Businesses in Dawlish and Dawlish Warren will benefit from plans to extend the 16 mile Exe Estuary cycling trail into the heart of the town, along with other improvements in the Dawlish Warren area.
The trail will link up with Dawlish's railway station, which, with the line itself, has seen significant investment since winter storms in early 2014 dramatically severed rail links in the south west.
£1.3 million funding from Government's Coastal Communities Fund has been announced today (Monday 26 January) for the scheme, following a successful bid led by Devon County Council with support from Teignbridge District Council, Dawlish Town Council and Sustrans.
Flooding Minister, Dan Rogerson, is visited the town today to see the plans and to hear how local businesses will benefit.
The picturesque Exe Estuary Trail currently stops short of Dawlish town centre, having hugged the estuary from Exmouth around to the popular Dawlish Warren.
Cyclists and pedestrians alike have enjoyed the trail in sections as it's been completed, with the most recent phase, linking Turf Locks and Powderham, finished as recently as Christmas.
Now, with Government funding as well as other local grants, and including a contribution from development in Dawlish, the trail will be extended from Exeter Road into the town centre and rail station.
The scheme will improve crossing facilities into the main shopping and leisure area around the Strand and Lawn.
New cycle parking facilities will be created at the railway station and at other locations in the town and Dawlish Warren. A cycle hire facility will also be based at Dawlish Warren, and there will be new heritage walking trails, with informative interpretation boards along their route.
The vision for the scheme grew from a local 'Transition Dawlish' group, who first wanted to create the cycleway into the town's centre. And now with the funds behind them, the plans on paper will soon become reality.
For the town, the funding represents another building block on which to boost its local economy by attracting more visitors into the town.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling said:
“This funding is vitally important for the benefits it will deliver to local businesses in Dawlish, and along the entire length of the Exe Estuary Trail, by encouraging visitors into the town centre and at Dawlish Warren. The scheme is also important as part of the infrastructure needed to enable the planned growth of Dawlish, and for the increased levels of recreation, fitness and health, for local residents.”
Councillor John Clatworthy, Devon County Council's local Member for Dawlish, said:
"It is excellent to get this funding, working with our partners in order to extend the Exe Estuary Trail into the centre of Dawlish, creating the final link in this popular cycle trail."
Paola Spivach, Regional manager for Sustrans commented:
“We’re delighted to have secured funding to extend the Exe Estuary Trail through the Warren into Dawlish. Cycling infrastructure offers outstanding value for money, and one of the best aspects of this new route is that it will be a great resource for both local commuters and bringing in new visitors alike. We look forward to getting stuck in with the local community to make this happen.”