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June 2021 C&TCC Committee Meeting

The committee met virtually by Zoom on 28 June 2021.

Key updates included;

Gotherington to Bishops Cleeve Cycle Path

Councillor Helen Munro (Liberal Democrat, Cleeve Grange) joined the meeting to update on her fight to see progress made on a safe cycle route between the new shops to the north of Bishops Cleeve and Gotherington.

The route was a planning condition made several years ago for the substantial housing development in the area, but there have been several delays to construction, with Bovis Homes, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council all suggesting one of the other parties is the cause of the delay.

Helen is now working with other local councillors and is awaiting a further meeting in July where she hopes to finally be given a timescale and details of the route.

A still from cycling along Gotherington Lane near Bishops Cleeve on a section that should have a segregated cycle path built by Bovis Homes
The current road between Gotherington and Bishops Cleeve

A committee member had managed to find some indirect evidence about the route on a recent TRO consultation, and technical plans should have been completed as part of an earlier planning condition, but these have not been shared with the public, nor with the campaign. The long delay in a funded route has become increasingly problematic as traffic levels are increasing, creating risk for those wanting to walk and cycle to the local school and shops. Helen will also attempt to connect the planning team to the committee for feedback on the route.

Committee members briefly mentioned that the lack of delivery even on this short, simple and funded route, did not inspire confidence on the timescale for delivery of the long-promised Bishops Cleeve Cycle Path, to provide the much needed safe connection between Bishops Cleeve and Cheltenham.

** You can read a post meeting update from Helen in our Facebook group on the meeting with developers

Cheltenham Spa Railway Station

The campaign has now had the opportunity to meet with GWR and Sustrans (who have taken over supervising the management of the scheme) to highlight the problems that have been created by changing the plan from that which was previously consulted on with the public.

In particular;

  • The lack of a continuous route through the forecourt to access the Honeybourne Line, and the new safety risk this creates of cycle users needing to go through the car park round reversing cars.
  • The inadequate width of the allowance down to the proposed bridge connecting to the A40 via Shelburne Road (this is unlikely to be remediable now), but also the lack of protection of this route from reversing and overhanding cars.
  • The loss of cycle parking (particularly Sheffield stands for cargo, accessible and family cycles)
  • The complex forecourt arrangements and the failure to move the bus stop off the Queen’s Road and on to the forecourt.
An overhanging vehicle showing the impact of the narrow, unprotected connection to the future A40/shelburne road link
A standard estate car with significant intrusion over the cycle lane despite claimed protection

The GWR team acknowledged each of these issues, and there was a shared understanding of potential solutions, although these now need to be developed and tested by GWR’s design contractor. The campaign was also able to discuss the completion of the link to the A40/Shelburne Road, and how we can be an active stakeholder in these plans going forwards.

Cheltenham Bicycle Mayor

Bex Mountford, a member of the campaign and committee, is bidding to become Cheltenham’s first bicycle mayor. The campaign discussed the opportunity this is to encourage more cycling and to increase the visibility of the range of people cycling in Cheltenham, and was delighted to give her support.

Transport Hub Crossings

The campaign has been asked to comment on two proposed toucan crossings near the Arle Court Park & Ride and along the B4063. Committee members were confused by the council’s request as these appear to have already been built, but plans were circulated from brief comment and feedback.

The nearly completed toucan crossing the campaign has been asked to comment on
The new toucan crossing to the park and ride already in place near Arle roundabout

Queens Road

The West Cheltenham Transport Improvement Scheme (WCTIS) construction continues along the A40 near GCHQ, but the council remains guarded about revised plans for the sections in West Cheltenham through the Poets, and on Queens Road near Tesco Superstore. The campaign has previously raised significant concerns over the original proposals which relied on narrow unprotected painted lanes throughout. There has been some suggestion of segregation, but we have not yet seen any evidence on the utility and cohesion of the route.

M5 Junction 10 Preferred Option Announcement and cycle routes

Gloucestershire County Council and Highways England have now made a preferred announcement for Junction 10 and the surrounding new road infrastructure. It states that there will be safe cycle provision, potentially a bypass, for Junction 10 for cycles, and a separate 4.0m cycle and 2.0m pedestrian path parallel to the new north/south link road. There is limited information on junction treatments, although large roundabouts are shown for Junction 10, and each end of the link road. Committee members noted the particularly challenge of large junctions for cycle safety and route continuity.

A summary of the M5 Junction 10 announcement layout from the Gloucestershire County Council announcement
Image of the preferred route announced by Gloucestershire council, with some indicative cycle facilities marked

Other updates

  • The committee reviewed the successful ride with Clean Air Cheltenham, and discussed how further rides could be undertaken for Car Free Day in September.
  • The committee agreed that it should sign Cheltenham Borough Council’s Carbon Zero Pledge, given the important role that cycling can play in decarbonising transport, and the range of skills and enthusiasm the campaign could bring to the collaboration of businesses and local organisations.
  • There remains no news on whether Gloucestershire County Council will reconvene a cycle liaison committee, or which councillors will be appointed to it.
  • Casualty statistics for 2020 are now available, and will be reported on at a later date.
  • A committee member had given a presentation to SoRSA’s AGM which had been well received.
  • Membership has increased by 4 subscriptions since the last meeting.