18th Apr, 2021

Plans to turn part of Newbold Comyn into bike track prove controversial

Laura Kearns 8th Apr, 2021 Updated: 8th Apr, 2021

PLANS to turn part of Newbold Comyn into a bike track are proving controversial.

Warwick District Council’s planning application to redevelop part of the former golf course has prompted hundreds of mixed responses from residents and cyclists.

The proposals include turning the old golf clubhouse and shop into a cycling hub and café.

But some users of the area say it does not need changing and already works for all.

Kate Pittel last year campaigned against what she says was a proposed dog ban on Newbold Comyn.

Warwick District Council says there were never any plans to completely ban dogs but to put dogs on leads on that part of the Comyn – something councillors previously discussed but decided not to hold a consultation on.

But Kate believes if the cycle track plans are adopted a ban could eventually come into force.

She is also concerned the plans have grown from a local biking track to a destination mountain biking facility, and has launched a petition calling for the council to withdraw the application.

Kate told the Observer: “The application calls the old golf course ‘disused’. This simply isn’t true. It’s very well-used by many different people – from families and children, to cyclists, runners and dog walkers. Many people are dismayed that the plans favour cyclists over all the other users of the old golf course.

“Last year, the council tried to ban dogs completely from the old golf course. This plan could see that happening again, almost by stealth, because one incident of a dog running in front of a bike would be an argument for them to be excluded. We feel that this is inevitably going to lead to further restrictions for dogs and their owners.

“Word has also spread like wildfire in the cycling community. You can take a look at the support comments on the planning application for yourself to see how many are from all over the country, saying they can’t wait to come and use the new mountain biking trails.

“This turns it quite clearly from a local facility into a destination mountain biking facility. The busier it is with visitors, the more dangerous it’ll be for local users and traffic and parking around the Comyn will be substantially affected. As such, we feel this application should be withdrawn and new plans should go out so that local people can have their say.”

However hundreds are for the changes.

One supporter said: “Cycling around Leamington is very dangerous given the high speeds of roads and lack of cycle paths, a dedicated safe space for local children and adults to build and enjoy their skills is a good idea. There is plenty of other land at Newbold for quieter walking.”

Another said: “This will be a fantastic local and regional resource providing a safe place for people of all ages to enjoy cycling in a car-free area close to town.

“The proposals do not limit the ability of anyone to use the space for dog-walking – and the segregation of uses will be safer and more pleasant for everyone.”

Visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk to view and respond to the planning application and to view FAQ about the cycle scheme click here.

Visit www.change.org/NewboldComynGolfCourse to view or sign the petition.

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