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Cycle path 'will spoil' Woodgate Valley Country Park

 £728,000 cycle path through city nature reserve gets green light after challenge falters

UPDATE A £728,000 cycle path through one of Birmingham's country parks has been given the green light by an influential watchdog committee.

Committee members rejected a challenge from Conservative councillor John Lines who complained the path would ruin Woodgate Valley Country Park.

They agreed with Labour cabinet member Stewart Stacey that the path would be more attractive to cyclists and pedestrians and encourage more use of the park.

Cllr Stacey said that an alternative road route was not suitable. "This is about giving people the opportunity, with their bicycles, to go through and enjoy a green area."

It is part of a cycle network running into the city centre.

The challenge

A new cycle pathway will ruin one of Birmingham's premier natural beauty spots and encourage anti-social behaviour, it has been claimed.

Councillors in Bartley Green have lodged an official challenge to the proposed pathway through the Woodgate Valley Country Park and are calling for a rethink.

The £728,000 path has been developed under the Government-funded Birmingham Cycle Revolution scheme and will upgrade and widen an existing gravel track which follows the Bourne Brook. It will take cyclists from West Boulevard to Watery Lane.

But Coun John Lines (Con Bartley Green) believes the 2.5-metre wide path and accompanying signs and gates will spoil the park and encourage more off-road biking.

He said: "They want to tarmac through Woodgate Valley - a wildlife park - and spoil it. We are all for more cycling but they should not be paving over our park.

"We get the motorbikes and motor scooters are already enough of a nuisance and this will only encourage them."

Birmingham Post and Mail Coun John Lines
Coun John Lines

He added there was also no extra money for maintenance, meaning it would place further pressure on the park services budget.

"They have had all this money from the Government and are desperate to spend it," he added.

The counillor is calling for a parallel cycle route on roads along the edge of the park to be built instead.

A report to the council's cabinet states: "The Birmingham Cycle Revolution programme seeks to increase the attractiveness of cycling which will contribute to reducing car usage, improving health and the environment and improving connectivity for households without a car.

"Many of the proposals including this route through Woodgate Valley Country Park will also benefit pedestrians."

Designs for a cycle way along the A34

The Birmingham Cycle Revolution is investing a total of £30 million in cycle tracks, routes and even bike training, loan and giveaway schemes to increase cycling in the city.

Projects include upgrading canal towpaths and routes through parks as well as two cycle superhighways on the A38 Bristol Road and A34 Walsall Road.

The council's economy and transport scrutiny committee will hear from Coun Lines as well as the cabinet member responsible for the scheme when it meets on June 13. It will then decide whether a rethink is needed.

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