RESIDENTS of Cotford St Luke will be given their say later in the year on plans to provide new walking and cycling links between their homes and Taunton.
The former Somerset County Council commissioned a study in March into new active travel routes which would link Taunton to the villages of Bishops Lydeard and Cotford St Luke.
The £50,000 study was designed to develop detailed proposals which could be delivered by funding from the Government’s Active Travel Fund, contributions from housing developers, or from the council’s own resources.
The new unitary Somerset Council which replaced the county authority a month later, has now confirmed further consultation will be carried out at a local level during the autumn, with the results being published by early next year.
Both villages lie to the north west of Taunton on two main commuter roads, Bishops Lydeard on the A358 connecting the county town to Williton, and Cotford on the B3227 which eventually leads to Wiveliscombe and on to Exmoor National Park.
Both roads see large volumes of traffic but have limited or irregular pavements and little cycling provision until they enter the outskirts of Taunton.
Bishops Lydeard has already experienced significant housing growth, with David Wilson Homes delivering 173 new homes on the Moorland Gate site on Taunton Road, at the southern entrance to the village.
Cotford St Luke will see dozens of new homes delivered in the coming years, with Hallam Land Management winning an appeal over plans for 80 homes and a takeaway north of Dene Road and a decision expected shortly on plans for a further 52 properties in North Villas, near Dene Barton Community Hospital.
While the two villages both lie on or near the West Somerset Railway, heritage train services only run between March and October, with occasional Christmas services, making it largely unviable for commuting.
The study will propose where multi-use paths would be located, as well as identifying land ownership issues and any potential engineering work which would need to be undertaken.
A council spokesman said: “We have commissioned a strategic outline business case (SOBC) for routes linking Bishops Lydeard and Cotford St Luke.
“This has been commissioned to fully assess how best to address the need to improve sustainable transport connectivity in the area.
“The SOBC is important because it will provide an evidence base to justify any investment, which often equates to millions of pounds in Government funding.
“We move to the phase of wider stakeholder engagement this autumn and hope to publish the results later this year or early in 2024.”
Delivering the active travel routes forms part of the council’s long-term ambitions within its Taunton local cycling and walking infrastructure plan published early in 2022.
The council recently attracted £1.5 million from the Active Travel Fund but has still to confirm how and where the money will spent.
Further details of the planned consultation on the Bishops Lydeard and Cotford St Luke routes will be announced in due course.