A route for cyclists, walkers and horse riders between St Agnes and Truro will be in place in late 2023, Cornwall Council has confirmed, following a review of the Saints Trails project.
Linking with the Langarth Garden Village development near Threemilestone, plans for the route include a bridge over the A30 at Chiverton.
Most of the funding for the project has come from National Highways as part of its designated funds programme which aims to provide environmental, social and economic benefits to the people, communities and businesses who live and work alongside the strategic road network. Projects funded under this programme must be completed by March 31, 2023.
As part of a review into the Saints Trails, the Council has considered progress and deliverability on the Perranporth to Newquay scheme.
Work will continue to build an off-road route between Perranporth and Goonhavern, but it has become clear that the Council will not be able to secure all the land needed in sufficient time to deliver the Goonhavern to Newquay section.
Philip Desmonde, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, said: “A review of the project aspirations, management and decision process has required some difficult decisions to achieve a reasonable outcome and I am disappointed we will not to be able to deliver the full Perranporth to Newquay route as originally planned and I am very sorry about that. To be fair, the Covid pandemic has had a significant impact.
“However, with a renewed focus and a realistic ambition, we have been able to secure the Perranporth to Goonhavern section and we remain open to discussions with the local Communities to support work to develop the Goonhavern to Newquay link in the future.
“Whilst I am confident of delivering the reduced scope of the project in a timely manner and within our constraints, it remains a complex project to achieve within a relatively short timescale, with off-road trails across both public and private land, involving many landowners and working within strict ecological parameters. This is the single biggest project in England funded though the National Highways designated funds scheme and there are many lessons our delivery team have learned as a result of the work on this project.
“While current circumstances mean we are unable to complete the route to Newquay at this time, I am keen to ensure that this will be developed in the future. The work carried out so far on the Goonhavern to Newquay link will not be in vain.”
Nick Aldworth, South West Regional Delivery Director for National Highways, said: “In agreement with Cornwall Council, we have made changes to the proposals that ensure we have a realistic programme of work to March 2023.
“This follows constructive discussions aimed at maximising the benefits of what remains one of the largest cycling investments ever in Cornwall. Although the revised routes are reduced, we believe this is the best way forward to ensure communities and visitors to Cornwall receive the benefits the trails will bring.
“We will keep open the option to apply for future funding to the Saints Trails project should it prove deliverable and, like Cornwall Council, would be delighted to see the whole vision realised in the future.”
National Highways remains committed to its Designated Funds programme and cycling schemes to support communities, with funding released as a result of these changes redirected to other cycling projects via the Users and Communities fund.