Barrow active travel schemes one step closer to delivery

Man crosses bridge riding adapted bike

Two new routes dedicated to cycling, walking and wheeling in Barrow-in-Furness move one step closer to delivery as the Council prepares to start preliminary works next week.

Westmorland and Furness Council’s active travel schemes on Abbey Road and North Walney plan to encourage more active journeys across the town by connecting residential areas with major employment and education sites such as BAE Systems, Furness General Hospital and Furness College, as well as green spaces and coastal areas.

Following an extensive consultation period in May 2023, the council has now confirmed a scheme design in line with respondents’ feedback and the latest government guidance. The new infrastructure will create 2.1 miles of separate space for cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles on Abbey Road between Ramsden Square and the Park Drive junction, and a continuous active travel route on Walney Island, between Jubilee Bridge and Earnse Bay.

To prepare for construction of the schemes later this year, preliminary works will start week commencing 26 February, involving the removal of six trees from Ramsden Square, and two trees from Vickerstown Park.

Great efforts have been taken to produce a scheme that delivers the new cycling, walking and wheeling infrastructure that avoids impacting vehicle users and the removal of trees on the majority of both routes.

The council will replace the eight trees removed by re-planting 32 new trees in the local area and on the available space on Ramsden Square where possible as a part of the subsequent construction works. This is in addition to the 71 trees planted along prominent roadside verges including Abbey Road back in early 2023 thanks to the Local Authority Treescapes Fund (LATF) and the Council’s Environment Fund.

Later this month the council will also start to plant around 800 new native trees and shrubs on an urban plot in Barrow as part of a ‘micro-woodland’ project to create a new biodiversity-rich woodland habitat in the town.

The tree removal works as part of the Active Travel scheme have been planned to take place outside of bird nesting season to minimise disturbance to breeding birds.

Councillor Neil Hughes, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environmental Services, said:

“These are exciting times for Barrow, and this new active travel infrastructure will open the door for communities to access significant opportunities that are being created by millions of pounds worth of investment in employment, education and regeneration.

“Building a new network of safe and sustainable cycle routes will support these opportunities by improving connections between neighbourhoods and key employment and education sites, making journeys by bike or on foot easier, safer and more enjoyable.

"Careful consideration went into planning the route design to avoid the removal of trees wherever possible, however it is necessary to take out some trees in order to deliver continuous and safe cycling, walking and wheeling routes. While any tree removal is always regrettable, our long-term vision will create an improved environment for all to enjoy, with every tree removed being replaced with four new trees and the new active travel routes increasing safe access to clean, green and healthy ways to get around Barrow.

“We have balanced the necessary removal of some trees against the extensive tree planting that will take place across Barrow, not only as direct replacements but also as part of the micro-woodland and roadside verge schemes.

“The start of these preliminary works on the Active Travel scheme takes us one step closer on our journey to creating dedicated spaces for active travel, not only in Barrow, but across the wider Westmorland and Furness area.

“I am confident the creation of this new infrastructure will positively lead us towards achieving our ambition of getting more people cycling, walking and wheeling, and supporting our residents to lead active, healthy lives.”

Traffic management will be in place for crews to deliver the tree clearance works safely and efficiently during off peak hours.

Following the completion of preliminary works, the construction of the North Walney scheme is expected to commence in Summer 2024, and the Abbey Road scheme in Autumn 2024.

Councillor Tony Callister, Chair of Barrow Locality Board, said:

“I am delighted the preliminary works are due to get started next week which is a clear sign we are moving towards our goal of expanding our opportunities to cycle, walk and wheel safely in Barrow.

“It’s great to see that the views of residents have positively impacted the design of both schemes and I’m looking forward to seeing the new infrastructure being delivered later this year.”

The Abbey Road and North Walney active travel schemes form a part of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) which sets out an ambitious proposal to create a network of safe, attractive, and well-connected routes across Barrow-in-Furness.

Delivery of both schemes is funded by central government’s Active Travel Fund 3 and #BrilliantBarrow Town Deal which have ring-fenced monies to improve infrastructure that will encourage active journeys in the area.

Creating new active travel infrastructure is an essential part of the Council’s journey to achieving priorities on climate change, supporting sustainable economic growth and helping our communities to lead active, healthy lives.

More information on Westmorland and Furness Council’s Active Travel Programme can be found the Council’s website.

Related news