On Wednesday 17 July 2019, Vince Cable joined the calls for the Strawberry Line to be extended from Yatton to Clevedon and from Cheddar to Shepton Mallet.
David Parkin and Richard Jones of the Strawberry Line Association guided Sir Vince through the cycle path, highlighting the progress made on the track to date. Councillors from Somerset, North Somerset, Sedgemoor, and Mendip Council presented a united front alongside cycle campaigners from across the county. Campaigners set off from Yatton and Shepton Mallet, meeting in Cheddar and Axebridge later in the day.
A cycle friendly extension of the Strawberry Line will aid commuters and encourage people to make healthy lifestyle changes. Cyclists currently use the extremely challenging B3133 and Kenn Moor Road routes when travelling to Yatton, these roads are not user friendly and deter potential cyclists.
Cllr Huw James, North Somerset Lib Dem Transport Champion, said “Cycle routes are essential for connecting rural communities, and in particular, they empower young people through increased connectivity, especially whilst rural bus services are being eradicated. I am proud that North Somerset Council has made real progress getting this project moving, and I look forward to other Somerset Councils following suit."
Sir Vince Cable, who cycled from Shepton Mallet, said: “I applaud the work of Sustrans and local cycle champions in getting these plans on track. The Liberal Democrats want cycle use to account for 10% of journeys by 2025. To do this we must implement the Get Britain Cycling report by creating a cycling budget of at least £10 per person per year, improving routes available and user safety.”
Notes to the editor:
Over 7200 people have signed the Join The Dots petition to complete a 30-mile path from Clevedon to Shepton Mallet. Readers can sign the petition here: http://www.thestrawberryline.org.uk/
The Liberal Democrat 2017 Manifesto states our commitment to implement the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling Report:
Cllr Huw James was elected in May 2019 and sits on North Somerset Council’s Strategic Planning and Economic Development Policy and Scrutiny Panel, alongside the West of England Scrutiny Panel.
Cllr Tessa Munt is the former MP for Wells (2010 – 2015) and has worked with the Strawberry Line Group for 17 years. In parliament she regularly called for the extension of the strawberry line: http://www.thestrawberryline.org.uk/reports/Press%20Release%204Dec14.pdf
The old strawberry line track-bed from Cheddar to Shepton Mallet is legally protected by Development Policy 17 in Mendip’s Local Plan. Additionally, Somerset County Council unanimously endorsed the Strawberry Line project in 2016 after being handed a 6,000 strong petition and promised to complete the Strawberry Line in 2017.
A new, improved planning application to connect Collett to Townsend Shopping Park has recently been submitted. You can see the planning application here: