In early October 2023, the Friends of Wharfedale Greenway (FoWG) launched a survey aimed at capturing public opinion on development of the proposed Wharfedale Greenway. In five weeks over 1000 people have responded so far.
The responses to date have been mainly positive, with 85% strongly support, 10% support and a small number are not sure or do not support. The support expressed in the survey is very positive such as a fantastic opportunity for car free recreation and travel, great way to connect the valley and provide new opportunities.
Reservations expressed in the survey focus on potential connections to communities, user conflict, surfacing and maintenance and challenges with developing the route. The group says any issues raised will be fed back to local and district councils who are the decision makers, and ultimately responsible for developing the greenway.
Colm McCann Chair of Friends of Wharfedale Greenway told Rombalds Radio: “The response to this questionnaire has been fantastic and exceeded expectations. It has provided a way to capture public support for the greenway and an opportunity for people to voice their concerns. It has also provided us with a communication channel to expand our support base, reach out to new audiences and has created lots of offers of support to our Friends group.
“One thousand responses to a survey, in a relatively short period of time, is a great success however we are aware that it is a small sample of the population along the proposed greenway route. For this reason, we propose to keep the survey open until at least mid-December. This survey provides very useful information on how people will potentially use the route and key considerations for design. The data gathered will be used to inform the FoWG campaign, and to provide useful evidence and information to the Greenway Steering Committee to support preparation of business cases and funding bids for developing various phases of the Greenway.
“We are keen to hear from several groups. Potential users of the greenway for utility or commuting journeys, particularly if the greenway would enable you to adopt active travel modes (walking, cycling or running as part of a commute) and the opportunities that would provide. This is especially true for Otley residents who commute to neighbouring train stations to understand their journey patterns. The survey is open to all individuals therefore more than one household member can respond, and we are keen to hear from young people as the future users of the greenway. Anyone who has reservations about the proposed greenway can document their thoughts in the comments section of the survey.”
FoWG is a community group that supports and promotes the Wharfedale Greenway – a proposed 13-mile (approx.) traffic-free route from Pool-in-Wharfedale to Bolton Bridge via Otley, Burley, Ben Rhydding, Ilkley and Addingham. Work to deliver the Greenway is managed by the Greenway Steering Committee which has representatives from town and parish councils along the proposed route with representatives from district councils and other stakeholders.