Earlier this summer, Powys County Council were unsuccessful in a bid for funding to expand and improve the existing Active Travel Network in the county. I raised this issue directly with the First Minister who committed to looking at it again and I am delighted that a letter from the Welsh Government has now been received by Powys County Council, which has confirmed that £200,000 of in-year funding will be provided to support Newtown’s Active Travel Network.
The Powys County Council proposals aim to develop an Active Travel Network which would see improved accessibility to services within Newtown through an improved public transport infrastructure.
Among Powys County Council's main aspirations are a shared use pedestrian and cycle route along Llanidloes Road to Dolfor Junction; a link path from Treowen housing estate to the train station; and improvements in pedestrian and cycle links between the railway station, town centre and the bus station.
A further long term aspiration for Powys County Council will be the construction of a cycle and pedestrian bridge across the river Severn which presents one of the main barriers to walking and cycling in Newtown.
While the Welsh Government's funding will not enable all of Powys County Council's aspirations to become a reality and additional funding will have to be sought, it is a welcome boost towards transforming the accessibility of Newtown.
This funding will now allow Powys County Council to make a start on putting active travel such as walking and cycling at the heart of planning decisions for residents and visitors to Newtown, allowing it to take advantage of the opportunities which the new bypass will ultimately provide to regenerate the town.