Concern About Impact of Eastfield Development on Key Cycling and Walking Route


Sunday, January 31st, 2016. 7:05pm

Plans for the cycle and pedestrian route between Warren Road and Eastfield in Cambridge

Cambridge City Council is currently consulting on plans for 50 new affordable homes, following demolition of 26 existing dwellings at Eastfield, in East Chesterton. (Application Ref:15/2321/FUL).

I have written to object as follows:

The cycle and pedestrian route from Warren Road to Eastfield is very well used. I am concerned these proposals will have a negative impact on this route and an opportunity to improve this key cycle and pedestrian connection is not being taken.

Two ninety degree corners are being proposed to be introduced to a currently straight cycle route from Warren Road to Eastfield. A cyclist proceeding from Warren Road would turn right into the estate road and then left into Eastfield, before proceeding down Eastfield towards Scotland Road.

This development should be rejected under policy 8/5 “Pedestrian and Cycle Network” of the local plan. An opportunity to safeguard land for improving the existing cycle and pedestrian link between Eastfield and Warren Road is not being taken. This is a signed cycle route from Milton Road and connects the employment areas of the Science and Business Parks with areas of housing and the city centre. There is currently an, albeit dilapidated, cycle symbol and red coloured marking on the highway where the path meets Eastfield.

Cycle routes in the new development should be made obvious for example with with signage, coloured surfaces, and markings on the ground as needed. I am concerned the proposed development would create confusion about where cycling is permitted.

I am concerned that by having all motor traffic entering the development at the point the path from Warren Road to Eastfield emerges the risk of conflict between cyclists and pedestrians will be increased. I would have thought switching the locations of the cycle and vehicle access to the new developments would be safer, as the vehicle access would then be onto a straight section of Eastfield with better visibility.

I think blocking Eastfield to motor traffic to the west of the junction with the cycle route to Warren Road would improve the safety of the area.

I am a relatively local resident. My property is around 220m away from the proposed development. I regularly walk and cycle in the area, read notices in the area, read material published by my local councillors, and attend the local “North Area Committee”. The developers’ pre-application consultation did not reach me. The first time I became aware of the proposals was when the notices of the planning application having been submitted were placed in the area. I think those assessing the application should consider if the views of those who travel through the area have been adequately considered; I do not think they will have been effectively captured by the consultation carried out prior to making the application. I note the Cambridge Cycling Campaign is not included on the list of consultees despite the quality of its engagement on other developments within the city.

I am disappointed in the performance of my local councillors and MP who did not effectively promote the fact they had been consulted on this development to me.

I am concerned by the retention of an existing shared use pedestrian / cycle path and the introduction of another. Pedestrians often complain about cyclists using shared use facilities at local public meetings of the council’s North Area Committee. Segregated cycle provision should be provided where possible to remove this conflict.

I disagree with the applicant’s description of the site as having excellent connections to the local cycle route network. The injury data provided show that injury causing incidents have recently occurred both on Scotland Road and on Green End Road. The junction between Green End Road, Green End Road and Scotland Road is not one I find easy to cross either by bike or on foot. Cycling along Green End Road, towards Water Lane feels dangerous, and the submission notes reported incidents. The Water Street / Fen Road area is notorious for dangerous driving, this has been reported in the local paper:

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/150k-project-tackle-Fen-Road-racers/story-22363746-detail/story.html

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Ideas-revealed-tackling-antisocial-driving-Cambridges-Fen-Road-in150k-project/story-22369908-detail/story.html

and public meetings have been held to discuss the problems:

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/fen-road-public-meetings.html

The connections between the site and the safe, low traffic, cycle paths on Stourbridge Common and along Riverside are in my view very poor and dangerous.

I am concerned about the proposals to include bricks laid in a road to be adopted. Around the city bricks in roads come loose and create a hazard to all road users. One example where a brick road is constantly under repair is Sidney Street in the city centre.

Richard Taylor
Cambridge

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

17 comments/updates on “Concern About Impact of Eastfield Development on Key Cycling and Walking Route

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    It looks as if the City Council’s Cycling and Walking officer has not yet responded, but has been specifically consulted.

    The online planning file shows a submission from the County Council’s highways team but that isn’t available for download; it doesn’t appear to have been properly put on the system.

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    I specifically asked Cllr Manning to publicise the proposals in May 2015

    In the related thread I let Cllr Manning know that as a local resident I was unaware of a consultation event he mentioned he was at.

  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    A number of objectors, like me, commented on the negative impact on the cycle path.

    The applicant has now submitted revised plans which remove the shared use pedestrian / cycle path and replace it with a footpath.

    Revised plan for Eastfield, Cambridge

    I have responded to say :

    The revised site plan published on the 16th of March 2016 shows the replacement of the existing shared use cycle / pedestrian path between Eastfield and Warren Road with a footpath. This significantly exacerbates the concerns raised in my initial objection in which I said these proposals will have a negative impact on this route and an opportunity to improve this key cycle and pedestrian connection is not being taken. This application should be rejected on the grounds it loses a key cycle route; contrary to paragraph 8/5 “Pedestrian and Cycle Network” of the local plan.

    I am disappointed to see the revised plans still include bricks / block paving in roads which may be adopted.

    I note the Highways Authority comments are still not available to download, something I drew the council’s attention to on the 31st of January 2016, around six weeks ago. Had they been available additional comments such as these could be made in light of them.

    The removal of the rear access paths will I think make the new development feel safer and may well improve security and reduce the levels of burglaries and other crimes.

  4. Richard Taylor Article author

    Of the 14 public comments submitted, six, including mine, commented on the negative impact on the cycle route:

    the cycle connection between Warren Road and Eastfield Road is accident-prone due to a faulty layout of the proposed new Eastfield Road layout.

    I don’t agree with the change to the cycle access from Warren Road and feel it is unacceptable. I cannot recall it being mentioned at the pre-consultation meetings at all.
    I believe that it should be a straight line and should not have to cross the road entrance. There is no right of way over on coming traffic and I believe it should have.

    The apparently change to the cycle access from Warren Road is not acceptable, and wasn’t mentioned at the pre-consultation meetings.

    It should be a straight line, and should not have to cross the road entrance. Further, it should have right of way over on coming traffic.

    The cycle and pedestrian route from Warren Road to Eastfield is very well used, I use it regularly. These proposals will have a negative impact on this important route. Keep the cycle path straight through, and improve it by widening for pedestrians to use as well.

    I am a frequent user of the Warren Road/Eastfield access, it is often part of any journey in the city I make on foot/by bike. I can’t see from the plans that this access is going to be any better and potentially worse given there will be more people living in the area.

    The current access point is very narrow and a real point of conflict between cyclist/pedestrians. It also involves a very difficult/potentially dangerous crossing on east field to the cut through that doesn’t feel comfortable as a cyclist.

    I’d like to see better access at this point, perhaps given the nature of demolition involved and the space of the development, there could be a wider access point using some of what is currently garden now on either side of the path. This would give potential for a separate cycle and pedestrian path giving less risk of conflict.

    I’d like to suggest a painted cycle lane or some kind of warning for cars travelling round east field or into the new buildings past the cut through so that they are aware that cyclists may be crossing ahead of them to go to the path, as it’s not an obvious turning.

    I’d certainly like to see the high hedges removed as they are both dark and block viewpoints.

    If this isn’t improved and more people are using this as a cut through then I suspect this will become a junction that is more unpleasant and potentially dangerous than it already is.

  5. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Ian Manning has objected to say:

    Comment submitted date: Wed 23 Mar 2016

    I wish to object to the altered site plan, specficially the alterations to the cycle route from Warren Road.

    It contravenes policy 8/4 of the local plan:

    8/4 Walking and Cycling Accessibility
    To support walking and cycling, all development will be designed
    to:
    a. give priority for these modes over cars;
    b. ensure maximum convenience for these modes;
    c. be accessible to those with impaired mobility; and
    d. link with the surrounding walking and cycling network.

    Specifically:

    the current route is a straight line, but the altered routes isn’t – this contravenes b. above.
    by making the route more awkward it does not link witn the walkikng/cycling network, so breaks d.

    This builds on his previous submission:

    I would like to support the residents detailed objections over abuting of properties in SHirley Grove and Evergreens in particular.

    The apparently change to the cycle access from Warren Road is not acceptable, and wasn’t mentioned at the pre-consultation meetings.

    It should be a straight line, and should not have to cross the road entrance. Further, it should have right of way over on coming traffic.

  6. Richard Taylor Article author

    An “additional” response from Cambridgeshire County Council as the Highways authority was published on the 21st of March 2016, the main response still doesn’t appear to be available.

  7. Richard Taylor Article author

    A notice has been placed on the site saying there is a proposal to “stop up” the path between Eastfield and Warren Road.

    The plans are not online. This is a “on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’” situation.

    I expect the stopping up relates to the proposed re-design and isn’t really stopping up at all, but the alteration shown in the planning application. I will visit the library (during its very limited opening hours) to find out.

  8. Richard Taylor Article author

    I visited the library to look at the plans.

    The proposal is to stop up part of the path but to, in the same order, re-designate it as new highway.

    Overall the impact is a re-shaping of the highway in the area, and in particular making the area which is currently grass verge either side of the path no longer part of the highway.

    The amount of path which is highway is to remain the same width as it currently is according to the draft order.

    The draft order leaves it up to councillors to decide if they are satisfied with the provision of new highways – this appears to be only within the areas defined though, so presumably it relates to things like surfacing, traffic calming features, signage, lighting etc.

  9. Richard Taylor Article author

    This application is going before the planning committee on the 27th of April 2016. The agenda for the meeting hasn’t yet been published but is expected to be placed at:

    http://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=181&MId=2785&Ver=4

    The officer report doesn’t appear to be available yet.

  10. Richard Taylor Article author

    The officer report is now available, and it recommends councillors approve the application.

    Eastfield – Warren Road Path

    My and others’ comments on the impact on the cycle route between Eastfield and Warren Road are reasonably reflected in the report.

    Cllr Ian Manning’s comment is included in the report as:

    The cycle access from Warren Road should be a straight line and should not have to cross the road entrance. It should also have right of way over oncoming traffic

    The planning officer however concludes a development of fifty homes is not sufficient to require the safeguarding of the key cycle route, and states the introduction of two ninety degree corners is a good thing which will slow cyclists :

    A number of concerns have been raised by local residents on the basis that the scheme does not include improvements to the existing link between Warren Road and Eastfields. This concern has been echoed by the Cycling and Walking Officer who has requested that this link be increased to 3.5m in width. Concerns have also been raised by residents and users of this through – route to the revisions to the highways layout at the point at which the cycle/pedestrian route from Warren Road meets
    Eastfield

    and

    In my opinion, the scale of the proposed development, which is for 24 additional dwellings on Phases 1 & 2, and 4 additional properties in Phase 3, is not significant enough that improvements to this route could be argued to be necessitated by the scheme. I note that the proposed highways layout at this point does introduce two 90 degree bends that need to be negotiated. However, this would have the effect of slowing vehicle and cycle speeds compared to the existing layout which would be to the benefit of the safety of all users of the highway. Whilst a straighter route may be desired by cyclists, the Highways Authority has considered the proposal and deemed it acceptable from a highway safety perspective

    The officer stated:

    In my opinion the proposal is acceptable and compliant with Cambridge Local Plan (2006) policy 8/2.

    Policy 8/2 is titled “Transport Impact”. The officer doesn’t specifically address policy 8/4 “Walking and Cycling Accessibility” in their summary and conclusions.

    Footpath to the School

    The report notes:

    the Cycling and Walking Officer has requested a pedestrian link between the development and primary school, and the Landscape Team would support this in principle should it prove viable

    The planning officer however is happy for this to be omitted

    The Cycling and Walking Officer states:

    The cycle/pedestrian link between Eastfield and Warren Rd is an important strategic cycle link as well as a route to school and should be as wide as possible to accommodate all users. This should be widened to 3.5m, the minimum width for a shared path bounded on both sides. The section of path that then connects to the carriageway should be widened or an additional separate cycle path of 2.5m provided to the junction.

    Other points in the report

    Officers note:

    The convenience of locating bike stores for 2 bedroom dwellings within a rear parking court is also highly questionable.

    Presumably there is a balance between security at the back, and convenience at the front?

    The council’s access officer notes:

    This is a missed opportunity to provider wheelchair accessible housing

    Quite why the officer is concerned :

    The porches would be costly to construct.

    isn’t clear, that’s not a planning concern. If developers get chastised for expensive architecture perhaps that’s why so much of our new development in Cambridge looks so cheap.

  11. Bev

    Just seen Richard’s tweet about the vote in favour and am appalled at our planning committee. **What is the point of having policies on cycling and walking if they ignore them?** What, pray tell, is this about the developer not having enough money for paths. Well didums. They should have thought of that before putting the application in, I’d have thought. Or just, you know, left the path where it was. I certainly won’t be voting for anyone on 5th May who thinks this was the right decision though.

  12. Richard Taylor Article author

    I observed the meeting. Councillors Catherine Smart, Pippas, Hipkin, Dryden, Blencowe and Hart all voted for the plans as proposed, only Cllr Tunnacliffe voted against.

    Councillors voted to ignore their strong planning policies designed to preserve and enhance cycling and walking connections within the city.

    Only Cllr Blencowe really explained his support, he said while a straight cycle route would be ideal, he thought the proposals were acceptable.

    The developer’s agent addressed the meeting to say the path is 3m wide (neither the plans, nor the proposed highway changes involve widening the path). I’ve been to measure the path and it is 2.1m wide. The committee was lied to and officers failed to pick up the misleading statement.

    I’ve made a video of my contribution to the meeting available:

    I’ve also published an edit of my footage of the planning meeting including all discussion of the Eastfield – Warren Road path, omitting everything else. This video includes me measuring the width of the path after the meeting:

    I note no councillor mentioned the accessibility to the properties and in particular the accessibility of the bathrooms for disabled people; and no councillor picked up the officer complaints about the cost of the porches.

    I’ve published the full video of the deliberation and decision which will be of interest to those concerned about the path to the school, which was omitted from the plans, and no consideration was given to providing a path to the front of the school. The provision of affordable housing, and if it was reasonable to consider the needs of current residents of the area, were also considered.

  13. Richard Taylor Article author

    To clarify that there is no additional width for the path in the proposals for highway designation changes:

    The approved plans do now have the 3m “footpath” in them though, so presumably to be compliant with the planning permission we’ll have to have a 3m wide footpath built, even if only 2m of that is formally highway.

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