The wait for construction on Warwickshire’s high quality cycle scheme alongside the A47 Long Shoot in Nuneaton continues as the local authority has confirmed another delay to the project. While the scheme is still expected to proceed, it is now hoped that construction on the 1.4km route will begin early in 2024.
The County Council had said they hoped to be in a position to advertise the various required orders and notices in the spring of 2023, with delivery to commence later in the year. Yet with no public-facing progress evident by the summer, a new request for information was submitted which provided the updated timescales. Now, it is hoped that these orders and notices will be advertised in the autumn.
Behind the scenes, work has continued however. Where earlier in the year the scheme was still at the preliminary design phase, now engineers are finalising detailed designs that will be used by the contractor for construction.
While it is disappointing to see the timescale slip yet again, this time it does feel like the project is edging that little bit closer to becoming a reality. Yet there is still the hurdle of the notices and orders, which can invite objections. They will need to be considered by the Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning, Jan Metacki, who is on the record as being in favour of improving the county’s cycle infrastructure.
The schedule for the Long Shoot scheme has slipped on a number of occasions since the original consultation closed in March 2021. The original hope for construction that year soon slipped to early 2022, then summer 2022, then later in 2023, and now early 2024. Given this, it’s perhaps sensible to treat the “early 2024” hope for delivery with a pinch of salt. Though given the behind the scenes progress, perhaps hoping for work to start at some point next year is reasonable.
The scheme in context with Coventry
It is worth putting this development timescale in the context of what is happening in neighbouring Coventry, where the development of their schemes has been moving at pace in comparison to Warwickshire. There, two cycle routes have recently been built – Coundon and Binley – with extensions now planned for both, and a third scheme on Foleshill Road just recently announced.
Plans for the Coundon scheme (2.75km/1.7mi) were released in April 2020, less than a year prior to the Long Shoot plans, yet that scheme was completed last year. The consultation for the Binley scheme (6km/3.75mi) ran throughout October 2020, with construction having started by March last year.
Both of these schemes are bigger than the Long Shoot scheme, yet both have been developed in less time than it will have taken for Warwickshire to build this funded 1.4km route (not to mention the borough’s other cycle scheme linking Nuneaton to Bedworth, and Bedworth to Coventry which has been funded and planned for even longer!)
Updates on the Long Shoot Cycle Scheme can be found at fiets.uk/longshootcycling, including its history and a link to all related articles.