Tourism boost hopes with transport study

Denver Sluice by Phil Bancroft ANL-150325-165653001
Denver Sluice by Phil Bancroft ANL-150325-165653001
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A new study has been launched to find ways of encouraging people to leave their cars at home and enjoy West Norfolk’s stunning landscapes.

Peter Bates is examining the area’s public transport links in a bid to draw people from nearby cities to walk and cycle around the area.

Mr Bates, of PJB Associates, will be looking at the viability of current transport links along with working with others to develop new options.

He has been given a £1,500 grant from the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership, which aims to promote the Norfolk and Cambridgeshire Fens between Downham and Ely, to conduct the five-month study.

Mr Bates said: “The opportunity exists for encouraging more people to the area, particularly those who don’t have their own transport.

“As an example, we have 2 million visitors to Cambridge, if we could encourage a tiny percentage of those to this area to appreciate the Fenland landscape that will create opportunities for existing businesses.

“The potential would be a huge boost for the area.”

Mr Bates is hoping that the project will be a catalyst to stimulate the development and usage of new public transport options and better links to the existing rail network.

He is looking at rail and bus links around the area in a bid to attract cyclists and ramblers.

Mr Bates said: “One idea is people can take their bikes on the train, cycle around and maybe return from a different place.

“That is a key advantage of public transport as you don’t have to go in a circular route to get back to your car.

“Another option is making it easier for people to go by train and cycle around.”

Mr Bates will also be looking at the current bus routes and their location to attractions such as WWT Welney and Denver Sluice.

He said: “I was in Downham recently to see what options there were to catch a train and then walk the seven or eight miles to Denver Sluice before returning.”

Mr Bates will also be looking at transport which people can order, such as dial a bus, to see if these could be used.

He said: “The key thing is to encourage other means of travel that don’t require going by car in order to reduce carbon emissions.”

He will also be looking at the viability of entrepreneurs setting up a double decker touring bus to best show the landscape in the area.

Mr Bates will also be holding meetings with tourism groups around the area.

Once completed the study will be sent to the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership, which has received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This will then be available for interested people and councils.

Mr Bates wants to speak with interested parties or businesses during the study.

He said: “I am very keen to hear from people who have ideas about transport.”

Contact him on 01353 667973 or email pjb@pjb.co.uk