The committee met virtually by Zoom on 12 July 2021 (Note due to the deferral of the June meeting to the end of the month, there was only limited business for the July meeting).
A committee member has managed to open dialogue with Gloucestershire County Council on plans around Leckhampton School. Numerous issues exist with current proposals, such as extensive use of shared paths that are inadequately sized for the volumes of pedestrian and cycle traffic that could be expected at peak school times. It is unclear whether the council has any intention of upgrading the route to current safety and design standards at this stage.
Cheltenham Spa Railway Station
Following the initial meeting with GWR and Sustrans, there have been no further updates, and the campaign is continuing to monitor the issues around forecourt access , the safety of the extension down to the proposed A40 link, and accessible cycling. Initial conversations had also provided some intelligence on the likely bridge design to connect to the A40, and the campaign hopes to be involved in helping ensure the design is safe for pedestrians and cyclists, and accessible to all users.
The chair had also met at the station with Alex Chalk, local MP, to highlight the general challenges for all users with the poorly conceived desire lines and the dominance of taxi movements as the first impression after arrival.
There were some encouraging signs that feedback from the campaign’s initial consultation response had been acted upon. After the preferred route announcement, a committee member has been approached by Atkins (Bristol) to discuss the needs for cycle users. The campaign noted the positive changes following design updates from a roundabout to signalised junctions at each end of the link road, and how to ensure safety crossing Junction 10. A meeting has been arranged to discuss further.
Arle Court Consultation
The campaign is responding to a Traffic Regulation order for construction of two crossings linked to the Arle Court scheme. Members had picked up the very indirect routing near Badgeworth Road and the poor widths near Arle Court park and ride.
The committee has previously provided extensive feedback at the design stage, but many of the problems were not rectified, and there is now only limited scope for change. A key opportunity to improve safety in the delivered scheme was identified by changing a stepped kerb to a flush kerb to allow cycle users approaching from the B4063 carriageway or Badgeworth Road to transition onto the cycle path and access the underpass for the enlarged Arle Court Roundabout. The campaign will also be using its response to highlight inadequate crossing of Fiddler’s Green Lane, and narrow connection paths which have not been upgraded.
Cycling UK affiliation
The committee reviewed a paper looking at the benefits of becoming an affiliate member of Cycling UK. In particular, it enabled members to access discounted insurance and offers, but also would allow approved members of the campaign to lead rides under their insurance, subject to appropriate checks. This would be of significant advantage to help the campaign offer rides to council officers and members, and for members to be able to organise local rides with friends wanting to explore further afield. The proposal was supported, and membership will be initiated in the autumn.
Committee also discussed other recent announcements, including the next steps of the A417 planning process, and the very slow progress of the 20’s plenty campaign following the rejection of the liberal democrat motion at county council.
The committee will meet again in September.