Gorleston cycleway plans attacked

PUBLISHED: 17:22 07 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:33 03 July 2010

A GORLESTON resident has slammed plans to upgrade a footpath, calling it “pointless” and saying it would do nothing to improve the safety of young cyclists heading to school.

A GORLESTON resident has slammed plans to upgrade a footpath, calling it “pointless” and saying it would do nothing to improve the safety of young cyclists heading to school.

Alex Simpson, 68, of Warren Road, has joined in the already heated row over Norfolk County Council's plans to create a new cycleway between Gorleston and Hopton along Warren Road to ensure the safety of schoolchildren.

He said there was no need for a new cycleway on safety grounds because there had never been an accident since the existing route alongside the busy A12.

The retired businessman added that the A12 cycle path was well separated from the dual carriageway by a substantial grass verge which made it safer to use than the narrow, unadopted and muddy part of Warren Road where drivers found it difficult to squeeze their cars past each other.

The proposed new cycle path along Warren Road goes between the old Gorleston squash club and Hopton Holiday Village and was provided in 1996.

His other main worry was the prospect of the council laying concrete on an unmade section of the planned new cycle route, spoiling its rural tranquillity for residents who liked to walk their dogs. Walkers' safety could also be jeopardised by having to share the path with up to thousands of cyclists, he feared.

Mr Simpson, who lives with wife Sandra, was angry objectors had been portrayed as snobs when he felt they had legitimate reasons for not wanting cyclists using the private Warren Road.

He said: “It is just the pointlessness of it all and the cost. I am not exactly sure who is paying for this, but my first reaction has got to be that it is public money and the estimates show it could cost £90,000 to upgrade the path. Why have they always got to concrete over a nice country road? I like walking along that path to Hopton.”

Another objector, Sally Gray, of Kennel Loke, told the Mercury last week she was among the 27 voicing their opposition to the plans during council consultations, compared with 16 in favour.

She said: “It seems absolutely crazy to be spending this money on something we have already got.”

Supporters say the scheme would provide the schoolchildren with a safer route, especially during the winter months.

Mike Butcher, chairman of Hopton Parish Council, was one of those in favour. Last week he said: “It is a shame that objectors seem determined to attempt to scupper a worthwhile scheme that will potentially benefit thousands of people in the general area and beyond.”

The need for the path was identified in a 1996 Yarmouth cycling strategy to provide a convenient, safe and attractive route.

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