An open letter from a GWC member in response to an article on proposed Wendover cycle routes in the 12th Oct. issue of the Bucks Herald

posted 13 Oct 2011 13:58 by Eli Kling
 WENDOVER PARISH COUNCIL SAY NO TO SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT OPTION

The article in last week's Bucks Herald on the cycle path row (Page 11) should have been headed “NOT on your bike”. It is a shame that the decision at the meeting not to support a scheme to convert the existing footway on Manor Road to a dual use path was made by councillors, the majority of whom do not cycle and as a consequence have little understanding on how to cycle safely.
The off-road route along the edge of a field behind houses in The Beeches was first mentioned to me early in 2005. Six and a half years later BCC have still not valued the required land so are not in a position to make a purchase offer to the Canadian owner. Clearly there has been no rush to pursue this option. Also the proposal does not include lighting. Is Wendover Parish Council happy to support the creation of an uncosted, unlit cycle/ pedestrian path round the edge of a field? Oh, and BCC are not able to say where the money will come from to pay for it anyway. This year BCC completely removed all the money from the cycling budget diverting it to the road repair budget so that motorists can travel faster in safety. Who is to say this will not happen in future years?

What was not mentioned in your article is the fact that the Manor Road scheme is only one part of a legal agreement attached to  money from the developers of the Princess Mary Hospital site. Other parts of the scheme are improvements to the Clock Tower junction and to pedestrian/cycleway facilities from the B4009/Chestnut Avenue junction along the B4009 to Wendover High Street.

As a resident of Halton village I cycle into Wendover usually twice a week and welcome the proposed improvements to the town centre.   I am sure many other local residents would similarly support these improvement  On the Tring Road pinch points caused by pedestrian islands are a real hazard for cyclists and being able to avoid these would significantly improve safety.   This will be particularly helpful in encourage people who would like to return to cycling but ar not confident in traffic. I wonder what the Parish council views are on these other proposals? Were they discussed in detail at the meeting , if so were they approved or rejected? 
Given the go ahead, these schemes can be completed without local funding, partly by money from the developers and partly by the government funded Safe Routes to Schools programme managed by Sustrans.  If BCC do not give approval, the currently available Safe Routes to Schools funding will be lost as it is time limited and the scheme was recently cancelled by the government.
Continued stalling could see all the schemes being kicked into the long grass for years and £295000, currently available lost to our local community.

New Cycle routes from PMH (aka Princess Mary Gate) by year end

posted 8 Nov 2011 12:17 by Eli Kling

What a turn around since the last time we report on this only a few weeks ago. With the new offer of £125,000 from Sustrans, the national sustainable transport charity, plus the original £170,000 from the developers there is now enough money to meet the the cost of cycle routes from the PMH site (the old Princess Mary Hospital) to the clock tower and to the school campus via Manor Road.

After much consultation BCC approved the plans and work will commence mid November. Peter Hardy, Cabinet Member for Planning and Transport, said: "This is great news for Wendover, the launch of these two new routes will link the new housing estate to the local schools and to the wider community of Wendover village centre. Not only will this encourage an increase in safer cycling to the schools and into the town centre, the scheme also benefits pedestrians and will improve access for all residents. We hope that more people will be cycling in Wendover, making use of these excellent facilities."

If you would like more information on the work done by Sustrans please visit our stall at the charity market or visit their website www.sustrans.org.uk. At our stall you will also be able to see detailed drawings of the new routes.


Cycle path from Princes Mary Gate to schools and town center - letter to BCC

posted 11 Oct 2011 07:34 by Eli Kling

As chair of Get Wendover Cycling (GWC) I am writing to place on record the group's approval for the creation of two new cycle routes in Wendover.


    Over the past 3 years GWC have worked closely with your cycling officers both in meetings and cycling round the area to identify problems and assess best options. GWC have commented in detail on the 2 consultations and followed the outcomes carefully. At our most recent informal meeting with Simon Glover we were delighted to learn that £120,000 had been obtained from the Safe Routes to Schools programme that is funded by the government and managed by Sustrans. This combined with the £170,000 of S106 money from the developers is sufficient to fund the work although up to date costings still needed to be carried out.

    Our support is based on the following considerations which are also reflected in Local Transport Plan 3's Local Area Strategy for Wendover that states under the heading Priorities 'Cycling Conditions' and as an approach 'Enhancement to Walking and Cycling Environment'. In addition, the legal agreement with the developer requires the creation of pedestrian/cycleway facilities to the schools and to the High Street and also improvements to the Clock Tower junction.


    The proposed routes fully accord with the those objectives in that they will

  • encourage people to cycle to the town centre and the station thus helping to relieve local parking problems

  • encourage more children on the east side of the Tring Rd. ( not just those living on the PMH site) to cycle to school thus helping to reduce traffic congestion at school times

  • improvements at the Clock Tower junction will improve conditions for parents with prams and people confined to powered mobility scooters

  • The work can be completed without local funding. This is important as BCC have no funding this year for cycle route development. If the work is not allowed to proceed the Sustrans money will be lost and the government funded Safe Routes to Schools scheme is to be cancelled at the end of this year.

  • Whilst there are legitimate concerns about mixing pedestrians and cyclists on the Manor Rd route because of the slope, none of this is new and must have been taken into consideration during the two consultations.

  • Based on signs by the toucan crossing on the Tring Rd. we believe that BCC are already satisfied that Manor Rd. is a safe road for school children. ( one sign, pointing across the toucan crossing, carries a cycle sign and reads ' local schools'. A second sign on the other side of the road advises cyclists to return to the carriageway with an arrow pointing down Manor Rd.) Bearing this in mind we are strongly of the opinion that converting the footway to a dual use path will provide an even safer route than the one currently signed.


We trust that the above views will be taken into account when the scrutinising committee meet to consider the proposal being put forward for approval.


LATEST NEWS ON PROPOSED CYCLE ROUTES FROM THE PRINCESS MARY HOSPITAL SITE

posted 31 Jul 2011 14:35 by Eli Kling

BCC has now received £170,000 from the developers as their contribution to the creation of cycle routes from the PMH site to local schools and also to the centre of Wendover.

The school route prefered by BCC is Option D, that goes off road along the edge of the field at the back of The Beeches. In March the Canadian owner of the land agreed in principle to sell the needed strip of land subject to receiving an acceptable offer and BCC indicated that the would go ahead and get a valuation. This clearly is not something that happens very often as it took to the middle of July to ascertain the procedure for land acquisition.   It is now hoped that BCC Property Services will be in a position to make the land owner an offer in the very near future.

However it appears there is another hurdle to cross. A Business Case has to be made to justify the land purchase, this will have to show the benefits of the proposed route compared to other options and will have to be approved at Cabinet level. So it would seem we are deep into BCC politics and how long it will take to get the Business Case approved is an unknown.

If this route is to go ahead it will require a significant input of external funding. When first costed in 2009 the estimate excluding land was £206,000 so there is a significant shortfall without taking into account the fact that there will already be internal costs to set against the £170,000. BCC are hoping that any gap in funding will be met from a successful bid to the Sustrans 'Links to Schools' fund. It also overlooks the need to fund a route into Wendover that formed part of the original agreement which was made with the developer.

Looking back through the records, a letter dated April 2005, from the Area Planning Officer (South) states that " the cycleway will cross the field to the north of the primary and secondary schools to avoid the need to travel on the busy roads serving the school". So please do not expect any action in the near future.

Princess Mary Gate Cycle path to Wendover

28 June 2010 

There were a small number of respondents to the recent public consultation, and BCC will be collating these to help decide on the final route from the new development to Wendover and Wendover’s schools. There is likely to be 20mph throughout the new development, which could be Wendover’s first 20mph area; however, the actual funding and route for the cycle routes as outlined in the “Section 106 agreement” with the developers is still to be announced.

Some progress on Cycle Routes From Princess Mary Hospital Site

posted 21 Apr 2011 14:09 by Eli Kling

The developers have now given Bucks County Council [BCC] the S106 money (£170,000) for sustainable travel improvements from the site to local schools and the town centre.

There is still no decision on which of the proposed routes will be adopted. The off road route to the schools, (option D originally costed at £206,000 excluding the cost of the necessary land) is still being investigated. BCC are now in the process of evaluating how much the land is worth in order to make a purchase offer to the Canadian owner. Given that there is a budget ceiling for this scheme and Option D exceeds this, it is difficult to see why BCC are actively pursuing it, unless it will be possible to obtain additional funding from another scource. So, we are still some way from knowing which of the routes will be approved. Details of the four proposed routes and the consultations already completed can be found on our PMH page.


11 April 2010

GWC'S RESPONSE TO BCC'S SECOND CONSULTATION ON PMH SITE CYCLE ROUTES 

Background for information.

Last autumn Bucks CC carried out a consultation to find out what cycle and walking improvements local people and organisations would like as a means of linking the Princess Mary's Hospital site to local schools and Wendover town centre. £170,000 of funding has been secured from the developer as a contribution to the costs involved. The response to this initial consultation showed four prefered options, brief details of which are as follow along with GWC's response:

Option A. Widening, to 3 metres where possible, the existing cycleway from the traffic lights by Babington Rd to the new mini roundabout next to Tring Road. Estimated cost: £43,000.

RESPONSE There is already a dual use path between this points. Increasing the current width to three metres will have little added value and is unlikely to be of benefit to PMH residents. The other options should take priority.

Option B. Improve the existing cycleway from the new roundabouts to the Toucan crossing and extend it to the Clock Tower. Estimated cost £95,000.

RESPONSE This option is important, primarily because of the improvements for cyclists and pedestrians at the Clock Tower. We would however make the following detailed comments on the proposed design:

1. at the new mini roundabout the design is not cycle friendly in that (a) it does not appear to connect with the proposed dual use path coming down from the PMH site; (b) connections with the existing routes from Halton and Wendover need to be made clearer. (c) the short section shown as footway should be dual use in order to connect to the existing Halton dual use path.

2. Further along the route, towards Wendover, there is a short section that only has an advisory cycle lane on one side of the road. We believe this is will be confusing. If the road at that section is too narrow for advisory lanes on both sides then we believe it would be better to delete the one on the south side but leave the red screed at the points shown.

3. We would like to see red screed at the Hale Road crossing, in the same way that it has been applied to Gemstone routes in Aylesbury.

Option C. New cycle route in Manor Road Estimated cost: £114,000.

RESPONSE This route has our full support as it makes maximum use of existing facilities, primarily the Toucan Crossing on the B4009 near Manor Road and also improvements incorporated in Option B above. It is assumed that there is to be a new entrance to the school hence the cycle route along Manor Crescent. If this is not the case then this section appears to have no value.

Option D. New off road path from the new Tring Road roundabout on the B4009 to Manor Crescent. Estimated cost: £206,000. NOTE - This needs the purchase of land behind The Beeches and Manor Crescent. This is greenbelt land and the cost estimate does NOT include the necessary land or associated legal costs.

RESPONSE At this stage we have difficulty in supporting this option because of the lack of information on a total cost estimate. The fact that a design study has been undertaken suggests that the land is available for purchase, in which case somebody in the local authority must have a good idea of the full likely cost. If this route is progressed it will in all probability use all the funding (even if money is obtained from Cycling England's Safe Routes to Schools budget) and as such would mean option B would not be affordable and as such cyclists wishing to access the town centre will get no benefit from the S106 money that was intended to give improved access to both schools and the town centre. 

23 September 2009

Make sure our Council honours their promise: Email our local councillor: Write to Marion Clayton, our County Councillor, to let her know you want a safe route installed early, that is promoted to residents and school children. Find out more about the proposed routes below. There will be more cars creating more congestion and more parking problems in Wendover if the proposed cycle route is not installed EARLY, SAFELY and LOUDLY! 

22 May 2009

Princess Mary's Hospital Site Cycle Route proposals. At the Local Area Forum on 6th November 2008, BCC presented proposals for cycle routes from the PMH site to local schools and Wendover town centre. Five options were detailed: 

  • Option 1 - Upgrade existing cycleway.
  • Option 2 - On road direct link to Wendover.
  • Option 3 - Improve existing link to school via Manor Road. 
  • Option 4 -New school link through privately owned field. 
  • Option 5- Extension of existing route to Wendover clock tower.

 A period of public consultation followed. The results of this consultation were made available in the form of a Briefing Note at the most recent Local Area Forum on 28th April 2009. Recommendations in this Briefing Note (from John Rippon, Project Manager, BCC to Marion Clayton,) are that options 1,3,4,and 5 should go forward for further consideration. Option 2, the on road direct link to the town centre, was not recommended. The recommendations will be reported to the BCC Cabinet Member for Transportation (Valerie Letheren). Subject to gaining approval, Transport for Buckinghamshire Alliance will be asked to carry out feasibility and preliminary design work. This will take approximately 3 months and details will be available for further comments in August/September. If you would like a copy of the Briefing Note please contact Brian Bostock 01296 624694.

3 Feb 2009

Do you, or your child cycle to Wendover along Tring Road?

Wendover and Halton residents are invited to let Bucks County Council know what they think about a proposed cycle route leading into Wendover. 

If you are a cyclist, or your children cycle to the Wendover schools, please take a few moments to respond to this consultation: the more cyclists that respond the better the consultation will be. (for details of the proposed rout click here & for the consultation here - under the heading "Princess Mary's Development - Sustainable Travel links", click on "click here to take part")  

Get Wendover Cycling has drafted a reply to the consultation which you can see here. Get Wendover Cycling’s next steps are to meet with Bucks County Council to discuss our response to the consultation.

January 2009

At the Wendover Local Area Forum in November John Rippon, Project Manager, Transport Development Control, BCC, outlined options for cycle routes between the PMH site, Wendover schools, the High Street and Halton and asked for the views of interested parties. Get Wendover Cycling's detailed response will be posted on our website shortly. A response from Wendover Parish Council was agreed at its January '09 meeting. It is understood that this will be similar to ours.