Vale of White Horse Local Plan 2029 – HarBUG Response

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Please find attached a proposed response to the Vale of White Horse District Council’s Local Plan:

If you would like to comment / add to the HarBUG response please reply to the post below or in the forums or contact: chairman@harbug.org.uk

Please note we are only commenting on cycling infrastructure and provision.

Cycle to Work Day – Wed. 17th April

HarBUG are running a Cycle to Work day on Wednesday 17th April.

If you have not been cycling during this (very) long Winter then this is an ideal opportunity to get back into the saddle.

We will be running accompanied rides from the local towns (see attached poster for details).

We need ride leaders for the Abingdon, Wantage and Grove rides. So if you would like to help out please contact chairman@harbug.org.uk.

Please join in with the accompanied rides, it gives new riders a sense that they are not alone and is a good chance to meet with other cyclists from the same town. The rides may be at  a slower pace to what you are used to and may not be at the same time you normally travel but please make the effort. Thanks.

A cyclist’s breakfast will be served at the Harwell pavilion at the Thomson Avenue entrance from 07:30 to 09:00. The breakfast is free to all cycling in on that day.

One more thing, please could you display the attached poster on your organisations notice boards and if you have a intranet notice board, please contact me and I can send some ‘words’ about the cycle to work day.

Poster: Bike2work APR 2013 Poster

Let’s hope the 17th will be a nice sunny day.

Bike to Work Day Events 2013

A Couple of dates for your diary:

Campus Spring Bike to Work Day – Wednesday 17th April. Details to follow. This is after Easter so get your bikes out of the shed , during the holiday and ready to start cycling again. (if you have not been cycling over the Winter). We are looking for ride leaders from Abingdon, Wantage and Grove

Science Vale Bike to Work Day – Wednesday 19th June.

Current State of Cycle Tracks

If you have been cycling over the winter you will have noticed a degradation of the surfaces on the routes used to get to the campus.

The three main areas of concern are; the final 500m Western approach to the Campus from Wantage on route 44, route 44 East of the Campus from the A4185 crossing to Hagbourne Hill and the Winnaway. Please find below a summary for each area and what HarBUG is trying to get done about it. There are other bits of tracks that need to be looked at but these are the primary problem areas and have been for a while.

 

1) The final 500m Western approach to the Campus from Wantage on route 44. This stretch is badly overgrown and is now down to a rutted single wheel width in places. There is no way around it, this section needs to be re-surfaced. HarBUG are approaching Oxfordshire Countryside and Sustrans to get quotes for re-surfacing. Since this section is not used by farm vehicles it could be surfaced with Asphalt, similar to the old railway track from Didcot to Upton. OK getting quotes is one thing getting money is another and money for maintenance jobs is even more difficult. County councillors now have a budget they can use for small local jobs so we will approach this route and see if Harwell Oxford would also like to contribute. Any other ideas?

2) Route 44 East of the Campus from the A4185 crossing to Hagbourne Hill. This is used by heavy farm vehicles who have been moving a lot of ‘muck’ around recently and along with the Winter weather has resulted in the track being badly potholed and in places the potholes cannot be avoided. There is nothing we can do about the farm vehicles and usually the farmer does fill in the biggest potholes. What we are proposing for this section, as a trial, is to install a salt/grit bin filled with Limestone dust, a shovel, a surface tamper and possibly a fold-able wheelbarrow to repair holes ourselves before they get too large. At the moment the damage to the track is too great for this to make any difference but if the farmer does repair the track then we could give this a try, probably at the end of the track closest to the crossing which is the worst place for potholes. Questions to be asked:

  • Are HarBUG members happy to spend a few minutes to fill a hole or will it be left expecting other people to do it?
  • Would HarBUG members be interested in a Friday Afternoon pothole repair session every few weeks and spend 1/2 hour on their way home to help out?
  • Is it a silly idea and there any other ideas we should be looking at?

3) The Winnaway. The Winnaway has spent a lot of the winter under water. However we don’t want repairs or any maintenance on the Winnaway it needs to be completly drained, widened, upgraded, re-surfaced and extended down to the road crossing on the A4185. This is a capital expendidture project and we have consistently put this is the no.1 priority project for cycling infrastructure improvements for many years. Hopefully now with housing being built on the campus and the campus now being able to start it’s expansion, money for this will be made available. The Winnaway upgrade is as important as any other transport infrastructure or transport improvement project for the Science Vale and will deliver higher benefits to costs ratio than other proposed transport schemes.

If you do have any comments or suggestions please let us know.

Didcot Herald – Letter

HarBUG had a letter published in the Didcot Herald last week. It probably appeared in the Abingdon and Wantage / Grove editions also.

The letter can be read here.

There was a lot of reaction to the death of cyclist Paul Welch with calls for safety improvements etc. The letter was to point out that the roundabout is used daily by cyclists from Didcot getting to the campus without problems and any safety improvements usually don’t take into account the needs of cyclists.

There is already plans to build an off-road cycle path along the Wantage Road to Great Western park, which we are trying to get changed. The path will be no use to anybody who wants to use a cycle for transport or sport and probably make things worse.

We will have to see if there is any reaction to the letter. On the front page of the same edition of the Didcot Herald was the revelation that a report to be published soon will call for more sustainable transport in Didcot so the letter is very topical.

War on the Roads – Tonight

There is a documentary program about the ‘conflict’ between drivers and cyclists on roads tonight on BBC1 at 9:00pm.

By all accounts it does not give a balanced view towards cyclists but I guess it needs to be watched and individual opinions formed.

If you do have a car driver in your office / works who is always going on about cyclists always being in the way, shouldn’t be on the roads etc. then you may want to check out a couple of links to articles about the program on our Twitter page or look at the Twitter feed on our website at the bottom right of any page: www.harbug.org.uk. These should give you some background / context to the footage shown.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter or check the Twitter feed on the webpage as we do re-tweet messages with useful links.

 

Housing Development on Campus

Goodman, the Campus developers, have revealed plans for 120 houses to be built in the area North of Curie Avenue and South of the Icknield Way. This is the land where the Squash courts were and where the empty houses are standing. The housing scheme will include the Kids Unlimited Nursery.

There was a public consultation last Tuesday (13th Nov.) which HarBUG attended. HarBUG’s main concerns were the maintaining of the Icknield Way and the cycle path by the side of the A4185 from the crossing point to Curie Avenue, both of these are being safeguarded. You can view the display from the public consultation here.

If you have any comments about the development please let HarBUG know at web@harbug.org.uk.

Please note these are houses are not part of the 400 new houses planned for the North of the Icknield Way around the existing North Drive houses.

November News

A round up of the latest cycling issues on the Campus and in  the Science Vale Area.

 

 

 

 

Planning News 1

The full planning application for the Grove Airfield Development has been formally submitted. HarBUG submitted comments to the outline planning application and a revised transport section for the development has been included in the full application.  It looks like some changes to the cycle access points to Grove and Wantage has been included, which was our main concern.

The planning application reference is P12/V0299. The revised transport section can be found in the 2012_10_26 Additional information received folder 7.10. The HarBUG response to the outline  planning application can be found here.

If you have any comments on the application please contact web@harbug.org.uk before the end of this week, we have to have comments in by 12th November.

Planning News 2

Goodman are holding a public exhibition of proposals to build 125 new homes at the top of the campus around South Drive. The exhibition will be on Tuesday 13th November from 4pm to 8pm at the Harwell Pavilion next to the Thomson Avenue entrance. HarBUG have previously discussed the Campus masterplan with Goodman and commented that we would like to ensure the integrity of route 44 is maintained i.e. roads and housing are routed around the track.

Crap Cycle lanes

There has been a discussion in the Forums about sensible cycle lanes. We should and need to complain to the council if we see this ‘ad hoc’ approach to cycle lanes. They do not meet Government criteria for cycle lanes and potentially make things worse for cyclists. HarBUG is currently responding to a proposed crap cycle lane in Didcot from the Great Western Park to the Foxhall roundabout which is a key route from Didcot to the campus. If you know about proposed cycle lanes or see the council putting them in please let us know and we will write and oppose / complain about them, obviously only if they are crap, which they usually are.

P.S. the photo on this post is a crap cycle lane in Wantage and is from the Warrington Cycle Campaign Cycle Facility of the Month which this month features a facility in Oxford.

Compulsory Cycle Helmets

Following on from RSRLs introduction of compulsory wearing of cycle helmets, HarBUG contacted RSRL and have received a reply. The reply did not shed much light on why the measure was introduced other than it was already a requirement on their Winfrith site.

We have also contacted Harwell Oxford and STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the other two main landowners, to ensure that this does spread. In both cases we have confirmation that they have no intentions of introducing compulsory cycle helmets, unless there is a change in the law. STFC are soon to issue a new health and safety document concerning the use of site roads in which they state that the Highway Code applies to site roads and the use cycle helmets is recommended.

Fatal Cycle Accident

An accident occurred in Didcot on Saturday in which a cyclists died. The accident occurred at the Foxhall roundabout at the junction with Broadway and Wantage Road. This is a busy roundabout and used by quite a few HarBUG cyclists from Didcot. No details are available yet.

Campus Cyclists Rise To Challenge

Cyclists at the Harwell Oxford Campus put in a great effort for this year’s Oxfordshire Cycle Challenge and gained results to match. Organisations of all sizes joined in from STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory with 1000+ employees, to Magellium UK Ltd with 9 employees.

The results are now official. Competition was tough against Oxford based organisations, but STFC-RAL came first in the 500+ employee category after a tussle at the top with Oxfam. The ISIS department at STFC-RAL came second on their own in the 200 to 499 employee category, with Diamond Light Source taking third place.

Other campus organisations taking part were; Research Sites Restoration Ltd., AEA Group, Nuvia, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Magellium UK Ltd. and Amec.

In total Harwell Campus cyclists cycled 23,344miles (37,584km) burnt 723,764 Calories and saved 5,542kg of CO2.

An Excel spreadsheet with a results summary of all campus orgnaisations taking part can be found here: OXON Cycle Challenge 2012 – Harwell.

Don’t forget a topic has been created in the Latest News forum if you want to have your say about the results or the challenge.

Compulsory Wearing of Cycle Helmets – HarBUG Statement

Following the introduction of the compulsory wearing of cycle helmets when cycling in the Harwell secure site there was a resolution at the A.G.M. for HarBUG to make a statement of the groups view on cycle helmets.

The following statement on the use of cycle helmets was agreed:

HarBUG does not support the compulsory use of cycle helmets and believes it must be left to the choice of the individual cyclist whether to wear a helmet or not.

 

It was decided to keep the statement short and to the point and not to start putting any reasons into the statement.

Full minutes of the A.G.M. will be published shortly.

Don’t forget if you want to comment on this statement or the compulsory use of cycle helmets a topic has been started in the website ‘latest news’ forum.

Also we are now on Twitter. We follow cycle related sites like; CTC, Sustrans, Cyclox, CTC Wantage an retweet interesting stuff so please follow us or check the website panel.