A target completion date has been revealed to build new cycle paths through the grounds of a popular Grade II listed site in Northampton.
West Northants Council (WNC) has recently approved its own plans to construct new cycle paths through the grounds of Delapre Abbey, which is owned by WNC
A WNC spokeswoman said: “Following planning approval being granted at the end of September, the plans were taken to cabinet for approval for construction to begin. Cabinet approved the plans on Tuesday (November 14). We are now finalising construction details with the contractors before agreeing a start date for the works to commence.
"The scheme is on track to be completed by Spring 2024, subject to favourable weather conditions.”
WNC previously said in planning papers that the new 1.3 kilometre traffic-free route, accessible for walking, wheeling and cycling, will ‘enable residents living in Far Cotton and the town centre to connect with employment opportunities in Brackmills Industrial Estate, avoiding hostile road conditions’.
The council say there are four key objectives behind the proposals: to support economic activity by increasing the labour market that can access employment; improve public health; provide access for all; and improve air quality by encouraging people out of private cars.
The council says it would build hard surface existing pathways through grounds of the Abbey to provide the cycle routes through the estate.
Planning papers say: "There will be no loss of ecological habitat. The paths surfacing will be safe and suitable for all users whilst complementing the setting in which they will sit.”
Independent councillor Julie Davenport (Delapre and Rushmere ward) previously said some residents have raised concerns with the plans, particularly dog walkers.
The councillor said: “We have always been able to walk our dogs freely in Delapre Park, a place where dogs can run and play without restrictions.
"This bicycle path will cause restrictions on daily dog walking because cyclists and dogs could cause accidents when not in control.”
There has been a mixed reaction to the plans from residents.
One resident objected saying: “I'm dismayed. Who on earth thought it was a good idea to use the council's budget to tarmac the footpath by The Abbey. There is no need. As a dog walker I look for places where the pooches can walk alongside me without needing to be on the tarmac for the sake of their paws.”
One person was fully supportive, saying: “The proposal provides much improved connectivity of existing cycle path infrastructure in the recently designated active quarter. The benefits to the local community in terms of improved health and wellbeing, access to green space, and local facilities are clear to see.”