Fiasco on the Tins

Image as described adjacent

Construction is well underway on the old cement works site off Coldham’s Lane that we most recently reported on in Newsletter 32 back in October 2000. If you use the path known as the Tins along the back of the site, you’ll know what a good job the developers have done in providing a temporary alternative while they rebuild what should also be an excellent route to replace the old path.

Image as described adjacent
The Tins: A cycle route, except for 3 metres in the middle.

What a shame therefore that the nasty blind corners and hump over the railway bridge at the city end of the site lets the whole route down.

We tried to get this improved both indirectly, as part of the planning gain from the development, and directly from the County Council and Railtrack, with no success.

How much more disappointing, though, has been the attitude the County Council and Railtrack have chosen to take on this. Rather than look at how the bridge might be improved, in response to our letter, the County Council wrote to Railtrack telling them that cycling wasn’t really allowed there anyway. This is despite:

  • Constant use by cyclists for decades (acknowledged in the County Council’s letter),
  • Formal signposting as a cycle route by the City Council.
  • City Council insistence that the route be upgraded for better cycling by the developers of the cement works site as part of the planning consent.

Railtrack then took the councilspeak completely literally and wrote back to us saying we are trespassing by cycling over the bridge: ‘Railtrack agrees with Mr Richards’ view that cycling across the bridge is an act of trespass, as the bridge is not dedicated to the public save as a footpath. I would be grateful if you could brief members of your campaign of this.’

‘Railtrack agrees with Mr Richards’ view that cycling across the bridge is an act of trespass, as the bridge is not dedicated to the public save as a footpath. I would be grateful if you could brief members of your campaign of this’

Obviously the writer has completely failed to grasp that hundreds of people (and not just members of Cambridge Cycling Campaign, obviously) cycle over the bridge every day. Is he proposing suing us all? Is he proposing suing the City Council for putting up signs suggesting they should? Should we expect to see ‘Cyclist Dismount’ signs any day now?

So, there, we’ve passed on the message. I’m certain as can be that you’ll all now be good little people and get off and walk over the bridge (and don’t step on the cracks or the bears will get you).

David Earl