Shrewsbury could be in line for a £20 million boost to transform movement in and around the town after being selected to apply for the next stage of a Government funding programme.
Shropshire Council has been awarded nearly £80,000 to complete a detailed feasibility study, following Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Partnership’s application for “Mini-Holland” funding.
If the feasibility study and bid is successful, the council will be given up to £20 million to enhance travel options across Shrewsbury.
Councillor Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council cabinet member with responsibility for active travel, said the Mini-Holland funding could come at the perfect time.
“We are currently undertaking a major review into transport and movement around Shrewsbury, following on from the Big Town Plan Masterplan Vision consultation last year.
“This feasibility study for Mini-Holland funding will link into that work, and with so much research already underway on our shared vision for the future of Shrewsbury we are in a strong position.
“We look forward to working closely with our partners in the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Partnership to put forward the best possible case for Shrewsbury to be awarded this funding.”
Councillor Rob Wilson, Chair of Shrewsbury Town Council’s Active Travel Group, said:
“We are absolutely delighted that Shrewsbury has been selected for the next round of this funding programme, which would bring huge benefits to the town.
“We have seen elsewhere that providing high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure enables more people of all ages and abilities to choose active travel for short and medium length journeys. This would have a really positive impact on congestion and pollution across our town.”
James Handley, non-exec Director of Shrewsbury BID said: “This scale of investment would transform access to the town centre from residential areas, providing a big boost to local businesses, as well as helping to reduce congestion for road users.”
Philip Dunne MP for Ludlow welcomed the news for Shrewsbury, saying: “As we focus on greener and cheaper travel to slash emissions and address the cost of living, it is vital we provide communities with the infrastructure they need to enjoy active travel.
“That is why I am pleased the Government has chosen Shrewsbury as one of the towns best placed to pitch for a ‘mini-Holland’ active travel scheme as part of the Government’s longstanding commitment to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of walking and cycling routes.
“Providing the infrastructure to boost active, green and cheaper travel not only cleans our air but increases the choice of travel and makes it easier for people to keep active.
“I am also keen to see cycleways extended into rural areas to encourage both travel to work and leisure cycling in Shropshire for residents and to enable growing interest in cycling tourism in the county.”
The Mini-Holland scheme has been piloted in three London boroughs, which are being transformed into “cycling hubs”, equipped with high-specification, Dutch-style cycling infrastructure, designed to make cycling as appealing and accessible as it is in Holland.