‘Tree friendly’ cycle scheme in west Cheltenham
Gloucestershire County Council has been working with Cheltenham Borough Council on biodiversity and landscaping plans within the £1.6million walking and cycling improvements in west Cheltenham.
Both councils have been working hard behind the scenes to make the new cycle path along the A40 from Benhall roundabout into Cheltenham as ecologically conscious and ‘tree-friendly’ as possible.
Work started in January 2021 on the next section of the West Cheltenham Transport Improvement Scheme, which includes £1.6 million investment into walking and cycling facilities. The separate cycle path between Benhall Roundabout and Griffiths Avenue will meet the new national guidance, and both councils are working together to improve the diversity of plants as well as the general look and feel of the area when the scheme is complete.
So the county council can build the new cycle path to the minimum widths required by government, existing hedgerows will get a makeover. They will be tidied up, weeds removed and extra planting added behind the hedges to improve screening from the major road. Other plans include a brand new section of hedgerow, Ash Dieback work and replanting of a variety of shrubs where currently there are gaps in the foliage.
There are many established trees in this section and by using a special “no dig” technique the new cycle path can be laid without damaging tree roots. The oak trees lining the A40 between Arle Court and Benhall Roundabouts will be preserved.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for planning and environment, said, “The county council is investing heavily in making it easier and safer to cycle, and I'm happy to be working with Cheltenham Borough Council on another cycling scheme in the borough. Improving active travel options is part of our commitment to tackle climate change, and follows on from our 97 per cent reduction in the county council's CO2 emissions. We're determined to make a real difference for future generations, and if residents near the scheme have any concerns please do get in touch with us - we want to work with them as much as possible."
Cllr Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for climate and communities at Cheltenham Borough Council said: “Walking, cycling and taking sustainable transport typically mean people are healthier, happier and more productive at work. Crucially sustainable and active travel is better for the planet and nature too. Our climate emergency declaration means we must act now and the Connecting Cheltenham report shows that the borough council has a vision. But we cannot deliver this vision alone and that’s why we have asked our partners at the county council to work with us on cycle networks, measures to boost walking, reimaging bus interchange and measures to stop rat-running too.”
David Owen, CEO GFirst LEP said “The LEP welcomes these improvements, our draft Local Industrial Strategy highlighted our desire to increase investment in both cycling and walking infrastructure across the county and to focus on climate change. These improvements will further connect the area and allow for better access for walkers and cyclists alike.”
Residents in the immediate area have received a letter, asking them to get in touch and work with the county council if they have questions or concerns.
Find out more and view the latest video update from the scheme online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/WCTIS
This cycle path will eventually link up with the proposed cycleway on the B4063 which will give cyclists a continuous off-road space to get around the area. We want to hear what you think about our plans for the Gloucester to Cheltenham cycleway, and you can fill out our survey before 23:59 on 17 March online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/B4063
Please note - image attached is a stock image and is not from this scheme.