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Llandudno out of step with Welsh Assembly Government on Coastal Cycling policy

On the 9th June 2006 First Minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, announced the Assembly Government’s plans to improve public access to the Welsh coastline. Speaking in Holyhead at the official opening of Anglesey’s new coastal path, Mr Morgan said, "Our strategic agenda, Wales: A Better Country, includes a commitment to improving public access to our wonderful coastline. This will focus on improvements to existing coastal paths and establishing new routes benefiting local coastal communities as well as visitors.

"We aim for better provision for wheelchairs and prams. We also want better access for cyclists and horse-riders to enjoy our spectacular coast. In the long run we want to link up all the existing coastal paths on one all Wales Coastal Path. Such a path would be a tremendous asset to Wales, outclassing other long distance routes such as the South West Coast Path in Devon and Cornwall.

"The economic benefits of access to the Welsh coast are self evident and tourism is the major industry in many of our coastal resorts. But encouraging and enabling more people to enjoy physical recreation at the coast can also help in our efforts to become a fitter, healthier nation.

Rhodri Morgan shakes hand of Roy Spilsbury

 First Minister Rhodri Morgan with your editor, Roy Spilsbury, at the launch of an earlier cycling initiative

"A good deal of forward planning work will now be needed, as well as the co-operation of the local authorities and other key players, such as the CCW and the farming unions, to make this coastal access programme a reality. The partnership work which has successfully delivered the Anglesey Coastal Path is clearly a good precedent and one I am sure we can learn from.”

John Lloyd Jones, Chairman of the Countryside Council for Wales said: "The Welsh coastline is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty and wildlife. Better opportunities for everyone to enjoy our spectacular coast will boost public health and the rural economy.

"Last year, in preparing options for coastal access, CCW consulted extensively and found great potential for local people to work together to improve access that best suits local needs. We are looking forward to working closely with the Assembly Government and everyone who shares an interest in access to the coast to deliver this improvement programme."

Sounds common sense by any standard. But what's happened at Llandudno?

The National Cycle Route 5* has been brought to an abrupt halt at the end of the North Shore promenade by a Conwy County Borough council determined cyclists won't spoil the 'public's enjoyment of the annual Red Arrows aerobatics display, the Summer Bandstand, and the Annual Vintage Car Rally' (sic)! click

Never mind that cyclists might like to ride to these events themselves. And they include toddlers, the elderly and a smattering of folk with a range of disabilities: they are all expected to use the congested roadway which has barely inches to spare between the two lanes of parked cars and the contra-flow traffic. The fact that the promenade is deserted for over 90% of the year has not affected the council's decision Nor that cyclists ARE the public, and their numbers are growing rapidly with the opening of the Conwy Estuary Strategic Route.

End of route notice at Llandudno promenade

National Cycle Route 5 brought to an abrupt halt on the outskirts of Llandudno. Imagine a young family returning to their holiday guest house, pleasantly tired after a day's cycling. Are they seriously expected to get off their cycles and wheel them for at least a mile?

CTC Cymru is lodging an objection to the Council's decision on the grounds of social exclusion, discrimination and acting against the public interest.

*Sustrans, CTC Cymru's partner in the fight to gain acceptance of the National Cycle Network by Llandudno, has just received a prestigious award from the World Health Organisation for its contribution towards combatting obesity. For further details click  here.



And now contrast the chilly reception for cycling at Llandudno, with cycling on the Danube bikeway