Posted on Tuesday 16th February 2021
Councillor David Williams, second left, inspects progress with (from left) Amey engineers Phil Keeling, Sarah Alves and Guy Pryer.
Work to make it easier for cycling and walking in Stafford and to complete the missing link to Route 5 of the National Cycleway Network (NCN) continues at pace.
The highways improvements at South Walls include the widening of the pavement to create a shared cycle and walking space as well as new crossings and improvements to the public area.
The latest phase of the works now underway on Cope Street requires two-way traffic lights to ensure the work can be done safely, with a diversion in place. This means the main access to the Riverside Car Park, including for M&S and Stafford Borough Council will be via Eastgate Street and then Cope Street rather than having to access via Bridge Street. The enforcement camera on South Walls will be reactivated during this phase of works which is expected to be complete by 6 April.
In addition to creating a safer area for pedestrians, once complete, cyclists will also be able to travel through Stafford using NCN 5 on a direct route rather than having to negotiate the former one-way street route.
National Cycle Network Route 5 runs from Stafford to Stoke-on-Trent, passing through Stone on quiet country lanes and on the canal towpath, which was recently improved in Stone.
Stafford also has good access to the wider National Cycle Network routes with the Gnosall Greenway (NCN 55) providing a route out to wider countryside.
David Williams, cabinet member for highways and transport at Staffordshire County Council said:
Our South Walls project is all about making it easier and safer for people walking and cycling while improving the look and feel of the town.
Cycling and walking are great activities that not only help people lead healthier and happier lives but also help to reduce congestion on our busy roads.
Once complete, the shared space and the NCN 5 will offer an excellent facility for local cyclists to enjoy, and I’m sure we will see many more people using the path to get to and from work or for leisure. Attracting more visitors to the county town and boosting business is also something we want to see and the new cycleway will help encourage more visitors and achieve this.”
Clare Maltby, England Director, Midlands and East at Sustrans, said:
Back in 2019 we undertook our Paths For Everyone review of the National Cycle Network and we were open and transparent about its shortcomings. Thanks to a £20m grant from the UK Government we’ve been able to work with our partners to improve the network on schemes like the South Walls project in Stafford.
The scheme will transform this stretch and make it easier for people to make smarter, healthier travel choices. Ultimately, the National Cycle Network belongs to everyone and it can help all of us to lead happier, healthier lives.”
The scheme follows public consultation in 2020 and is expected to be completed by May. To ensure the work can be carried out safely, the road will be closed throughout the works, with diversions in place. Access for businesses, properties and carparks will be maintained throughout the scheme. Similarly, existing parking bays on Eastgate Street will also be accessible for the duration of the works.
People can find out more about the Stafford South Walls Highways scheme here.