A long-awaited cycle route linking Kenilworth and Leamington has been approved by Warwickshire councillors making it a ‘wonderful Christmas present’ according to one campaigner.
Councillors at this week’s (Tuesday December 17) full council meeting at Shire Hall in Warwick voted unanimously in favour of allocating £4.749m for the K2L route - a 5km cycleway, which will include a new bridge over the River Avon and the floodplain.
Cllr Bill Gifford (Lib Dem Leamington Milverton) was one of a number of councillors who spoke in favour of the plans.
He said: “This is going to be a wonderful Christmas present - K2L is an idea whose time has finally come.
“It talks in the report of an unmet cycling demand and I have to say that I think this will be a route that really will be used and it will take cyclists off the dangers of the A452 between the two towns.
“I’m really hopeful that this will be one of a number of good long-distance cycle routes between our various towns that will hopefully bring a change in the way people view transport.
“There were 3,000 who signed the petition and it had the support of Kenilworth Town Council and Leamington Town Council as well as the district council.”
In proposing the scheme, Cllr Jeff Clarke (Con Nuneaton East), the portfolio holder for transport and planning, admitted there were some major hurdles to be negotiated.
He explained: “This has been long sought by the residents of Kenilworth and Leamington and I’m pleased to say that the county council is now in a position to bring this scheme forward.
“What I would say is that there are some extremely big challenges in relation to this scheme - a new bridge and we do need to acquire land from third parties - so whilst the scheme is going to progress there are still challenges we need to overcome.
“It is expected that the scheme will come forward for construction in the spring of 2021/22.”
Cllr John Holland (Lab Warwick West) gave his support and flagged up the public health benefits, not just of cycling but also by reducing the number of cars on the road.
And Cllr Keith Kondakor (Green Weddington) added: “These cycle routes are really important to everyone. It’s not just cyclists who will benefit. In congested heavy traffic days, enough people will cycle so that the congestion comes down.
“It is part of a big change that we need to do - we have about 40 coming out of the working group and we need to add to the list.”