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New cycle paths for community park

The new Derriford Community Park is set to become home to a network of cycle paths.

Plans show exciting designs for an upgrade to the old tramway running through the Forder Valley Local Nature Reserve, which will link Longbridge Road to the new Forder Valley Link Road scheme.

A second part will create a brand new, high quality walking and cycling route along the Seaton Valley linking between Crownhill and Poole Farm and Forder Valley Road.

Future plans involve a link from the community park to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth Science Park and Brest Road.

The scheme has been submitted for planning approval with a decision expected to be reached by the end of March.

Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet member for Street Scene and Environment, said: “What excites me most about these plans is that they will make some of the city’s most beautiful green space so much more accessible.

“This is just the start for Derriford Community Park - there is so much more to come and I’m really looking forward to being involved.”

Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet member for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure, added: “People will look at the Forder Valley Link Road and think of its strategic importance but for me, investments in sustainable transport infrastructure like this are equally, if not more vital to the future success of our city.”

Derriford Community Park is a 147 hectares greenspace in the north of the city, south of Derriford Hospital. It contains a large area of previously inaccessible farmland, and three designated Local Nature Reserves - Forder Valley, Bircham Valley and Seaton and Lower Bircham Valley. Poole Farm is also at its heart.

The design of the new paths has been carefully considered and aligned with the Local Nature Reserve management plan to avoid impact on sensitive habitats. It uses a no-dig approach to avoid impact on tree roots but despite this, up to 161 trees will require removal.

All high-quality trees have been avoided and 20% of the trees ear-marked for removal are Ash and because of Ash Dieback, would need to have been proactively removed and replaced as part of our current programme for Ash Dieback Management.

In mitigation, over 1,000 new trees will be planted within the Community Park to mitigate against trees impacted as part of the cycle path build.

This is in addition to the 5,000 new trees that have been already planted in the park over the past two years. Over 9,000 volunteer hours have been given to the project to date and the community are invited to visit the park through Poole Farm’s volunteer and events programme.

The new network of paths is being funded by a £1.7m Transforming Cities Fund grant from the Department for Transport.

If planning is approved, work will be begin this autumn.