Cornwall's Saints Trails cycle scheme scaled back over costs

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Image caption,
A £19m cycle path scheme in Cornwall looks set to be scaled back after a council decision

A major cycling project looks set to be scaled back after a council scrapped some sections over costs.

The £19m Saints Trails aimed to put in place 19 miles (30km) of safe routes for cyclists and walkers in Cornwall.

Highways England, now known as National Highways, provided £17.1m with £2m set to come from Cornwall Council.

Plans were in place for four trails, but now two will be scrapped and one scaled back, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

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Image caption,
The Perranporth to Newquay scheme remains intact, with work having already started on it

Two sections of the trails - Trispen to Truro and St Newlyn East to Carland Cross - will not be created, Cornwall Council has decided.

The section from St Agnes to Chiverton Cross has been scaled back and instead of a dedicated route the council is looking at cycle paths running on existing road.

The Perranporth to Newquay scheme remains intact, with work having already started on it.

However, planned bridges, which would have taken cyclists over roads, have been removed from the route.

National Highways confirmed £1m of the money it gave to the council has been taken back.

Council leader Linda Taylor decided on Friday the authority would not proceed with compulsory purchase orders of the land needed for the project.

She said the council was "looking at what can be delivered in the budget that we have".

"I think it looks realistic that we can't deliver everything mooted at the start because of the cost."

Councillor Taylor commented that concerns about the delivery of the project had been raised by her councillors whilst in opposition last year, due to forecasts showing that it would not be delivered on time or within budget.

'Down to mismanagement'

Independent Councillor Dulcie Tudor, who had part of the trail running through her division, said she was "very unhappy" with the scaling back.

She said: "The scheme was always over ambitious and it has not surprised anybody as some of us had been raising concerns for some time."

Councillor Tudor also expressed concerns that the remaining parts of the scheme would not be as good as planned.

"We are left with something that isn't family friendly and isn't safe. That is down to mismanagement," she added.

Nick Aldworth, from National Highways, said it has a "duty to protect public funding and deliver safe and lasting benefits".

He said National Highways had "been in discussions with Cornwall Council for some months following ongoing delays" and "have now agreed changes to the route that will provide benefits to cyclists, sooner".

"This approach will also save around £1m against the original £19m investment, meaning it remains one of the largest cycling infrastructure investments ever in the region."

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