Renewed appeal for cycle lane planning permission
PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 January 2015
CAMPAIGNERS are urging a council to grant planning permission for a cycle lane so it can complete the 30-mile path after more than four years of wrangling.
The Strawberry Line Association wants to create a 30-mile traffic-free path from Clevedon to Shepton Mallet.
But it says it is stuck in a ‘catch 22’ situation, as its plans for a path from Cheddar to Wells have been with Somerset County Council for the past four years.
The council says the organisation needs to confirm funding before planning permission can be granted – but the association says it cannot confirm its funding sources it until it has permission.
Part of the line, from Yatton to Cheddar, already exists and the association’s chairman Paul Harley said the path to Wells is the missing piece in the puzzle.
Mr Harley said: “We are in a catch-22 situation.
“We can show them how we would pay £25,000 for it and raise £25,000 more for the maintenance.
“We can get the money to build the lane and we have proved we can.
“The path will be a boost for tourism, with people able to use the line as a link to villages’ cafes and sights.”
A Somerset County Council spokesman said: “We progressed the scheme as far as we could through the planning process in 2009 on behalf of the Strawberry Line Association.
“The association submitted a business plan with a list of potential funding sources in August 2010 with no clear guarantee that this funding could be delivered to secure, build and maintain the scheme.
“Without the funds in place, it would not be appropriate for the county council to progress this planning application while its delivery remains so uncertain.
“No renewed proposals to carry the scheme forward have been submitted since, and therefore the situation remains unchanged.”