Tuesday, 16 April 2013

What's happening elsewhere?

Whilst our main focus has been on Backwell, there are also some encouraging initiatives being pursued elsewhere in the North Somerset area. We've focussed in this blog on those which seek to improve cycling and walking facilities within existing built-up areas, but there are also other initiatives to provide safe multi-user links between communities.
In September 2012 a Nailsea Town Councillor highlighted an initiative by the Welsh Government as reported in Planning magazine - see the following extract from the Council's minutes: 
 7. Consideration of an integrated network of walking and cycling paths
The magazine “Planning” reported the following in May 2012:
“The Welsh government has unveiled proposals to legally require councils to plan fully integrated networks of walking and cycling paths. A white paper, published for consultation last week, sets out proposals to require Welsh local authorities to identify and map the network of routes within their areas that are safe and appropriate for these activities.
The plans contained in the white paper would also require councils in Wales to identify and map the enhancements that would be required to create a fully integrated network for walking and cycling, and develop a prioritised list of schemes to deliver the network. 
In a statement, the Welsh government said that the key aim of the proposals was to see local authorities "enabling and encouraging more people to walk and cycle in Wales by connecting key sites such as hospitals, schools and shopping areas with traffic-free routes and cycle lanes". Wales' transport minister Carl Sargeant said that the proposals represented an "ambitious and radical plan to dramatically increase the numbers of people walking and cycling in Wales".
It is proposed that this matter could be referred for consideration by a working party”.
Cllr Philip Barclay

This proposal resulted in the creation of a Rights of Way Working Party, the draft terms of reference for which are:   

“To promote the use of rights of way, whether officially designated or not, as assets for the benefit of residents. This includes developing new routes and considering how all such routes can be maintained. To work with any relevant organisation in pursuit of these goals. In all considerations, balancing the needs of all users including the less able bodied and the disabled will be taken into account.”

Initiatives currently being explored by the Working Party include: 

A proposed 2.5 mile route for wheelchair users, a draft of which is shown in purple below:


A proposed cycle route from Millennium Park to North Drove:
 ....which continues on to Clevedon: 


A route from linking Backwell Lake and the Perrings. No map is available but it is understood it would follow the existing bridleway between the north shore of the lake to the open area adjacent to The Perrings.

Meanwhile in Clevedon a group called Transition Clevedon are focussing on sustainability issues including transport: according to their website:

"The Transport sub-group of Transition Clevedon has the following aims:

Short Term

To concentrate on cycling provision within Clevedon.
To look at existing cycle paths and signage, to work with appropriate groups and to make recommendations to the council for expanding and integrating the systems.

Long Term

To look at extending the cycling network from Clevedon into the neighbouring towns of Yatton, Weston-super-Mare and Portishead".

In relation to cycling provision within Clevedon, the website reports as follows:
"Paths in Clevedon

There are many good paths within Clevedon which were built when the estates around the ring roads were built. They are of a high specification being tarmacked, well lit and 9 feet wide (2.77 metres). Some are designated as dual use both for pedestrians and cyclists. Not many people know of their full extent, so Transition Clevedon would like to high-light the existence of these paths to the general public. We would like to work with the local and North Somerset Councils and also other local groups to produce a clear map, improve signage and highlight the health benefits of walking and cycling".
A draft proof map has recently been circulated by North Somerset Council's Sustainable Travel Team, shown below.  A copy of the full document can be found here

These are very much locally-driven initiatives, which is as it should be, given that the people best placed to create such path networks are the residents of the communities which they will serve. Hopefully, however, communities such as Nailsea and Clevedon - and Backwell - can work together to share ideas and experiences as each seeks to develop their networks.
As we become aware of further such developments we will highlight them in this blog.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Support for Backwell Sustainable Travel Action Group

Since we started the campaign we've been really encouraged by the support we've received both in Backwell and elsewhere. Rather than keep this to ourselves we thought we'd share it.

As well as the messages below, we've also had supportive feedback from (among others):
  • Backwell Residents Association
  • Chris Perry, Chair, Parish Council Steering Committee for the Backwell Neighbourhood Plan
  • Nailsea Town Council; and
  • Sustainable Backwell
We'll update this page with any further messages of support we get. In the meantime, keep spreading the word!

Messages of support include:

Rupert Crosbee, Sustrans Area Manager (Gloucestershire, Somerset and North Somerset):

"The aims of Backwell STAG, creating an environment which will enable and encourage more local journeys to be made on foot and cycle, are entirely in line with Sustrans work. ...Sustrans fully supports Backwell STAG and endorses its submissions to the developing Neighbourhood Plan."

Alex Bell, Head Teacher, Backwell C of E Junior School and West Leigh Infants School:

"I think this is a great idea and the way forward for local travel. Creating a safer route for all to use between the two schools has long been needed and I fully support the draft response document."

Julian Baldwin, Head Teacher, Backwell School:

"As Headteacher, I fully support proposals for safe cycling and walking routes within the village ....We would be happy to work with any organisation that can improve the safety (of) transport for our students and staff to and from school."

North Somerset Council:

"Great news - good luck with your efforts."

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol:

"Merry Christmas to you too...and good luck!"

John Grimshaw (founder and ex-CEO, Sustrans):

"Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help develop these routes and to make cycling "normal" in Backwell."

Cycling Embassy of Great Britain:

"Sounds like a good initiative. You have our support!"

The George at Backwell:

"Sounds like a great project. We have bike racks!"

The Triathlon Shop, Bristol:

"...happy to help and get involved where we can."

Roll for the Soul: Bristol's community bike cafe:

"Good luck to you!"

Mud Dock Cycleworks & Cafe:

"Good luck with the campaign"

Facebook 'likes' include:

Atmosphere Electric Bikes

Backwell Leisure Centre

Bristol Cycling Campaign

Bristol Trails Group

Clevedon and Weston Cycle Route Support Group


Findability ProPage

Leonard Cheshire Disability

Lifecycle Two's Company

Living Streets

Motivation International

Nailsea Disability Initiative

Nailsea People