Plans to connect Dunmow's 'missing link' to a national cycle route are finally in motion - days before the Tour de France passes through Uttlesford
PUBLISHED: 10:31 03 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:31 03 July 2014
The wheels are in motion to finally connect the "missing link" of a national cycle route through Great Dunmow.
Campaigners have been working for five years to link up the Flitch Way through the town, with the aim of getting more people out on their bikes.
Now, with just days to go until the Tour de France – the world’s biggest free sporting event – passes through the area, the Broadcast can reveal the project to link up the path is on the brink of starting.
It will see a 2,000-metre bridleway put in place from Butley Lane to Ongar Road as the first of four phases. The work will be funded by Essex County Council and should be up and running within six months.
William Chastell, a member of the Flitch Way Connection Group and also Sustrans’ volunteer ranger for Uttlesford, said: “It is such an important link because Dunmow residents have this fantastic route on their doorstep but cannot safely access it.
“The Tour de France highlights the fact that young and novice cyclist really need to have safe off-road facilities in place and something like the Flitch Way is ideal.
“It will make people more health conscious and it will help them have a better understanding of nature. It will also help nurture young cyclists.
“Bradley Wiggins and all the other big names started when they were young, and the Flitch Way is perfect to get the young involved.
“It has been a slow process but we are finally seeing results.”
Dangerous roads currently surround the route through Dunmow.
In contrast, there is easy access for those looking to join the Flitch Way between Takeley and Little Canfield, and Little Dunmow and Braintree.
Members of the Flitch Way Connection Group, volunteers from Sustrans – a charity enabling people to travel by foot, bike, or public transport – the Essex Bridleway Association and Essex County Council have been working together to find a safe route through Dunmow to complete the missing link.
The parties have been consulting landowners to allow them to use their land for the route.
Dunmow Town Council member Trudi Hughes, who has been heavily involved in the project, is excited to see something finally being done – particularly with the impact of the Tour de France which is passing through Uttlesford, on Monday.
She said: “The Tour de France will put Essex on the cycling map and will be a catalyst for attracting more people. We need to build on this.
“It has been a really slow process but I feel we are really getting close now. I have to say the work done by Essex County Council and William Chastell has been brilliant.
“This link is really needed as it is so dangerous trying to get on to the Flitch Way in Dunmow, especially for young families.”
The Flitch Way Connection Group held a meeting with Uttlesford District Council officers, on Tuesday, to discuss the technalities of the second phase, a link between Ongar Road to Chelmsford Road.