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September 2021 C&TCC Committee Meeting

A small committee group met via Zoom on 6 September, noting absences from several members enjoying much needed holiday breaks.

Cheltenham Spa Station forecourt and Honeybourne line extension

Committee members continue to attempt to engage with GWR about the safety risks of the delivered scheme for pedestrians and cycle users. Site visits continue to show a number of problems that were highlighted by the campaign during the planning stage;

  • Pedestrians following the desire line and walking across the taxi rank area
  • Taxi rank dominating forecourt and blocking buses
  • Disabled parking area being used for drop off
  • No continuous cycle route to Honeybourne line meaning route either goes through car park past reversing cars or by ignoring ‘cyclist dismount’ signs
  • Overhanging of vehicles across Honeybourne line extension

A meeting was held early in the summer with GWR, but despite changes made to car parking for the benefit of car access, no changes have yet been forthcoming for vulnerable forecourt users. The committee chair has now met with MP Alex Chalk to review the issues and discuss next steps.

Even with a large taxi area across a main pedestrian desire line, vehicles continue conflict with multiple forecourt users, blocking the bus pull in, sight lines to pedestrians exiting the station, and safe access to cycle parking.

The committee remain focussed on ensuring GWR deliver on their commitments for the forecourt, recognising the vital role it plays for cycling across Cheltenham.

It was announced last month that Cheltenham Borough Council will accept maintenance responsibility for the Honeybourne Line extension, increasing hopes that the vital connection to the A40 will finally be built.

Early plans suggest there are still areas for the campaign to focus on, particularly the tight turning circle near the top of the proposed ramp, and the poor connectivity at Shelburne Road (which will be the responsibility of Gloucestershire County Council to address).

The difficult crossing of Shelburne road across fast turning vehicles exiting the A40

You can read more here.

A46 Leckhampton

Despite being a named consultee, Gloucestershire County Council has not yet shared any information with the campaign about proposed changes along the A46 linked to the new Leckhampton Secondary School. However, a public consultation has shared basic information, which outlines what the committee assessed as a highly dangerous proposal, involving narrow shared pavements which will be unsuitable for the intense flows of school-aged children, and junctions that ignore current design standards.

The limited public plans are available here, here and here. (from Gloucestershire County Council consultation pages)

A photo of the A46 showing the traffic mix and inadequate proposed widths for safe cycling
The pavement proposed to be shared use alongside the A40 for use by school children cycling to Leckhampton School

The committee is submitting an outline objection to the scheme, whilst seeking more information on the proposed plans, in the hope of influencing the plans to provide a safe route for future generations.

Arle Court (WCTIS West Cheltenham Transport Improvement Scheme)

Work continues on this major road scheme, which includes some elements necessary to accommodate the severance and risks of increased traffic to cycle users. Members discussed the disappointing responses to ongoing feedback at key risk points, including the B4063 approach and the crossing to the KFC entrance. Early inspection by the campaign of the new underpass also suggests sight lines will be disappointing for cycle users (as previously highlighted in our response to Gloucestershire County Council).

Car Free Day and Clean Air Cheltenham

Clean Air Cheltenham is organising a webinar on 22nd September on what Cheltenham could learn from Nottingham’s dramatic progress in reducing single occupancy vehicle dependency. The link to booking is here.

C&TCC members are also hoping to arrange a morning meetup in Cheltenham Town Centre as an opportunity for those choosing to cycle on the day to meet up.

M5 Overbridge on Bamfurlong Lane

A committee member highlighted the overbridge across the M5 near Staverton Airport is now listed for replacement by National Highways (Previously Highways England). This is on Sustrans National Cycle Network 41, and the total replacement of the road deck provides an opportunity to create a safe route between the off road path near the police headquarters to the access road to the airport.

Sadly, early correspondence with National Highways suggests that they have decided not to make any provision for safe cycling along this 50mph stretch of road. Ongoing enquiries are being made as to Sustrans position on the proposal, and a committee member is seeking the assessments made in rejecting safe cycling provision. However, at this stage, National Highways appears not to be interested in engaging with local vulnerable road users on this scheme.

Cycling Advisory Group

Gloucestershire County Council continue to defer reconvening the county’s cycling advisory group, which would normally be a place for the council to engage with interested local councillors and community groups. The chair of the C&TCC is writing to Colin Chick, to express the importance of these meetings if the council is to understand the communities it is responsible for, and to again offer the campaign’s expertise to helping the county bring forward proposals that meet the needs of local cycle users, and potential future users.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM will be held on 11 November, and will be online to allow as many members as possible to attend. A face-to-face social event may also be arranged for those who want to connect in person.

The committee will meet again on 6 October.