Lancashire County Council’s cabinet is to consider plans to extend a cycle track linking St Annes and Blackpool and make it safer and easier for people using it to negotiate a number of busy junctions.
The first phase of a new off-road track along the coast was completed in 2022, with the new plans focused on extending it by 270m towards St Annes to link up with existing cycling infrastructure.
A new report to the cabinet outlines that the original aim was for the track along Clifton Drive North to run from the Squires Gate Junction at Blackpool to Todmorden Road in St Annes, where an existing National Cycle Route leads to lower traffic routes.
However, the initial funding was only sufficient to construct the track as far south as Highbury Road West in St Annes. With further funding now secured from Active Travel England it is proposed to complete the missing section by extending the two-way cycleway, and upgrading the traffic lights at the Highbury Road West junction to include signalised pedestrian and cycle crossings.
Some new parking restrictions are also proposed to keep the new track clear and allow people to use it safely. The proposals also include four new pedestrian refuge islands to help people cross Clifton Drive North safely, to be funded with a contribution secured by Fylde Borough Council through the planning system following previous developments in the area.
The report also outlines a number of other minor changes planned to improve traffic management and safety in the area, along with objections received during public consultation on the scheme held during October and November 2023.
County Councillor Scott Smith, lead member for highways and active travel, said: “The Fylde coast is already a popular place for people to ride their bikes, and the track on Clifton Drive North is a significant addition to the largely traffic-free routes which attract people to the area.
“This is a popular destination for people of all ages, and the existing off-road path makes cycling safer for everyone, however one of its main benefits is to more vulnerable road users such as families with young children who generally much prefer to be separated from vehicle traffic.
“Most of the scheme which was originally conceived to link St Annes with Blackpool opened in 2022, and these proposals aim to fill the gap of around 270m which could not be carried out with the initial funding.
“The proposed extension links the existing track to quieter routes which already have cycling facilities, and would help people using it to negotiate some busy junctions in between, as well as more safely access the track using a new pedestrian and cycle crossing facility.
“I’m grateful to everyone who has taken the time to consider these plans and respond to the consultation, as we have been able to make changes to the design to address a number of the concerns raised.
“Our cabinet will carefully consider this report in making their decision at next week’s meeting.”
The report is available to view as part of the agenda for the cabinet meeting due to take place on Thursday 8 February.