CYCLISTS should be allowed to use an underpass...because they already do and no one has been hurt, it has been claimed.

Plans for a new cycle route from west Colchester to the town centre have been unveiled.

The proposals include creating a cycle bypass at Crouch Street’s junction with Rawstorn Road.

The wide pavement on the south side of Crouch Street West would become a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists, who would also have shared access to the underpass to the other side of Crouch Street.

The changes to the underpass were among the concerns raised by visitors to a public display of the plans on Friday.

They said they were worried pedestrians could get hurt.

Paul Cansdale, from Essex County Council, who has helped to draw up the plans, said: “We carried out a survey and at the moment, about 115 cyclists a day are using the underpass, albeit illegally, with no accidents.

“We would be encouraging a mutual consideration policy.”

The plans include a dedicated cycle route running behind existing parking along Crouch Street East, which would mean cyclists could reach Head Street and the town centre.

Bill Frame, ward councillor, said he was pleased with the scheme on the whole, but said his main concern had been about the underpass. He said: “Hopefully, people will be courteous and dismount, although it would be difficult to enforce that.”

Cycle group Sustrans has commended the plans.

Businesses and people living in the area were given the chance to look at the proposals and ask questions at the consultation.

If the proposal is approved, it is hoped it will be in place by the end of March next year.