New cycle route for Southend

Southend’s cycle path network is set to grow with the addition of Prittle Brook pathway which meanders through the city.

The current pedestrian footpath which runs along the 7.2 mile brook, much of it within Southend, is set to be adapted so it can be used by cyclists as well in a bid to increase the number of cycle routes in the city.

Parts of the footway will have to be widened to allow for the dual use.

Steven Wakefield, councillor responsible for highways, transport and parking, said: “What we are trying to do is extend the cycle network across the city to try and get more people on their bikes.

“We know people love their cars and I understand why. It’s quite awkward to implement other measures into our city to encourage people to get out.

“If we put the cycle network in it encourages more people to get on their bikes. I’m not anti car but at the end of the day we’ve get to try and facilitate a different form of travel. We only thing we can try and do is to try and encourage people to get on their bikes but we’ve got to put the infrastructure in for that.”

The scheme is set to be discussed by councillors at the traffic regulation working party and cabinet committee on Monday.

A report to the working party said: “The proposal is to convert and or widen areas of the existing pedestrian only footway to shared use cycle track.

“Certain short sections of the existing route will not allow for off road or quiet road use, so in these sections, a shared a use cycle track provision is needed to allow safe and efficient travel.

To provide this facility safely, it is intended that the existing footway is widen in certain places, thereby allowing an increased width for shared space to reduce the risk of conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians. It is proposed that once widened, the footway status will be removed.”

Prittle Brook is a tributary of the River Roach. The brook rises in Thundersley and passes through Hadleigh, Leigh, Westcliff, Prittlewell, Rochford and discharges into the Roach and then into the North Sea via the Roach and Crouch estuaries.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter