Published: 20:13, 01 September 2021
| Updated: 20:22, 01 September 2021
Plans to build an enlarged cycle lane in east Kent are progressing "positively", it has emerged.
Kent County Council (KCC), the local highways authority, has stood firm with its pledge to invest £1.2million into creating a new scheme in Folkestone next year, connecting cyclists and walkers along the coastline into Dymchurch.
The 1.4mile route, spanning the A259 at Palmarsh to Dymchurch Redoubt, near Hythe, aims to encourage green travel within the area, making it easier to walk and cycle, along with the health and socio-economic benefits that brings.
Kent county councillors are expected to discuss the progression of the scheme during a virtual County Hall debate in seven day's time (Sep 8).
A KCC report published online earlier today said: "At present, the design team is liaising with the Ministry of Defence on the amount of land that would need to be dedicated as highway land and any restrictions needed for them to give their consent and approval. Early discussions are positive."
It comes nine months after the authority was first consulted on the permanent scheme, receiving a timely financial boost from Boris Johnson's government to support its effort.
The proposed route initially started from Folkestone Harbour to Sandgate Esplande in 2016 and is entering a new phase for the creation of a shared footway and cycleway in the east Kent district.
Under the Active Travel Fund provided by the Department for Transport (DfT), substantial grant funding was released by the government to finance the new project of around £1.2million last November.
It formed part of an £6million package for five schemes across the county, including some in Canterbury, Thanet and Gravesham.
Under its own plans, KCC chiefs are proposing to install shared use path from Palmarsh to Dymchurch Redoubt.
This phase will take cyclists through Ministry of Defence land adjacent to the A259 and onto the seawall.
It will "virtually" create an off-road cycle route from Folkestone to Littlestone-on-Sea, according to highways bosses.
Construction is expected to start in early October, with a build programme anticipated of at least four months.
The KCC report adds: "Early indications are that the Minstry of Defence will support the proposals and would prefer their land to be dedicated as highway rather than the land transferred to KCC which is an accepted method."
It comes a year after some routes, including pop-up cycle lanes and widened footways, were scrapped after causing controversy, due to road safety fears and concerns over detrimental economic impact on town centre businesses.
KCC's environment and transport committee will discuss the latest developments on Wednesday, September 8 from 10am.
A final decision will then be made by KCC’s highways cabinet member, Cllr David Brazier (Con).