Whilst a drop-in meeting has already been held where the concerns of 200 people were noted, an online informal consultation is open until 26 February which I have responded to – but not in terms of objecting to the idea itself (I don’t feel qualified to comment on whether it’s a good idea for the area and the college long-term or not), but to ask that consideration is given to proper cycle provision within the area being developed. That is, any new roads be built with Dutch standard cycle provision, and that existing roads affected by the development be updated to the same CROW standards.
I am of the belief that cycle facilities of the likes seen in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe would be of great benefit to local communities and to the country as a whole, but considering our low starting point, getting to the same level of the Dutch seems like a massive undertaking. However, using new developments such as this makes for an excellent starting point and can be a stepping stone to pushing for further improvements over time.
A town like Nuneaton may be a small area, but it is an excellent place to see improved facilities for active travel – it covers a fairly small geographical area with a compact town centre, it is within cycle range of other small towns such as Hinckley and Bedworth, as well as the city of Coventry (just about) and it has a large train station serving a multitude of different lines across the country. It also suffers from a traffic problem that needs addressing, with its ring-road frequently jammed at weekends.
Whether my comments on this particular development are taken on board is to be seen. I am skeptical, as I am with much to do with cycling in this country, but there’s always a chance. Should it come to fruition, I hope that it can become a start of something wider, not only for Nuneaton, but beyond.
The text of my response can be seen here:
“No particular problems about the proposal for developing the existing site, only to ask that planning and development be conducted so that new roads are created and existing roads affected by the development be updated to accommodate proper cycle provision as per the Dutch CROW standards.
Whilst this provision is non-existent in Nuneaton at present (existing shared path ‘provisions’ fall far short of good standards), by implementing the standard in new developments, it creates a starting point for further expansion across the town and beyond. Implementing it now, at this early stage, will ensure costs are minimal, compared to potential upgrades at a later date.
Proper provision promotes inclusive active travel for everyone, whether they ride ‘normal’ bicycles, tricycles, modified cycles, cargo bikes, tandems, bikes with child seats etc., all of which allow people who might otherwise choose the car as their first choice of transport, to travel under their own power, promoting a healthier, fitter lifestyle for all.
By providing for active travel in new developments such as this now, and pushing for the implementation of CROW standard cycle provision further afield going forward, this will alleviate local congestion and improve air quality by reducing the dependence on motorised transport for short journeys e.g., to town, school, local shops, local places of work and public transport connections for wider journeys.”