New housing estates can often result in hazards for road users especially during construction, but also sometimes later too.
Here is a gentle warning if cycling in the new Whitchurch Mill Springs development. As part of the delineation of road surfaces granite sets have been placed between bricked paving areas and black asphalt surfaces, mostly near junctions. Some quite large gaps have been left between these setts creating channels that are in line with where bicycle wheels would travel.
Normally these would be filled but some remain unfinished even though the roads are open for use. Anything below a 32mm tyre is very likely to result in a loss of control. Indeed thinner tyres as on many sports bikes may cause a crash that could potentially be serious.
This is a warning if out on two wheels. It is accepted the works may not all be finished, but if in the area, take great care.
Whitchurch has its first ever section of official cycle path completed – or more correctly nearly completed.
The approximately 350 metre section runs from the top of Micheldever Road at the town boundary, past the new sports pitches and down to the new sports pavilion/changing rooms at Mill Springs.
It is a traffic-free shared-use path for cycles and pedestrians and has been provided as part of the Mill Springs development. It is already being used, as lockdown has resulted in a very large increase in walking and cycling.
Once the planned cycle route along Winchester Road with its crossing near the A34 junction is completed, there will be an onward link through to Tufton and beyond. This will avoid the necessity to deal with the notorious Micheldever Road junction and the section of Winchester Road that is all too well-known for speeding drivers.
Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, has a section on shared-use routes that gives good advice as to their use. See: SUSTRANS: SHARED USE PATHS
Whitchurch is surrounded by beautiful countryside much of it ideal for off-road cycling. However, the town itself only has one bridleway on which cycling is permitted that provides direct access – from Bloswood Drive northwards over the railway and towards Egbury. Other routes are either on-road with sharing motor traffic, or footpaths on which cycles are not permitted. Should there be others?
CyclingUK, the national charity that works for the interests of cycling are asking for details of any ‘missing links’. Duncan Dollimore, CyclingUK’s head of campaigns, has said: “We want to gather personal stories that show how much we could gain by improving off-road access”.
He explains: “With close to 80% of the rights of way network in England off-limits to cyclists, it can be really difficult to link up a route on bridleways and byways. Opening up more of our existing network of off-road trails provides so much potential for safe traffic-free routes, and is a cost-effective way of enabling more people to cycle. “
Where could there be better cycle access to our countryside? If you know of any routes around Whitchurch please let CyclingUK know: OPENING UP THE COUNTRYSIDE
Hampshire County Council are inviting all residents to have influence in the early development of the new Local Transport Plan by sharing your views. This is extremely important for the future of sustainable transport in the County.
What will our transport system look like in 2050? Should we not be asking for targets and change that 2050 to 2030?
What are we trying to achieve in terms of climate change, economy, the environment and society? Should we not be demanding firm budget figures for the investment? That seems to be missing.
How will we change the way in which we plan and deliver transport? To view more information and leave feedback, visit: HAMPSHIRE LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN Feedback must be submitted directly to HCC by 28 February 2021.
The Hampshire and IOW Police and Crime Commissioner is looking for people to join focus groups, saying: “you have the opportunity to talk to us about your thoughts, views and experiences on local policing, community safety and solutions to improving the life opportunities for all our residents.“ Transport and cycling is an important part of both our lives and our interests. To sign up and register interest see: FOCUS GROUP REGISTRATION
With Whitchurch being a popular location for cycling, a local resident had suggested more cycle parking was needed in the Town centre. The Town Council agreed and installed a number of racks.
Many who cycled supported the parking but a few businesses disagreed with their locations, one reason being that they prevented them driving their delivery vehicles up onto the pavements for loading and unloading. The Town Council reversed its decision and removed the racks. They now are now looking to place them elsewhere.
Meanwhile if you visit Whitchurch to use the shops or to buy a coffee please try and avoid leaving cycles on shop windows, while the Town Council decides what to do.
Those who use cycles all know the importance of security and that when stopping for a coffee, refreshments or to shop it is important to be able to keep an eye on your bike. Let us hope that this is given due consideration in the final decision.
Whitchurch Neighbourhood Plan sets out a number of local planning policies until 2029. It was determined by wide consultation with residents and agreed by Referendum. Sustainable travel of cycling, walking and public transport makes up an important element. The Town Council is currently looking for local volunteers to help review the Plan as there is potentially a lot more development on the horizon.