MP visits site of Bucks newest cycleway in Waddesdon

Minister Jesse Norman meets Mark Shaw, John Grimshaw and Paul Irwin on the new Waddesdon Greenway
Minister Jesse Norman meets Mark Shaw, John Grimshaw and Paul Irwin on the new Waddesdon Greenway

Government minister Jesse Norman visited Bucks newest cross-country cycleway in Waddesdon yesterday (Monday).

Mr Norman’s visit came as work finished at the weekend on laying the 10ft wide surface of the 2.5 mile shared footpath and cycleway.

The route follows the old Roman Akeman Street from Aylesbury Vale Parkway station to Waddesdon village and the manor.

Volunteers are now helping to build two bridges, fill and lay 3,000 sandbags for 25 culvert headwalls, and install fencing.

Mr Norman, whose portfolio includes cycling and walking, cycled from Aylesbury Vale Parkway to a point where the Greenway will deviate by more than a quarter of a mile to cross the line of HS2 when it’s built.

At this site Mr Norman met Bucks County Council deputy leader and transport cabinet member Mark Shaw and Paul Irwin, his deputy, to look at the HS2 alignment plans which, they say, give no consideration to the Greenway.

The council is asking that the ramps and bridge taking the Greenway over the railway be realigned to allow a more direct route, which has the approval of landowner Lord Rothschild.

It points to the Greenway crossing as just one example of where HS2 designs need to be changed to allow people to walk and cycle between towns and villages.

Mr Norman then cycled to the end of the route, to see the progress on the construction, for an informal meeting with Lord Rothschild. and to meet volunteers working to finish the route.

County council transport cabinet member Mark Shaw said: “The great benefit in talking to the minister on site about these HS2 crossing issues, is that he could actually see for himself how the land lies and how our requests make sense on the ground.

“I’m delighted we were able to discuss these with him to help work towards solutions.”

Cllr Shaw said the Greenway crossing was one of many key locations along the HS2 route through Bucks where greater consideration needed to be given to their designs for suitable routes across the line for walkers and cyclists to avoid the railway separating communities from their schools, shops and services.

The Waddesdon Greenway is a £1 million partnership between Bucks County Council, the Greenways and Cycle Routes charity, the Cycle Rail Working Group and the Waddesdon Estate.

The official opening of the Greenway route is due to take place in September.

The trail, connecting with other cycle routes and footpaths in the Vale is being funded by the Cycle Rail Working Group and the Department for Transport as part of a scheme to connect rural communities to their nearest rail station.

It’s also considered a ‘trailblazer’ route for an aspirational world-class walking and cycling network connecting towns, villages, urban centres, airports and tourist attractions along the HS2 corridor.