Thursday, 14 February 2008

(No) Planning for Cycling at the Princess Mary Hospital Development

{taken form the AVDC planning website; the 'Gree Roots' here are not what you think}

Here is the major part of a very good response to the PMH planning application written by Brian Bostock. This is a very detailed and constructive review of the all important but always overlooked aspect of sustainable routs.

Nowhere in the text of this document (he is talking about the 'Transport Statment') can I find any reference to the needs of cyclists. This seems remiss bearing in mind the need to minimise local car journeys.
Whilst the various supporting drawings show footpath/cycleways it is not obvious how these link up to get cyclists to the High Street and local schools. For example there is a footway/cycleway in Babington Road that ends before the B4009. Where are cyclists meant to go from here? Another example is on drawing 2005/0584/014 Proposed Junction Improvement. On the north side of the new roundabout, there is a statement ”Proposed footway/cycleway to tie in with the existing”. To tie in with the existing what? There is no existing footway/cycleway on this side of the road, only a narrow footway. If this is to be upgraded to dual use it will have to be widened down to the existing toucan crossing near Wharf Road and along to the school in Halton. On the Wendover side of the mini roundabout there is a similar statement that raises the same question. At present there is no cycle path beyond where the new mini roundabout is to be constructed. At this point cyclists are instructed to rejoin the Tring Road.

I believe the architects should have produced a plan showing just the cycle routes so that it would be possible to see how the various parts fit together in a way that will encourage people to cycle into Wendover and to local schools. Perhaps developers attention should be brought AVD Local Plan, Chapter 4, General Policy 27 that requires developers to provide facilities that will encourage cycling .

On page 19 of the Transport Statement para 6.36 states “consider new and existing streets as 20mph zone” BCC Cycling Policy states that traffic calming is the second choice in a hierarchy of schemes to encourage cycling. Bearing this in mind 20 mph speed limit should be made mandatory.

Plan09 shows Footpath 24 passing through the development and Footpath 13 passing just above it. If the status of these footpaths was altered to allow cycling then this will give cyclists better access into the centre of Wendover and provide an alternative to the current design that seems to require them to travel down to the new roundabouts and then dismount to cross the road. The change of use would also give improved access to cycle routes in Wendover Woods

Drawing 2005/0584/030. shows a short length of cycleway 1m. wide. If the whole site was made a 20mph zone this short section of cycleway would not be necessary. Also there is a footway/cycleway running along-side, so this bit of onroad cycle path seems unnecessary.

Several drawings show areas labelled BS/CS, signifying Bin Store/Cycle Store.
Safe cycle storage requires a secure structure allocated to an individual property otherwise the designated areas will not be fit for the intended purpose.

If you agree that it would be valuable to get a cycle route plan from the architects prior to AVDC making a final decision in earlier April perhaps it would be possible for members of the newly formed Wendover/Halton cycling group to meet with yourselves to inject the experience of local cyclists into the plan. This would put into practice the liaison with local cycling groups as outlined in BCC 's Cycling Policy. Your comments on this proposal would be appreciated.

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