Residents will soon be able to have their say on improvements to cycling, walking and wheeling routes in Barrow.
The proposals are part of ambitious plans to provide safe, healthy and environmentally friendly travel options across the town.
A consultation - which launches next Friday, 19 May - will invite views on various design options for the routes, which when completed will be part of a wider network that connects Abbey Road from Park Drive down to Ramsden Square, through the town centre and right across Walney Island from the promenade to Earnse Bay.
Two sections of the route will be consulted on from 19 May to 9 June; the stretch along Abbey Road and the route that crosses Walney Island.
The alignment of both routes has already been agreed, following previous consultations on the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) in 2021 and 2022, and this latest consultation will focus on asking for people’s feedback on the designs.
The routes will connect residential areas with major employment and education sites such as BAE Systems, Furness General Hospital, Furness College and the town centre, as well as allowing better access to green spaces and the coast, with leisure-based route options around the edge of town and on Walney.
The future for Barrow is looking bright, with millions of pounds of investment in employment, education and regeneration creating the most exciting opportunities for the town in decades.
Thousands of new jobs are being created at BAE Systems, £25 million is being invested through Brilliant Barrow Town Deal initiatives, including a network of new community hubs, major new housing sites unlocked and a new Barrow campus developed by the University of Cumbria which will be home to 1,400 students annually.
In addition, Barrow’s town centre is undergoing regeneration thanks to a £17.5 million Levelling Up Fund scheme.
The creation of a new network of safe and sustainable cycle routes is part of the Town Deal’s walking and cycling infrastructure project, to support Barrow’s expansion and improve connections between neighbourhoods and key employment and education sites, making journeys by bike or on foot easier, safer and more enjoyable.
The new routes are being funded through the Town Deal and the government’s Active Travel fund.
Councillor Neil Hughes, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet member for Transport, said: “These are exciting times for Barrow.
“Creating new jobs, building a university campus and unlocking new housing sites will all help with the town’s regeneration, but with thousands of new workers, students and visitors comes the potential for thousands more car journeys around the town.
“We need to think about the future and creating opportunities for different ways for people to get around Barrow.
“We are looking at travel options that are cleaner, greener and provide a safe and sustainable infrastructure, that we hope will appeal to everyone from the commuters travelling to the shipyard, students travelling to university, schools or colleges and families going out for a ride at the weekend.
“Not only will this avoid the roads becoming clogged up by more cars, it will make it easier for people to keep fit and will contribute to fresher air and a cleaner environment for all.’’
Steve Cole, chairman of the Brilliant Barrow Board – which includes Barrow MP Simon Fell and representatives from businesses and organisations, including BAE Systems, Furness College, health authorities and the CVS – said: “This network of dedicated cycling, walking and wheeling routes will make active travel an easier choice for residents and visitors.
“Our Brilliant Barrow Town Deal plan aims to ensure Barrow is attractive as a place to live, work and invest. We want to ensure that Barrow is a town for everyone, where residents can fulfil their aspirations, where young people choose to live, and where businesses can invest and grow.
“New cycling infrastructure will not only improve overall levels of health and wellbeing and contribute to a greener environment, it will also help to support economic growth and the many other exciting developments that can transform the town for generations to come.’’
It is the ambition of Westmorland and Furness Council to get more people cycling, walking and wheeling and that cycling, walking and wheeling should be the natural choice for everyday short journeys.
Cycling, walking and wheeling is good for our health and wellbeing, the environment and the local economy and supports Westmorland and Furness Council’s key Council Plan priorities on climate change, supporting sustainable economic growth and helping our communities to lead active, healthy lives.
The proven way of encouraging more of us to walk, wheel and cycle is by providing routes that are coherent, direct, safe, comfortable and attractive.
To encourage cycling, walking and wheeling, the council has established a cycling and walking programme to identify, develop and secure funding to deliver infrastructure improvements identified in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs).
The LCWIP for Barrow identifies and prioritises future improvements to the area’s cycling and walking network over the next 15 years (2022-2037) and the new routes being consulted on are part of that programme.
Full details of the consultation, including ways to have your say on the design options and information about public drop-in events, will be announced when the consultation launches on 19 May.