Council submits £650k investment bid for additional active travel routes as part of Covid-19 pandemic transport response

Rocks at Newton Beach

Bridgend County Borough Council has submitted a £650,000 funding bid to Welsh Government for temporary and permanent active travel routes as part of transportation measures to improve the safety and conditions of walking and cycling paths both during and following the Covid-19 crisis.

The bid is in addition to a £4m active travel package submitted by the local authority in February for 2020/21 which is currently awaiting approval.

If successful, the latest funding bid would firstly enable the completion of the Porthcawl coastal path along the front of Trecco Bay. Once complete, walkers and cyclists would be able to go from Newton all the way to Rest Bay.

It would also enable part of the road space between Coychurch Roundabout and Bridgend town centre to become a temporary active travel route. The 2.5km section would include Kingsway Avenue on the Bridgend Industrial Estate, York Road to Cowbridge Road. The scheme which is proposed to last for 12 weeks would be monitored.

Finally, the funding would help create more than 150 pedestrian and cycle crossing points in communities across the county borough. The tactile crossings enable a more defined space for pedestrians and cyclists to cross roads.

Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Richard Young said: “All of these schemes have been in the pipeline for some time with designs in place.

“At the request of the Welsh Government we have brought them forward as a means of introducing measures to ensure the safety and reliability of sustainable transport modes during and following the Covid-19 crisis.

“Active travel routes have long been a priority for the local authority with most recently a £1.5m safe pedestrian and cycle route being completed linking both Pencoed and Coychurch to Bridgend.”

Earlier this month Lee Waters, the deputy minister for economy and transport, who invited local authorities to put forward expressions of interest said measures aimed at improving walking and cycling should prioritise routes that are part of existing or planned active travel route networks.

He said part of the purpose was to enable social distancing which was expected to be needed for many months to come and create conditions that made non-car modes safer, healthy and convenient.

In February, the local authority submitted applications for a £4m active travel package covering improvements to the Bridgend to Pencoed route, an active travel route between Pyle and Porthcawl, and a further one between Bridgend and the Bridgend Designer Outlet.