I attended the Planning Meeting on Monday 12th November in support of Tim, who spoke on our behalf; Matt who spoke as a National Right to Ride representative, together with spoken contributions from Dick Follows (Dynamo) and John Butler (Lune RCC). The value of the route for commuting, leisure cycling and the use by family groups etc, was stressed. They argued against the diversion onto the busy Caton Road. A common theme of their contributions was that the main (only ?) beneficiaries were the industrial units on Caton Road and therefore a wall might be built on their land. This could mean access by the contractors was not via the cycle path. However the lead planner must have missed this input as it was totally ignored.
Questions by a couple of sympathetic councillors seemed to be pushed into the long grass but a suggestion that dog poo bins were needed, presumably to save the long grass, was welcomed. A contribution from another councillor led to an admission that cyclists had not been consulted about the diversion. The legal advisor left his seat to chat to the planner and this led to the only positive outcome of the meeting.
Condition 4 had stated that ‘Scheme for alternative cycle route to be provided during the construction period’ This was changed to ‘BEFORE the construction period’ Although I am waiting for conformation I’m sure it was agreed that interested parties (cyclists) should be consulted/involved in this aspect. The County Highways Dept. had been very forceful in their criticism of the use of Caton Road as a safe alternative and their involvement is crucial.
So, pending funding (European money ?) the scheme may go ahead and we might, even now, have a say in securing a safe route. But don’t hold your breath.