These plans need funding for them to happen.
This funding is infrastructure funding since it achieves so many aims and meets so many Government targets. So the Campaign needs the support of the County Council and the planning support of Babergh District Council so that funding applications can be made.
These funding applications fall neatly under the auspices of the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (hereafter CWIS) outlined in May 2017 by HM Government (See link below).
However although the Government announced £1.2Bn pounds over 5 years for Cycling and Walking Infrastructure projects the funding for CWIS schemes is meant to come out of Local Authority funds. Since Suffolk County Council spends less on Highways than any similarly sized County Council this source of funds from Revenue is probably impossible without direct Central Government funding, the current Government is intent on further reducing Local Government funding as part of it's Austerity plans, so Suffolk County Council is even shorter of funds. This circular argument needs to be resolved.
The best route for funding would therefore be the Local Enterprise Partnership and applying for funding. The problem this raises is that there is no longer a source of funding for this. There used to be a Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Austerity put paid to that highly successful fund in April 2018 (for those interested the following page has all the collated results of LSTF investment https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-sustainable-transport-fund#local-sustainable-transport-fund-research-and-analysis) There is no fund to replace it. The National Growth Fund could be approached for funds, however this relies on Suffolk County Council having an LCWIS for this area and there is no resource funding available to allow the Transport Strategy team at SCC to do this and it's competitive bidding so competition between Suffolk CC and Norfolk CC (who have a proper team in place for this) would mean such a bid is unlikely to succeed.
Quite pertinently the report issued by HM Government on Air Pollution in May 2017 (See link below), a week after the report on CWIS, stated that that to resolve AQMAs (Air Quality Management Areas) such as Cross Street in Sudbury, local authorities should use funding and the mechanisms outlined in the CWIS to alleviate traffic as this would be more affordable and quicker to implement than the alternative measures such as Low Pollution Zones (restricting access to streets for all but the most up to date and less polluting vehicles) and other measures such as the Sudbury Relief Road.
In Response to an enquiry on this matter, Jesse Norman responded,
In recent months, there have been further investments which seek to support
the CWIS This includes £220 million of capital and revenue funding through
Defra's Clean Air Fund up to 2021, This money can be used by eligible local
authorities to invest in their cycling and walking infrastructure or projects to
support cycling among employees.
But the funding gap remains.
John Grimshaw who architected the Bristol and Bath Railway path, has continued to work on other projects. His latest project which converted bridlepaths into a properly surfaced shared path costs the work at £100k per km for a 3m wide path. This informs us that the 4km stretch from Kingfisher to Rodbridge would cost £400k plus management/admin costs. As this is up to date we can use that as the basis for calculations for now.
It therefore seems obvious that Suffolk County Council and Babergh District Council should get behind this campaign as soon as possible and develop these plans (especially phase 1) so they can be implemented as soon as possible.
The current plans for the Chilton Woods Development to the East of Sudbury includes Section 106 funds for improving sustainable transport links from the Development to the Town Centre. This is to be welcomed, though with no prospect of interest from any Housing Developers whether this ever amounts to anything or is treated as an afterthought is doubtful.
In Long Melford a route is required from Rodbridge Corner to Little St. Mary's, the new development adjacent to Ropers Lane would seem the ideal opportunity to provide a route partially covering this link.
One other notion is that if some of the existing routes are resurfaced it may be worth investigating burying fibre optic cables into conduits beneath, access to these could be sold to Telecoms providers like BT Openreach and an access fee could go some way to paying for maintenance of the routes. This could also aid providing fast broadband to villages and parts of villages where it is currently missing.