Fresh impetus given to campaign for cycle/pedestrian route from Saffron Walden to Audley End station

A LONG–RUNNING quest to get pedestrian and cycle links between Saffron Walden and Audley End station has moved up a gear.

A new group, Access Walden, is re-launching a campaign with the key aim of installing a route along Wenden Road. It is an idea that has been mooted several times over the last 20 years but something which has never come to fruition.

Now though, resident Jan Durkin, founder of the group, is stepping up the campaign amid an “urgent need” for safer walking and cycling paths around the town.

She told the Reporter: “This has been rumbling on for too long although there is real enthusiasm for the project. It makes no sense not to have a suitable path for both walkers and cyclists.

“Audley End station is two miles from the centre of Saffron Walden – an easy distance to walk or cycle – and with this link in place it would be possible to have a low carbon option of travel into London, Cambridge and beyond, or Stansted Airport for work or leisure, and for visitors to come here by train.”

Access Walden is pressing for:

? a speed limit of 30mph along plus traffic calming measures along Wenden Road

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? a dedicated pedestrian/cycle route along the side of the carriageway

? a safe crossing point across the B1383 into Wendens Ambo

The group is also calling for a speed reduction from 60mph to 40mph along parts of Sparrows Hill and Audley End Road, and a 20mph zone around the County High School

“Only these measures would be sufficient to give confidence to a meaningful range of people, from commuters to families, to walk or cycle this route instead of using the car,” said Mrs Durkin, who will be in the Market Square on Saturday with a petition to gage public support.

“We feel these improvements would be of great benefit to Saffron Walden.”

The campaign has the support of various interested parties including Walden in Transition, the Saffron Walden branch of Friends of the Earth, and national cycle network Sustrans.

However, the cost effectiveness of implementing such a radical scheme has been questioned.

Chairman of Uttlesford Futures Transport Working Group, Cllr Keith Eden, called for a “need to be realistic in this current climate”.

“Of course we are keen to encourage cyclists and walkers but with a scheme that is likely to get financial support,” he said.

“The other difficulty is the impact on motorists. We do have to tread carefully with what we ask for.”

Essex Highways was approached by the Reporter for a comment but has not yet replied.

WHAT do you think of Access Walden’s campaign? Is there another cycling/pedestrian scheme that is more suitable?

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