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March 2022 Committee Meeting

The committee met for its regular meeting via online videoconference. Membership had increased by a further two individuals in the previous month. Finances were reviewed and agreed, and a range of projects and priorities were discussed.

Ride Leader Training

Campaign members have been attempting to secure ride leader training, to allow them to support local rides within the community, and to be able to invite officers and elected members to experience cycling issues first hand.

At this stage, the main providers of such training have not restarted publicly accessible programmes, and so the only option for the south west appeared to be to organise a private cost that would require at least ten self-funding participants.

Committee members agreed to keep exploring options and update the committee in due course.

Cheltenham Town Centre parking.

Recent events in the town centre had shown that there was an increasing lack of cycle parking, and that the parking that was available was often compromised by temporary pop-up activities. There were also gaps between convenient cycle parking.

Example of how festivals and events can block the limited cycle parking around Cheltenham Town Centre

A committee member undertook a walkabout to highlight key issues with council representatives, and there is a plan moving forwards to consolidate ideal parking locations into an expanded wish list item.

The committee noted that the many ‘Zwing’ e-scooter parking locations that have been permitted on pavements showed there was not a shortage of locations to be considered for cycle parking.

National Highways Complaint

The closure of Brookfield Road has created a very significant diversion for pedestrian and cycle users, essentially closing an active travel corridor without alternative provision.

The committee reviewed the response to our appeal, which sadly provided no reassurance that a similar procedure will be taken when the Bamfurlong Lane over bridge across the M5 is closed for renewal in the coming months.

Cheltenham Supplementary Planning Document on Climate Change

Cheltenham Borough Council is consulting on a planning guide for all sizes of development that reflects its Climate Emergency declaration. This includes a section on transport.

It was agreed that the committee would prepare a response and that the consultation would be promoted to members via social media.

[Update – consultation response now available here]

Active Travel England

The committee noted the positive appointments of Chris Boardman and Brian Deegan to the new national body responsible for improving pedestrian and cycle experience, access and desirability. They had recently addressed an All Party Committee, which gave an opportunity to see how they planned to approach this.

Committee members noted the opportunity this presented, but also how ‘scraped through’ compliance was under delivering for local residents in Gloucestershire, and that there was an over-focus on ‘big ticket’ schemes at the expense of local interventions.

School Streets

A recent Gloucestershire County Council scrutiny committee had reviewed the School Streets programme in Gloucestershire. It was disappointing to hear that the council had chosen only schemes with low ‘displacement’ effects, meaning that modal shift was unlikely to be achieved.