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 given nearly £80,000 to complete a detailed feasibility study, following Shrewsbury Big Town Plan Partnership’s application for “Mini-Holland” funding.
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.
If the Shrewsbury 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,” he said.
“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.”
Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman, who leads Active Travel England, the government's new executive agency, said: “This is all about enabling people to leave their cars at home and enjoy local journeys on foot or by bike. Active Travel England is going to make sure high-quality spaces for cycling, wheeling and walking are delivered across all parts of England, creating better streets, a happier school run and healthier, more pleasant journeys to work and the shops.”