Cycle trail plans at Newbold Comyn ride roughshod over walkers - The Leamington Observer

Cycle trail plans at Newbold Comyn ride roughshod over walkers

Leamington Editorial 9th Dec, 2022   0

CYCLE plans at Leamington’s Newbold Comyn ride roughshod over walkers, it has been claimed.

Warwick District Council started work last month on the construction of cycle trails on a section of the former golf course at the popular country park.

But the work has now been suspended due to “ecological concerns” – the nature of which have not been revealed.

The aim of the project, according to planning documents, is to provide a safe place for families to cycle and has been made possible thanks to a £423,500 grant from Sport England and British Cycling through the Places to Ride fund.

But the plans have prompted stinging criticism from walkers concerned the area will no longer offer a haven for a quiet stroll.

Kate Pittel, who is among those angry at WDC’s plans, told The Observer: “The development of Newbold has been a joke. There was no public consultation about turning that area over to one minority, high risk sport, which would naturally make it dangerous for other users, only some gentle surveys, the results of which were absolutely clear.

“People valued the views, the peace and quiet, the walks, the wildlife and the trees. They valued the safety of the space. They were largely supportive of a few extra cycle trails, which as far as any of us were concerned, were always intended to blend in with the landscape and make it even more appealing to everyone who loved to use it.

“There was no mention of a ‘facility’, no mention of mountain biking, no mention of carving out the landscape, digging trenches, building jumps, putting signage and artificial lighting up and changing the entire nature, look and feel of the Comyn. That was not what people wanted. So when we saw the cycle trail plans we were shocked by how extensive they were.

“The trails at Newbold Comyn, as evidenced by the support on the planning application, are now subject to hundreds of posts on cycling groups’ social media with many people eagerly waiting to bring their bikes by van despite the council telling us this was a local facility for local people.

“The council has ridden roughshod over the views of the community.”

A spokesperson for WDC said: “The development of the new cycle trails have been broadly welcomed by site visitors and the cycling community alike.

“We appreciate the patience of everyone while the construction is taking place and confirm that the site will be full re-landscaped once these works have been complete, ensuring that the ecological importance of this beautiful area is maintained.”

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