Official records indicate that a proposal to introduce a cycle way between Wicken and Soham has been discussed and debated between Wicken Parish Council and Soham Town Council since 2012 A feasibility study paid for by Soham Town Council in 2013 and on the back of this quotes indicated that significant costs (in the region of £175K) would be incurred in providing such an infrastructure improvement for bicycles along what is a byway (113) and a bridleway (126) between the two parishes.
Due to its anticipated costs and the low level of precepts of Soham Town Council (210K) and Wicken Parish Council (circa £35K) demanded from residents the project was not financially feasible in its current thinking and was as concept was accepted for strategic CIL Funding (85% retention of Developers Community Infrastructure Levy retained by the District Council) and placed on its Regulation 123 List held by ECDC. However these quotes were for tarmac with little by way of road surface underpinning which due to the type of traffic that would use particularly on a byway which is open to all traffic types including heavy agricultural machinery any surface would be fit for all purpose but in the longer term not extremely hard wearing nor durable. Soham Town Council was also mindful that due to it being neither Occupier or Owner of the abutting fields to the byway (Cambridgeshire County Council Home Farms) it had no direct Responsibility or any ability to spend ratepayers money on such a project and its upkeep.
With these considerations in mind, Soham Town Council, embarked in 2016-7 on its part to introduce a stabilised and suitable hard core (sub-structure) along byway 113’s entire length (in excess of 3 miles) with the assistance of a local well known Farmer and Landowner knowledgeable of both the history of Soham but also with significant expertise in road and off road (track) related matters. The money to pay for this work was not added to the Town Council’s own rates demanded of its residents but rather from under- expenditures within its known running costs (existing budgets) and as consequence of this fiscal restraint (frugality) this work has taken some 5 years to complete. For some pictures of the surfaces and the difficulties encountered please click here
With the advent of COVID the use of byway to foot traffic increased substantially for recreational exercise and mental health use during those imposed lockdown(s) and became a source of resident complaint. The work was escalated and additional costs borne to complete byway with a suitable top coat and dressing.
For a photos of work in progress and completed please click here.
The work on bridleway 126 and to finish Soham Town Councils element of the cycleway to its parish boundary remains subject to a number of factors including obtaining permission from the adjacent/abutting Landowner.
In 2019 Cambridgeshire County Council applied for planning permission to extend North Angle Solar Park complex which would include most of byway 113. It is hoped that due to this large scale amenity introduction by CCC further improvements along byway 113 can be negotiated which Soham residents will benefit from. For more information please contact the Office or Councillor D Woricker email email@example.com.
In May 2021 ECDC Asset and Finance Committte under recommendation from its working party considered matters under the District’s bus cycle and walking initiative and approved feasibility studies and works at costs of £30K and 109K respectively into introducing cycle ways within the District which could include aspects of the already commenced works on the Wicken-Soham link by Soham Town Council.
A bid made by Soham Town Council to The Combined Authority (2022) has been successful, with the potential of match funding from ECDC, it will hopefully bring the 113 cycle route into being.