South Cambridgeshire District Council has published the latest version of its Local Plan for public consultation. When it is formally adopted, this will become the planning ‘blueprint’ for the rural area around Cambridge.
The plan contains a number of policies related to cycling. In particular, it states that the council will seek ‘adequate facilities’ for cyclists in new developments, by providing for ‘safe and convenient’ access by cycle as part of the development. This is a welcome, if unexceptional, policy – past versions of the plan have said much the same – though it is good to see the council use the word ‘convenient.’
It also states that the council will seek ‘the adequate provision of cycle parking’ in new developments. The council already has a set of cycle parking standards for such developments. The plan says that cycle parking is particularly important at ’employment, shopping, education, health and other community facilities’ and at ‘transport interchanges such as bus and railway stations and park and ride car parks’. It adds that such cycle parking should always be secure (which we hope means Sheffield racks!) and ideally protected from the weather.
The plan also says that ‘it is important that the needs of cyclists are taken into account in the design of all new roads’ and mentions improvements to the ‘cycleway network’. We were worried, however, by a section that reads ‘it is the District Council’s view that, given the speed of motor traffic on many rural roads, the dual-use path or segregated track is safer and gives greater confidence to many cyclists than on-carriageway cycle lanes’ . The Campaign believes that this is jumping to conclusions, and that off-road provision isn’t always the best way to cater for cyclists. Sometimes it is, but in many places, particularly within villages, a better solution is to reduce the speed and volume of motor traffic, or to allocate road space to cyclists on the carriageway. We have therefore submitted an objection to this section, asking the council to keep an open mind and to consider every scheme on its individual merits.