Trial for new cycling and walking route comes to Southcourt, Aylesbury

The proposed Southcourt Active Travel Scheme

Temporary new provisions to encourage safer cycling and walking through a large Aylesbury estate are being installed by Buckinghamshire Council.

The improvements through Southcourt, which will connect into existing cycleways to give a wider choice of routes, also provide quieter and safer access for those cycling or walking around Aylesbury, including to and from Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The trial is one part of a programme of measures announced previously by the Council in July.

The £80,000 scheme will incorporate new cycle lane segregation measures, temporary road closures using decorative planters and new lining and signage. It will also provide improved links to some of the existing Gemstone routes and a diverted routing to overcome the existing severed Jet Way.

Part of the Government’s nationwide response plan to the pandemic, the three-month ‘active travel’ trials are designed to see if new travel options bring benefits to local communities, not only by providing safer routes for walkers and cyclists, but also making local streets quieter and air quality better. As well as supporting those getting to school or work, schemes also help people reach local shops or simply to get out and about more safely.

Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport Nick Naylor said that the recent months had seen increased levels of cycling and walking and that he had received many requests for new measures to support changing travel patterns.

“This is a unique and challenging time,” said Nick. “Adapting to life during the pandemic continues to have a profound effect on all our daily lives including the way we work, travel, socialise, get to school, shop and see our family and friends. Changing our travel habits is one of those areas that can really help in the fight against coronavirus which is why we think schemes like this will help.

“We’ve received £514,000 of ring-fenced funding to spend on temporary quietways in selected locations to provide safer routes for cycling and pedestrians. While we’ve written to local residents across Southcourt and engaged with Aylesbury Town Council, tight Government timescales have given us very little time to do any other public consultation, so we’ll be looking for views while the trial is in place.”

Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Sport and Leisure and Cycling Champion for Aylesbury Garden Town, Clive Harriss added: “What we are doing is using our best local knowledge to install temporary measures where the payback is likely to be highest. And potentially it’s not just improvements to encourage cycling and walking, it’s safer roads, better air quality, a quieter neighbourhood and health benefits too.

“We know there are pros and cons with anything like this, which is why everything being installed to create the scheme is temporary as part of this three month trial.

“What I am asking is that local people see how these schemes go, enjoy walking and cycling along the routes and, yes, be accepting of a little inconvenience potentially. The most important thing is to let us have your feedback. There may be elements we can adjust or tweak as the scheme beds-in and things we can add to improve the way the scheme performs overall during the trial.

Nick also added: “The local community has my reassurance that nothing will be made permanent during the trial and any proposals at the end will be fully consulted on before decisions are made. What’s important is that we give this a try and see if it works. If not, it will be removed, it’s as simple as that.”

The Council has recently ended an active travel trial early that connected Chalfont St Peter with Gerrards Cross, following feedback from residents.

To comment on this scheme and any of the other trial proposals across Buckinghamshire, please visit:  Comments can be made using the online feedback form.