CARE ABOUT THE THICKET PATH? Last chance to register your view!

The Government has appointed an Inspector to decide on Cambridge County Council's plan to change The Thicket path into a cycle track. The Council have referred the decision because they've already received a lot of opposition. Nevertheless, they're pressing ahead. A Local Public Enquiry is being held at 10.00am on Wednesday 22 March and Thursday 23 March in Commemoration Hall, Huntingdon.

The Council have tried to suppress objections by failing to communicate the change adequately. Three small notices at either end of the footpath that for all the world look like fly posters. That's it.

The Inspector is unlikely to know much about The Thicket footpath. He won't know this is a much-loved local route used by at least ten times as many walkers and joggers as cyclists. He'll be unaware that most cyclist are solo, whereas foot traffic is often in pairs or groups. The acceptance of considerate leisure cyclists and the danger from those who speed and give no warning is unknown to him. Unless we let him know.

This is all about numbers. If insufficient people object, the change will go through. By changing the priority on the footpath, there's a significant risk this ancient route will be spoiled for walkers, joggers, motorised wheelchair users and considerate leisure cyclists. So please make your view known this weekend. It's really easy. Just choose one of the following two methods.

Vote for the petition
Just takes seconds. Support John Hunt's excellent petition to leave things as they are. Loads of comments shown. Currently he has the support of just under 500 people. Can he reach 500? Why not 1,000. Please vote for the petition.

Send your view directly to the Inspector
Even better, why not tell the Inspector exactly what you think? This would be even more powerful. The objections Cambridgeshire Walks has raised are shown below. Fell free to use any of these, even better if you think of additional points. Email concerns to nationalcasework@dft.gsi.gov.uk. Click the link and an email opens automatically including the reference NATTRAN/E/CYCLETRACK/92. For good measure you could also email your town or parish, district and county councillors.

You can read the original article with all the comments received, view the Order and plans or read about Thicket Inquiry - The Experience. Below are the objections raised by Cambridgeshire Walks.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:10 pm

    The shared use path along the A1123 from St Ives to Houghton is currently very poor and is in desperate need of an upgrade. There should be a minimum 3m wide path from Huntingdon all the way to St Ives, with a cycle path continuing along Houghton Road and St Audrey Lane in St Ives. Currently the A1123 path is bumpy, too narrow (extremely narrow in places), undulates up and down at the driveways along Houghton Hill, is directly next to the fast road (should have a gap between the cycle path and the road) and then just ends randomly at Hill Estate T-junction. You then have to take a detour through Houghton, which means you may as well have used the Thicket in the first place! Accessing the beginning of the path in St Ives is also not exactly pleasant, because there’s no cycle path on Houghton Road in St Ives, and Green Lees and High Lees are busy rat runs that desparately need to be closed to though traffic.

    If this path was built to a good standard, it would reduce the number of faster cyclists on the Thicket. On busy weekends, the number of peestrians on the Thicket means it’s too busy to be a practical cycle route, so an A1123 path would provide a useful alternative even for slower cyclists.

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  2. Anonymous11:02 pm

    Completely nuts to say that the A1123 'cycle path' is an alternative. Anyone who says it is hasn't cycled along it..

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    1. Anonymous6:20 am

      Cambridgeshire County Council, the local authority trying to turn The Thicket footpath into a cycle track, seem to differ from your opinion. They've spent money upgrading the route along the A1123 into a cycle track. It's certainly not suitable for families taking young children cycling, and walkers along The Thicket accept considerate cyclists. It might undulate, it might have an incline. It would be a fickle cyclist who couldn't cope with these 'obstacles'. There is a lot of traffic along the accompanying road. Likewise the St Ives and Needingworth bypasses, both having cycle tracks created alongside by CCC. So what exactly is the objection???

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    2. Anonymous2:17 am

      I can't see where they've spent much money upgrading the A1123 "cycle track". All they've done is designate a path designed for use by low numbers of pedestrians as a cycle track. Recently they upgraded one of the worst sections near St Ives (it was unbelievably bad). Now that short section is sort of okay, but still not good enough.

      The cycle paths along the St Ives and Needingworth bypasses are considerably better than the A1123 path. They could still be improved significantly, but I consider them good enough for now. For example, the new section of path between Needingworth and Bluntisham is smooth, wide, doesn't undulate and is separated from traffic by a grass verge along much of its length. This is in complete contrast with the awful A1123 path which doesn't have any of these basic features. If you can't see the difference, you definitely haven't cycled on them!

      People just won't use a path that feels uncomfortable and unsafe. You can't reasonably expect people to use the A1123 when there is a much higher quality alternative available. Of course we don't want people cycling fast on the Thicket, so the solution isn't to tell cyclists to get over it and use the A1123 anyway, but to provide a good cycle path along the A1123 that people will want to use!

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