Approval has been given for a £2.4 million funding bid for new cycling routes which could “transform the centre of Abingdon for the better.”

A successful bid would see funds allocated to improve the Abingdon section of National Cycle Network 5, which trails along the east of the town past Peachcroft before cutting into the centre across the A415.

Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet gave the green light to apply for the funding, from the government’s Active Travel Fund, in a cabinet meeting last Tuesday (November 21).

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County councillor for Abingdon North Nathan Ley said: “If we’re successful with this bid it will transform the centre of Abingdon for the better, for residents and tourists alike.

“The experience for people on foot and bike will be made much simpler when crossing from the market place towards Abbey Gardens or East St Helen Street, and vice versa.

“No more awkward waiting on narrow pedestrian refuge islands for a gap in the traffic. I hope the government gives us the funds to do this.”

The chair of Abingdon Cycling Club Jason Atkins, who leads the club’s members on two rides each week through the town and into more rural areas, was equally pleased with the potential changes.

The 51-year-old said: “Any designated cycling lanes or improvements to cycling lanes are a thumbs up from us.

“A lot of our routes take us over the A415, and we have to go quite early because it gets pretty busy. There’s been a few incidents where cars have driven very close to our members, while going very quickly.

“It’s unsettling. You don’t want cars close when you’re cycling. Anything that means we feel safer near the A415 is very welcome.”

Bethia Thomas, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, focused on the environmental benefits of cycling.

She said: “Good quality cycling routes are crucial to help reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and reduce congestion and we welcome active travel investment in our communities.”

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said specific details about the Abingdon cycle path improvement could not yet be shared, as the council is still in discussion with Active Travel England.

They added: “At a cabinet meeting on November 21 it was approved to submit bids for active travel funding, which include improvements to Abingdon national cycle network 5 (NCN5), cycling access between Madley Park and the town centre in Witney, cycle parking for staff at Oxford University Hospitals; and delivery of the School Streets programme.

“If successful, funding is expected to be received in spring 2024.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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