Our high intensity campaign gets results

16th August 2020 — The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan has been published

We are now in August and at a peak time for cycling, aided by fine weather, longer days and holidays. The silver lining is that the Covid 19 crisis has done our cause much good, with government money being promised for schemes that will help cyclists in the UK.

Locally there has been considerable movement as Chester West & Chester Council (CWAC) published the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) after consultation with numerous bodies of which Cycle North Cheshire (CNC) has played a prominent role.

Our Vice Chair, Steve Pemberton, has been our principal representative at the meetings over many months the result being an 84 page Appendix entitled ‘Walk. Ride. Thrive’. This covers all the CWAC area, and notes the economic, health and environmental benefits brought about by cycling. It also covers the Local Transport Plan – Integrated Transport Strategy 2017 - 2030 - published in 2011 and was fully refreshed, revised and re-adopted by the Council in 2017 to ensure that the strategies are kept up to date.

Whilst most of the original LCWIP proposals were not relevant to the Elton, Frodsham, Helsby & Kingsley area, some were but were ranked as of Low priority. So a committed team sprang into action and ran a very successful high intensity campaign in the Spring, which resulted in the original proposals for our area being upgraded to High. The team achieved this by providing very strong evidence of the need to improve the safety of roads and encouraging over 600 local residents to let CWAC know their views in the consultation process. This was a fantastic response. It was very clear from feedback from the 1350 pupils of Helsby High School that there was a particularly strong need to improve safety for the pupils who cycle or walk to school along the very busy A56/A5117. It is this link between Elton, Frodsham and Helsby, which has now been ranked as High priority. Very well done to all involved.

In the longer-term, schemes for the continuation of the Greenway to link Chester & Mickle Trafford safely to Helsby and Frodsham through to Runcorn are also recognised as important.

Amongst our other successes, goaded by our pothole Champion, Allan Arthur, is the speed at which potholes are repaired once they are reported. The more fuss that collectively we all make about these, the less comfortable it is for CWAC to ignore them. We have also raised the issue of the generally poor & deteriorating state of road surfaces in the Borough and recently we have seen some improved but there are many which are still badly eroded.

We have had conversations with the Public Health Authorities regarding the air quality, which in some parts of the Borough is above the legal limits and locally the junction of Fluin Lane with the A56 is a striking example. If there were fewer vehicles on the road, air quality would improve and most people would enjoy healthier & longer lives. If you care about your health, it is up to you to lend your voice regarding these matters and we hope that you will. If you remain quiet, CWAC will not act. As Chair of CNC I hope that this does concern you and that you will act in both yours and your neighbours best interests and support our cause.

Dr Patrick Milroy. Chair Cycle North Cheshire.