The T(h)ins

This article was published in 2003, in Newsletter 47.

The Tins Path is a useful and very popular cycle route from Mill Road to Cherry Hinton which runs through the site of a former cement works off Coldham’s Lane. Some two years ago, negotiations with the developers of the cement works site resulted in plans for a high quality 3 m path to be paid for under a Section 106 agreement. Unfortunately the legal status of this path, as footpath rather than bridleway, resulted in a letter from Railtrack stating that it was ‘an act of trespass’ to cycle over the rail bridge on this route. (Newsletter 42, ‘Fiasco on the Tins’ June 2002.) We hope that, with help from Sustrans, it may be possible to resolve this issue.

Now, at the eleventh hour, a planning application proposes to narrow the several hundred metres of route past the new development to 1.75 m (the original 3 m is the minimum recommended in the Government publication Cycle-friendly Infrastructure). Rather puzzlingly, information from the developers suggested that this was requested by the ‘development control’ department at the City Council. An email reply from the Council uses the phrases ‘constrained by vegetation’ and ‘it will be important that the standard is consistent with the network throughout the City and be of a specification for the authority to adopt’. Given that the application covers the section of the path through the redeveloped site, at present resembling a soggy desert, we can see no reason for ‘vegetation’ being an issue, neither can we see why substandard paths elsewhere should be used as a reason for constructing a narrow path here. thins
The new path, intended to go across this building site, would be much narrower than the temporary alternative if plans are downgraded.

We have written to object in the strongest terms to this planning application, and to query the City Council’s instruction to reduce a 3 m path to 1.75 m.

Jim Chisholm