Pedestrian and cycle path between Saffron Walden and Audley End station one step closer as people’s views sought on route options

THE creation of a safe cycle and pedestrian route between Saffron Walden and Audley End station moves closer this week as campaigners prepare to put on a public exhibition of route options.

The exhibition will be held in Saffron Walden Town Hall from 9am–5pm on September 22, 25 and 29, and will present four route options:

• Widening Wenden Road to accommodate a separate pedestrian and cycle path that runs alongside the road

• A pedestrian and cycle path largely alongside the road and running partly through adjacent land in places where the road is too narrow to accommodate the path

• The closure of Wenden Road to all motor traffic, except local access for farm workers, businesses and residents

• Making Wenden Road one-way, with one lane allocated for motor traffic and the other lane dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians

The exhibition is a chance for people to hear more about the merits of a safe route, consider the different options, ask questions, and ultimately give their feedback and views. Campaigners will be on hand to explain the options and take questions.

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For the last 18 months campaigners have been raising awareness amongst current and potential road-users and local and county representatives of the pressing need for a safe and attractive route along Wenden Road, and of the significant safety, health, economic and environmental benefits that it can bring.

In response, over 3,000 people have signed a petition calling for a safe pedestrian/cycle route between Saffron Walden and Audley End station, and last October nearly 1,000 people turned out to ‘ride and ramble’ along the Wenden Road in support of a dedicated route.

Access Walden spokesman, James Savage, said: “This exhibition marks an important point in the process to develop a viable and affordable proposal that has broad-based community support. We have looked at numerous route designs and boiled it down to four which we wish to present for public feedback.

We believe that a pedestrian and cycle path that uses one side of Wenden Road segregated from one-way motor traffic on the other will achieve a safe and attractive route, at low cost and within a reasonable time-scale, and balances the needs and concerns of motor vehicle users, cyclists and pedestrians. However, we need local residents to come and show their support and give us their views.”

The exhibition is organised by Access Walden and Wenden Road Action Group, who have developed route options having undertaken a design study with input from Essex County Council in recent months.

Nigel Brigham, East of England Regional Director of Sustrans, the national charity promoting sustainable transport, has backed the campaign, saying: “Sustrans is very keen to see improved links for walkers and cyclists between Audley End Station and Saffron Walden. Saffron Walden is in a highly unusual situation having a station remote from the town.

“The journey should be an easy cycle ride, so we very much support measures to improve Wenden Road for walking and cycling.

“As well as the local benefits Sustrans would like to see the National Cycle Network linked into Saffron Walden – something that has been discussed for many years – this is a great opportunity to do this.“

• Additional attractions on some dates include: the Olympic torch, a cycle surgery, and face-painting. There will also be a stall in the Market Square this Saturday (September 15) to promote the exhibition.

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