RESIDENTS in Newtown have been up in arms as work on a new cycleway, that they said they "had no idea" about, started this week.

Over the weekend Garthowen etstate resident, Kelly Leah, hastily arranged a petition against the work.

The work is part of a wider network planned for Newtown improve cycling and pedestrian access to the town centre alongside work on the new bypass.

Last Friday, February 23, residents and councillors met with construction firm Griffiths and Powys County Council officials to find out what was going on.

Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn, deputy mayor, Cllr Sue Hill said: "We were unhappy about the lack of notice of the works and lack of resident consultation, although a leaflet drop to had taken place at the end of January.

"Only two local residents had responded to the letters, one being the local ward councillor who lives on the route and called for the meeting.

"However, no plans were shown in the letter and residents will not have known how they may be affected."

The scheme is part of an initiative to link up with the bypass so that people from the south of the town can walk and cycle away from the road and into the town itself to their work or to school.

There will be a new raised shared use zebra crossing on Plantation Lane to link the new cycleway with the one that goes around the high school.

Cllr Hill believed that the petition by concerned residents had the desired effect and they might well be able to have changes to what happens to the roundabout on the Garthowen housing estate.

Cllr Hill added: "We asked that residents are allowed to decide the fate of the roundabout and that PCC go with the majority view on whether it is removed and extra parking provided, whether it should be left as it is, or have a mixture of planting and parking on the space."

Powys County Council's Cabinet member for Highways, Cllr Liam Fitzpatrick, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We are committed to making Powys a walking and cycling county.

“As part of this process and in line with the Active Travel (Wales) Act, the integrated network map was developed for the stakeholder and public consultation and this route was included in that map. Newtown Town Council was consulted over the map and made no objection to the route.

“Last month, affected local residents received letters about the works for the planned route and they were invited to give their comments. Designs were available for any resident who wished for more information and we only received two responses."