Vow to fight plan for reduced cycle trail in Plymouth woods
THE chairman of a campaign group says he will "fight" controversial plans to build a cycle track through an area of woodland even though they have been massively scaled back.
The National Trust yesterday announced it will be submitting a planning application to Plymouth City Council to develop a new 4km off-road single-track cycle trail and increase parking spaces within the existing car park in Plymbridge Woods.
Initial plans submitted by the conservation charity last year proposed a café and 15km of cycle trails at the popular woods.
But they were met with a tide of objections and the Trust said its latest application has incorporated feedback from a series of public consultations.
Arthur Ainslie, chairman of The Friends of Plymbridge Woods group, which has been opposed to the plans since the beginning, said they would still "fight" the scaled-own version.
He said: "As far as the Friends of Plymbridge Woods are concerned we are all hugely disappointed they are still going ahead with trying to put a bike trail in ancient woodland.
"It is a scandalous waste of public money and the Friends will continue to oppose any mountain bike trails in Plymbridge Woods.
"We will be fighting their application and will be holding another public meeting to discuss this shortly."
Original plans were due to cost around £800,000. The National Trust told The Herald yesterday that the scaled-back plans would cost in the region of £400,000, even though they did now not include building a cafe, toilets or an additional 11 kilometres of cycle track.
A spokesperson for the charity said: "We have already incurred some of the cost, such as design and fees for the original plans. Money has, of course, already been spent on our original planning application, fees and natural environment assessments, the latter of which have been re-done for the new application.
"The cost of constructing the cycle trails is higher because one of the major concerns of the objectors was the dual use of a path by both cyclists and walkers; this will not now happen."
The new moderate grade cycle trail will link up to the existing Route 27 Sustrans Trail and can be ridden either in a 6km loop or as part of a wider cycle ride along the Sustrans Route.
The National Trust said they are looking to submit the plans to the local authority next week with a view to beginning building work early next year.