The aim of the project is to implement a new, off-road, shared use path for walkers, cyclists, disabled users and horse riders along the disused railway line between Bourne End and High Wycombe. The route will provide a safe, rural route for leisure use, commuting and travelling to school, potentially benefitting a vast proportion of the local population. It is hoped that by encouraging more people to use the route, there will be a subsequent decrease in car use locally, causing positive benefits to congestion levels and the environment, as well as encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles.
This has been an aspiration of both the County and District Councils and local residents for many years. Since at least July 2000 the project has been included in local policy and strategy documents, including the Local Transport Plan, Wycombe Plan, Green Infrastructure Strategy and WDC Delivery and Site Allocations (DSA) Plan Document. The public have also demonstrated their support of the project over this time, for example there was a public consultation on the proposals in 2007 through which 85% of respondents were in favour of the scheme, with 83% stating that they would use the route if it were implemented. A petition was submitted to the County Council in June 2013 requesting that the proposed scheme be progressed and implemented as soon as possible, and well over 100 letters have been received by the District Council further showing the strength of local feeling towards the project.
Due to complexities with acquiring land and the length of the route, progression of the project has taken some time. It will need to be implemented in stages as and when funding becomes available. Sustrans (the sustainable travel charity) are progressing the background investigatory work for the project which will help to support future funding bids.
Currently the main focus is on Stage 1 which is the section from Bourne End to Wooburn Green. A Public Bridleway Creation Order (BCO) is being progressed to permit walkers, cyclists and horse riders to use the route. Dependant on the outcome of the BCO, funding has been secured through developer contributions to fund this Stage which is hoped to be implemented towards the end of 2015 / early 2016.
Stage 1 – Bourne End to Wooburn Green
- Bridleway Creation Order (BCO) currently being progressed
- Dependent on outcome of BCO, it is hoped that the route will be completed at the end of 2015 / early 2016
Stage 2 – Wooburn Green to High Wycombe
- Background investigatory work underway
- Will be implemented when funding becomes available