Witham Northern’s County Councillor, Ross Playle, is calling for residents to join him in “putting the brakes” on plans by Bellway Homes to construct a shared-use walking and cycling lane along Collingwood Road in Witham.
It forms part of the planning application by the housing developer to build an additional 230 homes on Rivenhall Park estate in the north of the town.
Braintree District’s Planning Committee previously deferred the plans to enable Bellway to re-think the proposed cycleway and undertake a public consultation. But despite concerns raised by Ross and Witham Town Council, they have made no changes to the original scheme and a public consultation is now taking place.
The proposals envision a cycle lane, in parts shared with pedestrians, along Collingwood Road with a new toucan crossing on the railway bridge just after the mini-roundabout at the top of The Avenue and the Easton Road junction. Ross has criticised the ‘piecemeal’ nature of the route including the possible danger the toucan crossing and dismount points will pose to both cyclists and pedestrians.
Essex County Councillor for Witham Northern, Ross Playle, said:
“As a cyclist myself, I want to see improvements which make cycling an attractive and safer travel option in Witham. However, this proposal is more of an obstacle course than a cycleway and could turn out to be an accident waiting to happen.”
“It is just 0.3miles in length and expects cyclist to dismount at several points, affirming vehicle priority over them. I have heard from many local experienced cyclists that the toucan crossing around the Easton Road junction could pose an unnecessary safety risk to both cyclists and pedestrians.
“This should have been an exciting opportunity for active travel in our town. Developers need to understand we are looking for real commitment from them to work with the community to improve local infrastructure. In its current form I have little choice but to add my objection to these flawed proposals.”
Ross is encouraging residents to have their say on the plans before 10th February by visiting Braintree District Council’s online planning portal and searching app. ref. no. 20/02060/OUT.