Preparation work for a 2.3km cycleway in Wimborne and Colehill has commenced marking the start of the first sustainable infrastructure scheme to be built in south east Dorset through Transforming Travel’s £100m+ Transforming Cities Fund1.
BCP Council and Dorset Council were one of 12 city regions2 in England to secure a share of the government’s Transforming Cities Fund based on its commitment to driving economic growth through investment in public sustainable transport. It forms a major part of the region’s Transforming Travel3 programme promoting sustainable travel.
A series of walking and cycling improvements along Leigh Road and Wimborne Road West will enable more sustainable journeys and expand the travel choices available to people living and working in the area. Plans include:
- a new, largely segregated* 2.3km two-way cycleway along Leigh Road/Wimborne Road West between the junction with Brook Road and Canford Bottom roundabout which will provide a protected route for people on bikes.
- new ‘parallel crossings’ on Leigh Road (west of Old Ham Lane and west of Hayes Lane) allowing both pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road safely. These innovative crossings will be the first of their type in the Dorset Council area.
- reducing the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph (from Canford Bottom roundabout to Brook Road) to make the road safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
- junction improvements along Leigh Road giving priority to people walking and cycling around the area.
- additional green space and planting including new trees
Preparation is now underway; work on the ground, due to start in January and complete in Autumn 2021, will be delivered by Dorset Council. It will be rolled out in 400 metre sections to minimise disruption to the public.
The cycleway will link with existing National Cycle Networks (via the Castleman Trailway) and other proposed Transforming Travel schemes to provide a continuous, attractive network for cyclists wishing to cycle to key destinations in Dorset.
Councillor Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment at Dorset Council said:
“This exciting and much-needed investment in sustainable infrastructure in Wimborne will transform local travel options, connecting people safely to local jobs and education while also helping to reduce carbon emissions. Currently, there is no traffic-free cycle provision along the 40mph Leigh Road. Cyclists must either travel on the busy road – which carries over 12,000 vehicles a day – or illegally use the pavements. The improvements planned at Leigh Road are part of our ambition to make south east Dorset a cleaner, greener, healthier place to live, work, and do business.”
James Cleeton, Director for the south of England at Sustrans, said:
“It’s great to see this project moving forwards. Creating a new path for walking and cycling that’s separated from the traffic on this busy road will fill the gap on this popular route. As a key corridor linking schools and businesses with residential areas, the path will enable more people to travel actively to work or school and enjoy all the benefits that brings. Filling this gap on the National Cycle Network will help us to move one step closer to fulfilling our ambition of creating a network of paths that really is for everyone.”
For further information about the improvements along Leigh Road and Wimborne Road West go to dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/leigh-road-scheme.
Further details and imagery
* Some sections are shared walk/cycleways.
As part of Sustran’s National Cycle Network review (2018), Leigh Road / Wimborne Road West was identified as an important local corridor linking schools and businesses that could be a potential location for cycle and walking improvements. Early consultation was held in July 2019, where four public engagement events were held around the area, alongside a stakeholder meeting with members of Dorset Council and key organisations This provided overall comments on the cycling and walking provisions and initial design suggestions. Consensus from the events was that improvements were desperately needed to link up existing routes, and a need to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists along the route.
1 Transforming Cities Fund
The Transforming Cities Fund aims to improve productivity and spread prosperity through investment in public and sustainable transport in some of the largest English city regions.
BCP Council and Dorset Council secured £79 million through the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) in March 2020. Local contributions from both councils, developers, bus companies and bike share operators has created a total programme value for south east Dorset of £102 million.
BCP Council and Dorset Councils are working in partnership with Public Health Dorset, More Bus, Yellow Buses, Beryl Bikes, Cycling UK, Sustrans, Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth to deliver this extensive programme from 2020 to 2023.
2 The combined populations of BCP Council and Dorset Council enabled a joint application for city region funding.
3 Transforming Travel
BCP Council and Dorset Council’s Transforming Travel programme promotes changes in the way that people travel in the area. The Transforming Cities Fund is one of the first programmes to be delivered under Transforming Travel and will be the largest sustainable transport infrastructure improvement programme ever seen in south east Dorset.
For more information go to www.transformingtravel.info