Pedal power appears to have ensured Preston’s Guild Wheel is protected from development.Advertisement
The 21-mile circular cycle route around the city has become a popular attraction for cyclists in the city and beyond.
Fears had been raised new housing developments in the North of the city may threaten its route.
A petition set up calling on local authorities to ensure the route is maintained has secured a pledge from Lancashire County Council to keep cyclists and their route safe.
Leader of the county council Jennifer Mein said: “We’re very proud of the success of the Guild Wheel, and the way it has been embraced by people of all ages as an opportunity to enjoy cycling and walking in a safe environment.
“In the short time since the Guild Wheel opened, we have worked alongside partners including Preston City Council and the Guild Wheel Users Group to maintain and improve the route and the links to it, to encourage more people to use it.
“This is already underway with proposals being developed through the Preston and South Ribble City Deal to improve links into the Guild Wheel from Cottam and Preston city centre, and resurface part of the existing route which is currently unsurfaced.
“The county council is keenly aware of the need to upgrade transport networks as the central Lancashire area develops, and our transport masterplan published in 2013 provides a basis for this by setting out how we will work with district councils and developers to deliver these improvements.”
Related: Quickest way out of Preston by bike?
Campaigners had battled housing developers who want to build homes off D’urton Lane, which is part of the route, and found county council’s highways department joining the objections.
The county council has called for strict conditions on improving cycling and walking facilities as part of the development and ensuring CCTV is fitted in the area. The Persimmon Homes plan for D’urton Lane were resubmitted last month.
Cabinet member for highways and transport county councillor John Fillis has also said the upcoming Broughton Bypass construction will be done with minimal disruption to the Guild Wheel route.
He said: “There will be extra traffic on some quiet roads in the short term while new housing and supporting infrastructure such as highway and utility upgrades is being constructed. But in the longer term when work is finished we’re planning for these roads to become as quiet as they were before.
“While construction takes place we’re recommending measures to ensure safety is not compromised and is controlled through the developer satisfying requirements of planning conditions attached to any permission granted. In the longer term we propose to use funding provided by developers to improve existing cycling and walking facilities so that the end result is an improvement on what we have at the moment.”
Related: Guild Wheel survey shows rift between cyclists and walkers on route
The petition, begun in January, has attracted nearly 10,000 supporters and claims 100,000 people use the Guild Wheel each year.
What do you think of the county council’s pledge? Have you used the Guild Wheel? Let us know in the comments below