The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) is a key project for the borough. All authorities need to have developed and approved such a plan for their locality detailed capital investment projects that will enable residents to walk or ride more than current levels. The national objective, (made in 2016) is to double the number of journeys made by walking or cycling by 2025, and by 2040 for this to exceed 50% of all such journeys.
There are many drivers for this but principally it is seen as a way of increasing levels of physical activity with the associated health benefits and savings on health care costs. In addition there are improvements in both air quality and greenhouse gas emissions which add to the need to drive this plan for us all.
Originally it was envisaged that people might walk about 2km and ride maybe 5km. The growth in E-bikes is extending this horizon as is the increase in cycling as a leisure pursuit. However the exercise is centred on walking and riding as a means of getting to work, school, shops and stations as the primary goal. The leisure benefits, whilst welcome, are secondary in this exercise.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has produced exact technical guidelines on how such a document is to be developed.
Cycle North Cheshire is a member of the Cheshire West and Chester Active Travel Forum. This body was set up in 2018 specifically to work with the Council in developing better facilities in the borough for cyclists and walkers. In 2019 a subgroup was established to work with council officers, councillors and the consultants to create a LCWIP for the borough, Cycle North Cheshire was invited to join this group representing the area on the plans our community would like to be developed, clearly within the overall brief of the key objectives outlined above.
The draft report was issued in December 2019 for consultation. Delayed by the general election then subsequently further delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic this draft is in its final stages after consultation and we expect it to be adopted in July 2020. This will then position the Council to apply for funding for the projects identified.
For the plan the borough was split into 5 areas:-
- Ellesmere Port and Neston
- Frodsham and Helsby
Each of these areas has projects that will help those communities improve facilities and hence more people might opt to walk or ride rather than use the car as the paths will offer a simple safe alternative.
The draft report highlighted the link between Helsby and Frodsham as the priority for our area, with the valuable benefit of enabling pupils and staff at Helsby High School to walk or ride there in safety. The draft also listed investigating how this path could be further extended to link up wit the Chester Greenway at Mickle Trafford and also linked to the employment zones in Ince/Elton/Stanlow for workers to walk or ride there.
Posted June 23.06.20 : Prepared by Steve Pemberton