DCSIMG

‘Crime’ path to be extended

The end of the old railway footpath, towards Middlemore, Daventry

The end of the old railway footpath, towards Middlemore, Daventry

Controversial work on extending a town cycleway and footpath that is linked with crime is to get under way, 
despite police objections.

Controversial work on extending a town cycleway and footpath that is linked with crime is to get under way, 
despite police objections.

Daventry District Council (DDC) is building a 345-metre long extension to the existing route that links Middlemore to the town centre along the former Daventry to Braunston railway track.

The path currently stops at Drayton Park but the new section will link it to Farnborough Drive in Middlemore.

But the cycleway, known as the Black Path, is not overlooked and is linked to crime at neighbouring homes.

The extension, which gets underway on February 17, forms part of wider plans for a cycle network around Daventry, as identified in Northamptonshire County Council’s Transport Plan for the town.

Future plans could see the path extended further along the former railway line to the village of Braunston to allow access to the countryside.

Work on the path, which will include street lighting, is due to start on February 17. It has been designed and will be built for DDC by highways contractors MGWSP, with completion scheduled for the end of March.

Work to prepare the ground, including clearance of a small number of trees and scrubland, took place in February last year following an ecological assessment. Some of the logs and chippings were used to create and improve wildlife habitats.

DDC’s economic, regeneration and employment portfolio holder, Cllr Chris Over, said: “Once completed, this footpath and cycleway will provide a high-quality, convenient and much-needed route for walkers and cyclists. As well as being used for journeys to and from work and school, it will have tremendous health and recreational benefits.

“It will also help the environment by encouraging people to walk and cycle rather than drive into Daventry. With the ever-rising cost of fuel these days that will no doubt be welcomed.”

Known as the black path, the plans to extend the cycleway have been criticised by Northants Police.

Representatives from the police were at a DDC planning meeting in November to talk about plans to extend Daventry’s railway footpath. They pointed out the path would not be overlooked by houses or other areas busy with people, and the vegetation would lead to light and dark pools at night – issues that run against current policies and guidelines.

Sgt Dobbs said: “We suggested site meetings, but council officers judged these as unnecessary.

“It had previously been passed subject to police consultation’ even though it flies in the face of at least four accepted guidelines on the planning of cycleways. Between us we have to do better than this as we try to design out crime.

“We urgently need a debate on the safety of the Black Path and how the council should spend its money on this public facility.”

 

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