changes to their local road networks to help improve the health of their communities and combat climate change. 

Following a successful bid to the Department for Transport Active Travel Fund, Cornwall Council has been given £607,000 to improve cycling and walking routes in locations where the local communities have helped develop plans to bring about change. 

The funding will mean the Council can progress plans in: 

  • Falmouth – as part of its innovative place-shaping activity, the town centre will trial pedestrian priority and improved cycle provision
  • Penzance – supporting the aims of Penzance Healthy Streets, including the Market Jew Street pedestrian and cycle zone, walking and cycling improvements on Western Promenade Road and a 20mph zone in the town centre. 
  • Truro – development of a quiet lanes network linking key destinations and an extension of the Shortlanesend cycle route into the city. 

Residents will be able to have their say on the proposals as part of a public consultation planned for next month. To ensure the plans are accessible for all, the Council has worked with local disability groups and will continue to do so as part of the formal consultation. 

Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, said: “We’re committed to providing the infrastructure to give residents and visitors options for how they travel and from the conversations we’ve had with local communities over recent years, it’s clear many want improved access to safe walking and cycling routes. 

“The projects we will now be able to progress as a result of this funding have come from the local community and been in the planning for some time. 

“There are many benefits to making changes to local roads where people travel short distances between where they live and where they work. Around a third of journeys to work which are less than 5km long are made by car and this is much higher in some towns. Making the switch to cycling or walking where possible not only has great health benefits, but it’s also good for our environment too.  

“Road transport is a large contributor of carbon dioxide emissions and if we’re serious about tackling the issues of climate change then we all need to look at how we travel.”  

In August, Penzance began a trial to restrict vehicles using Market Jew Street during the day. “We have seen a significant reduction in the number of vehicles driving through Market Jew Street since the introduction of the restrictions”.  said Jonathan How, from the Healthy Streets Penzance Partnership.  “This has made a real difference to the feel of the town, with more space for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as reducing noise pollution and improving air quality.” 

“Implementing the final two phases of the scheme will enable us to improve walking and cycling facilities across other parts of Penzance, and promote more sustainable forms of transport. It’ll be a huge help as we work towards creating a truly accessible town for all and reducing carbon emissions in response to the climate emergency.” 

Sarah Wetherill, Convener from the Truro Cycling Campaign, said: “We are really pleased that the Council bid for and has been awarded this Government money.

“Our campaign group has long identified Shortlanesend to Truro as a key route and measures to make it more cycle friendly are included in the Council’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Truro. The village is a growing settlement within cyclable distance from the city centre. Improving the cycle path and its link with Knights Hill will mean greater safety and comfort for cyclists. It will hopefully also act as a catalyst for a further safe connection into the heart of the city.  

“Congestion and air pollution have been a real problem in Truro.  As Truro continues to grow the proposed measures will be another step in addressing these issues by encouraging more people to cycle and leave their cars at home.  And there’s no better way of upping our levels of physical activity than building cycling into our everyday trips.” 

‘Re-shaping urban areas’

Richard Wilcox, Falmouth BID Manager and Co-Chair of Cornwall BIDs and Chair of South West BIDS said, “Cities, towns and high streets are experiencing rapid changes as has been well documented, and COVID has greatly accelerated that change.  

“It’s vital therefore that as a region, we are on the front foot in re-shaping our urban areas; working collaboratively with our residents, businesses and visitors to reimagine our places in ways that reflect changing consumer behaviour, travel patterns, new ways of working and climate change. Vibrant, clean and green environments that work efficiently as attractive destinations, where businesses across all sectors can thrive.” 

Cornwall Council has been awarded this funding as part of the second tranche of the DfT’s Active Travel Fund. This funding is to support measures to bring about a modal shift in communities – building the infrastructure to encourage people to walk and cycle more, especially where the journey is a short one within towns. As part of the funding criteria construction on the schemes must begin by the end of this financial year. 

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