Dormice put the brakes on open­ing of cy­cle path

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Saying Goodbye - By Tim Collins

tcollins@thek­m­ It’s hard cheese for cy­clists who were hop­ing to use a new £1.2mil­lion path, the open­ing of which has now been de­layed un­til next year, due to the pres­ence of dormice!

We pre­vi­ously re­ported how the new cy­cle and foot­path link­ing Ash­ford town cen­tre with Park Farm would be open from this sum­mer.

Con­struc­tion has been com­pleted on the ma­jor­ity of the 1.6km ‘Green­way’ route, with the first sec­tion – run­ning from Asda su­per­mar­ket in Kim­ber­ley Way through the Willes­bor­ough Dykes – has now been built.

The sec­ond phase, con­nect­ing the Dykes to Park farm via the A2070 Ham­street Road, was un­der way but the High­ways Agency has had to halt con­struc­tion due to the pres­ence of the furry crit­ters in the area.

An Ash­ford bor­ough coun­cil spokesman said: “We were in­formed last week that the dis­cov­ery of dormice along the route of the pro­posed path ad­ja­cent to the A2070 Ham­street Road means the de­liv­ery pro­gramme will be slightly de­layed.

“The High­ways Agency (HA) will now need to ob­tain a li­cence from Nat­u­ral Eng­land and es­tab­lish an ac­cept­able habi­tat mit­i­ga­tion plan be­fore they can pro­ceed with the con­struc­tion of Phase II.

“This process is un­der way, but it will de­lay the con­struc­tion start un­til Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary 2014, putting the open­ing date for the path back to spring 2014.

“The HA ex­pects to have a land­scape con­trac­tor on site in Septem­ber un­der­tak­ing veg­e­ta­tion re­moval and site clear­ance in ad­vance of the dor­mouse hiber- na­tion pe­riod, which be­gins midOc­to­ber. They will not start con­struc­tion un­til early next year.”

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­

The cy­cle path and walk­way from Asda to Park Farm still re­mains un­fin­ished be­cause of dormice

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