In April 2013 QE gave its full support to the Local Plan proposal to construct a Cycle Path from Cotford St Luke and Bishops Lydeard through Norton Fitzwarren to Taunton. Such a project tied in perfectly with our mission. It would:
- Provide greater road safety as cyclists are taken off that dangerous stretch of the A358.
- Offer healthier commuting to and from Taunton.
- Reduce carbon emissions through taking cars off the road; and
- Provide local communities with an opportunity for exercise and entertainment.
The preferred option was, and still is, for a pathway that runs alongside the railway line from Bishops Lydeard to Norton Fitzwarren. This is the most direct route, offers an easy connection for Cotford St Luke, and passes through attractive countryside.
We mounted a promotion in the area, received massive support, and raised funds with which to commission a feasibility study from Sustrans, the custodians of the National Cycle Network.
We had established several useful contacts with West Somerset Railway and local landowners when Somerset West & Taunton District Council gave the proposal its most welcome support. Progress will of course now move at the pace dictated by it, and that of the new Unitary Council.
In May of 2021 SWAT Executive Councillor for Planning & Transportation, Mike Rigby, gave the following encouraging update on Facebook:
“I have been examining the priorities as we move towards the reorganisation of local government in Somerset in the next few years. As SWAT will cease to exist, I am keen to progress as many key projects as possible. First among them is Firepool, where substantial progress will be evident on the ground this year. In addition, I am very keen to make progress on local cycle paths. My focus is on Taunton-Wellington and Bishops Lydeard/Cotford-Taunton. In ideal circumstances, the county council as Transport Authority would be promoting these projects but we’ve waited for years for that to happen. As a result, I have established, at SWAT, teams to push both projects forward. They have a dedicated project manager working with other stakeholders to advance the schemes as far and as quickly as possible in light of the limited time available. As the projects build momentum, I’ll provide a monthly progress update on here.”