Frequently Asked Questions
- The key aims include:
- Encouraging active lifestyles and improving the health and wellbeing of the local community
- Providing safe and attractive routes for walkers of all ages and abilities, wheelchair users and cyclists, joining up Liskeard, Looe, Bodmin and the Rame Peninsula
- Encouraging the development of new businesses, including cycle hire operators and cafes, to help boost the local economy, secure existing jobs and create new ones.
- Encouraging more local people and tourists to visit the area all year round, increasing spending in shops and businesses
- Protecting and enhancing the historic and local environment
What progress has been made so far?
During the past ????? months Cornwall Council has been working with Sustrans and other partners to build on the work previously carried out by the local community to develop the proposed routes.
This work, which has included identifying more off-road sections and routes with gentle gradients to be more accessible to all, will help ensure that the project will meet the criteria to secure Government funding to deliver the final scheme.
The project team have also sought pre application advice from the Planning Authority, and are liaising with landowners who could be directly affected by the scheme. .
Work is now taking place to set up a Design Panel and an Environment Panel to continue this preparatory work.
The project team are also finalising plans to carry out a comprehensive programme of public engagement to seek the views of local people and businesses on the emerging proposals. The covid restrictions mean that this will initially focus on online activities, but will include face to face briefings, exhibitions and activities as soon as possible.
Once the proposed routes have been identified a series of surveys, including ecology, topography, drainage and ground investigation, will be carried out.
When will more information be available about the project? How can I see it?
Information about the projects is in the process of being uploaded on to a new section on Cornwall Council’s website. This is due to be available in March.
We have also set up a Looe Valley Trails section on the Let’s Talk Cornwall online community platform to engage with people in a virtual format.
We are also planning to launch a new Looe Valley Trails e newsletter which will be emailed direct to subscribers as well as being available on the Council website.
As soon as the Covid restrictions allow, we will be holding a series of public engagement events in the communities along the routes.
Why has the proposed route changed from the work that was completed by the Looe Development Trust?
As this is a major project which will require external funding, we have looked closely at how we are most likely to secure funding and how we can best design the project to ensure as many people as possible will be able to use the new routes once the project has been completed.
Government guidance (particularly LTN 1/20 ) requires new multi-use trails to be more inclusive through the provision of shallow gradients, and off road sections etc .
To ensure that our proposed design meets this guidance, and the business case meets Government criteria for the providing value for money, the current proposals include routes with gentle gradients which will be more accessible to all as well as some sections which have reverted to being on road.
What is the Looe Valley Trails project?
The Looe Valley Trails project is an exciting scheme which will create over 50 kms of multi-use trails in South East Cornwall for non-motorised vehicles.
The project will provide a series of walking and cycling trails linking Looe, Liskeard, Bodmin and the Rame Peninsula and is part of a wider scheme to regenerate South East Cornwall.
Its key aims are to support more active lifestyles; encourage more visitors to the area, helping to boost the local economy; and enhance the natural and historic environment.
What is a multi use trail ?
A multi use trail is a path which can be used by all kinds of people, not just by cyclists.
The Looe Valley Trails will provide safe and attractive routes for walkers of all ages and abilities, including parents with buggies, people with disabilities and wheelchair users, and horse riders, as well as cyclists, including e-bikes, and people rising scooters.
The only restrictions will be on the use of motorised vehicles.
Where did the idea for a network of multi use trails originate ?
The concept for a multi use trail between Liskeard and Looe was initially developed by a Local Project Group including the Town Councils of Liskeard and Looe, Looe Development Trust, Local Members, Liskeard Museum, and Sustrans.
Cornwall Council was then approached to take the project to the next stage with their engineering, design and business case expertise.
Subsequently responses at some public engagement events highlighted the wider opportunities to extend a network to Plymouth and Bodmin.
Are the routes already decided?
No, not yet
We have developed some amended route proposals and will be seeking the views of stakeholders and local people to help ensure that we make the best possible routes that suit the majority of users.
Ecology, land acquisition, engineering and cost could still affect the final design of the routes and the start and finish points.
Following consultation with stakeholders and local communities the design team will work towards finalising the proposed routes.
Even at this point the designs and alignments recommended by the Project team will need to be approved and then to go through the Planning process. This could result in further changes to the routes .
What are the aims of the project?
The project is part of a wider scheme to regenerate the economy of South East Cornwall.
Who is involved in the project?
The project is being led by Cornwall Council which is working with local organisations and community groups to identify the proposed routes and develop a strong business case to secure funding.
Are the trails part of a package of complementary projects?
The Looe Valley Trails project is one of a number of schemes currently being developed by Cornwall Council in partnership with other stakeholders to support the regeneration of Looe and South East Cornwall.
It sits alongside the creation of a new south east Cornwall cycle hub at the centre of a new network of routes which address the gap in the national cycle network. The aim of wider scheme is to mirror the success and significance of the North Cornwall cycle links, including the Camel Trail which attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year to the local area.
Other projects currently under development include the Looe Flood Defence and Economic Regeneration Scheme, the Forest for Cornwall and Looe Valley Heritage project .
What does the project include?
The current proposals are based around three routes, all connecting in the town of Looe.
Looe to Liskeard : this will be a combination of largely off carriageway trails with a linking section that will be on quiet country lanes. It will include two high quality loops which provide a circular route of around 4 to 5 miles in length. This will be an accessible route to be used by everyone, offering opportunities for health, engaging with the environment and enjoying what south east Cornwall has to offer. It will be at the centre of the new cycle hubs which are being developed by others at Looe and Liskeard.
Looe to Cremyll: this will be a high quality on road route for more confident cyclists and road users. It will provide a safe environment for all to enjoy the area and provide safe passage. At the Cremyll end of the route, there will be a 5 mile on road loop which provides an opportunity for those people that are growing in confidence cyclists to make use of a safe route without committing to a long distance.
Looe to Bodmin ( Bodmin Parkway and utilising the existing route afterwards) this will be a combination of on and off road sections and will include a number of existing trails in the area. The recommended options are currently being finalised to ensure best value for money is achieved for the route.
Many of the areas that the trails pass through have rarely seen humans, how can you safeguard the environment when you are putting humans into these places?
We are committed to finding the right balance between protecting the environment and encouraging people to get into their local, natural environments and improve their health and wellbeing and supporting economic regeneration.
The creation of the new trails will help to reduce the number of car journeys made, reducing emissions, provide health benefits to the community by getting people out of their cars, and increase access to the countryside.
Research shows that people care more for the places they can interact with. It is also important that people are engaged with protecting them.
We recognise, however, that some habitats are so special that they need to be protected.
We will be carrying out extensive survey work and working with the local communities to find this balance.
These will include surveys of trees; hedgerows; nesting birds; overwintering birds, endangered species; invasive plant species; dormice; bats; badgers; otters; invertebrates; water voles etc. Where necessary new Cornish hedges will be constructed, new trees planted and swales to provide drainage.
Why can’t you just close the Looe to Liskeard branch line and use this as a cycle trail?
Effective active travel uses a number of methods to help people get around. The rail line can help people to make different choices and use a variety of modes of transport to get to where they need to go. Prior to the pandemic, the data shows that train use in the area has grown significantly; doubling over 15 years and used by over 100,000 people a year more recently. This is also great for tourism in the local area.
The EIA screening opinion says that a full EIA is not required, how are you going to protect the environment?
Safeguarding the environment is a core objective of this project and we are doing what we can to protect and enhance the environment. Whilst the opinion is currently that an EIA is not required, the project team will be completing much of what is contained within an EIA for the benefit of the local community and environment. There are also other mechanisms that ensure that the environment is protected, such as the need to provide a minimum of 10% increase to the biodiversity along the routes of the trails. Many species are also protected by law.
Communities and Participation
How will I benefit from the Trails as a local resident?
The Trails are designed to promote active lifestyles, providing safe and attractive local routes where you will be able to walk and cycle, both by yourself, your family and friends and in groups.
As well as providing places where you can exercise, supporting your own health and wellbeing, the trails will open up access to some of the most beautiful and distinctive landscape in Cornwall.
My land is directly affected and I haven’t been contacted, what should I do?
We believe that all landowners that are potentially affected by the current proposed route have been contacted. However, please do not hesitate to contact us on the links provided if you think you should have been contacted and we would be very happy to get back to you.
How will the scheme benefit the local area?
As well as providing a network of new walking and cycling routes to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community, and improve connections between four major settlements in south east Cornwall, the project will encourage more local people and tourists to visit the area all year round, increasing spending in shops and businesses.
This will support existing businesses and help to create new ones, such as cycle hire operators and cafes, boosting the local economy, securing existing jobs and creating new ones.
It will also provide opportunities and funding to protect and enhance the local environment.
How can I give my feedback about the project?
We want to local residents and businesses to help shape the project so we can ensure that it meets the needs of all parts of the wider community.
We are currently not able to meet in person due to pandemic restrictions, however we will be providing information and updates at key milestones throughout the project via the Looe Valley Trails website and Let’s Talk pages, at exhibitions and events ( subject to Covid restrictions) as well as in articles in the local media .
We will be attending meetings of the main town councils, and Liskeard and Looe, Bodmin and Cornwall Gateway Community Network Panels to give updates on a regular basis. These meetings are open to the public. We will also be happy to give presentations to other groups on request.
We will be using surveys and online questionnaires to enable local people to give us their views on the proposals.
You can also give us your views via email at email@example.com
If you do make contact through the relevant contacts points, we would be happy to talk through other methods.
I am a local business owner; how will I benefit from the project?
One of the key aims of the project is to support the regeneration of South East Cornwall by encouraging more local people and tourists to visit the area all year round, increasing spending in shops and businesses.
The project will also provide opportunities to develop new businesses, such as cycle hire operators and cafes. This will help to boost the local economy, secure existing jobs and create new ones.
Will I be compensated for use of my land or disruption to my business etc?
There is a legal process for compensation for land that is compulsory purchased, or temporarily used during construction, and land agents engaged by land owners will ensure that the compensation package is accessed.
Wherever possible land acquisition will be agreed through negotiation with landowners. Only if absolutely necessary will the Council acquire land through the compulsory purchase order (CPO) process.
Reasonable legal fees and land agent fees incurred by landowners during the land acquisition process will be paid by the Council.
Anyone affected by the construction works or blighted by the trails when in use is entitled to compensation through a Part 1 claim. If you think this is likely to be an issue for you then please contact the Council Land Team who can explain the process.
What commitment towards the trails development has the Council offered?
Cornwall Council is leading the development of a number of projects to support the regeneration of South East Cornwall.
In October 2016 Cornwall Council was approached to provide design and engineering input to the feasibility stage of the project. Following the completion of the initial Feasibility Study Phase in November 2017 the Council’s Cabinet provided £1.1m of economic match funding to progress the design work and business case for the South East Cornwall cycle trails network in March 2019.
The Council also provided an additional £2.4m to acquire land required in the corridor of the proposed cycle trail to secure the route for the Liskeard – Looe section.
Why has it taken so long to get information about the trails communicated
The usual approach to communicating and engaging with communities at this stage of a project would to meet people in person at public exhibition events and potentially going door to door. Unfortunately, the restrictions associated with the pandemic have hugely limited this. As such we have been engaging with landowners that are direct impacted first. This has led to a delay and we are now engaging as best we can through virtual forms until we are able to liaise in person.
Can I ride my horse on the trails when created?
Yes you can. These trails are intended to be for all and we want people to ensure safe, active journeys.
Why has a planning application been submitted prior to engaging with the communities?
A planning application has not been submitted. A request to the planning authority for its opinions on the project and likely documentation required as part of a planning application at a later date has been requested. This was to inform the way in which the design would be developed.
How will the trails be maintained once they are in place ?
The Highways Department of Cornwall Council will be responsible for the long-term maintenance.
Community groups and other volunteers will be encouraged to assist in maintaining the routes close to their communities.
Users will be expected to take their rubbish home. We will also be talking with parish and town councils about the provision of litter bins.
Why is it taking so long to develop the project?
It is certainly true that the project has been in development for some time, with the Local Project Group previously involved in developing the scheme.
As this is a major scheme which will require external funding, a strong business case needs to be developed to support bids for Government and other sources of funding.
Following Cornwall Council's involvement in the project, the team have been building on the work previously carried out by the Local Project Group to develop the business case to ensure that the project will meet the criteria for accessing Government funding. This has involved identifying more off-road sections and routes with gentle gradients to be more accessible to all.
Work is continuing to develop the business case and the proposed routes. This will involve a comprehensive programme of engagement with partners, stakeholders and the wider public in the Spring to seek their views on the proposals.
If funding is obtained, the Planning Application process will then need to be followed. This will run alongside the surveys required to obtain permission. Land acquisition will also need to be agreed with the landowners.
I am concerned that motorbikes will use the trails and create an unsafe environment, what are you doing to prevent this from happening?
This is not something that we can completely avoid, however there are lots of good examples that we can utilise to develop our project to deter improper use of the trails. We will also establish a code of conduct for the trails to make the use of the trails undesirable for motorised vehicles as it can be used to enforce against this. We will continue to consider this through the design of the project
Will there be a bridge across the West Looe River to Trenant Point?
No. The project wanted to undertake a study of how the Looe loop section of the trails might cross the river in the area of the Millpool car park and to learn of what constraints there were in the area. Feedback from the community and local groups has been very informative and has led to a decision to not continue with this study.
Why can’t cyclists just use the roads and not spend the money on them?
These are multi-use trails and whilst cyclists will no doubt use them, they are being created to provide a safe environment for everyone to use. As long as you can self-propel, you are welcome; by foot, bike, scooter, horse, or hop !
We want people to explore their local environments for the benefits of health and wellbeing, and increased interested in the natural environment. E-bikes and comparable forms of transport would be allowed. These trails also bring increased opportunity for local businesses, including tourism.
Will you be providing Motorhome/Campervan parking as part of this project? And will it be overnight parking provision?
This is something that has only recently been brought to our attention as something that people would like to see part of the project. We will commit to reviewing how this could form part of the project and work with our partners in the hub locations on the feasibility of this request.