Leader’s Dutch trip hints at more cycle facilities for town

Cllr Chapelard and Shelley Bontje (Project Manager at https://dutchcycling.nl/)

Tunbridge Wells Council leader Ben Chapelard has completed a fact-finding visit to Utrecht to find out why some people call the Netherlands city the ‘cycling capital of the world’.

The Lib Deb Councillor met representatives from The Dutch Cycling Embassy and went on a guided bike tour looking at cycling infrastructure with a view to seeing how that might be adapted for the different requirements in the Tunbridge Wells borough.

Following the visit Cllr Chapelard said: “I want to learn from the best practice in the world so that we can build more vibrant towns and villages in our borough.


“There are many advantages to increasing walking and cycling”


“There are many advantages to increasing walking and cycling. We must seize the opportunity to transform the way we live and improve the quality of life for residents.”

Utrecht has the biggest cycle parking facility in the world in a purpose-built garage, with room to park over 12,500 bicycles and is an integral part of the main train station.

Active travel is one of the Borough Partnership’s priorities to create more vibrant towns and villages. The Partnership has recognised this by appointing the first ever Walking and Cycling Champion (Councillor Peter Lidstone).

Cllr Chapelard, who is a keen advocate of cycling and whose wife is from the Netherlands, self-funded the visit at no cost to the taxpayer.

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