Cycleway plan would be danger for young people

AT Monday’s area joint committee in Huntingdon last week, county highways officers recommended that a new cycleway was constructed in several areas around The Causeway in Godmanchester.

Godmanchester Town Council had agreed that it would support the schemes, which were all lumped together, but with reservations. Officers did not mention these reservations neither did they break down the consultation responses to the different parts of the scheme.

The survey went out to 120 homes, and 36 were returned – about 50 per cent were in favour and 50 per cent against. However, the 50 per cent in favour were for differing parts of the scheme.

I addressed the committee and stated this. I also stated that the consultation was flawed because it should have gone out to a much wider area as the majority of cyclists using the cycleway would be teenagers riding to and from schools in Huntingdon.

The plans were put on show at county highways offices three miles away and not where I had suggested at Queen Elizabeth School hall.

My main concern regarding the cycleway was that it would take up part of the road surface along The Causeway. Anyone who knows the area knows that there are vehicles parked along the riverside and that there are shops etc on the other side of the road. There is barely enough room for two vehicles to pass each other and it is somewhat impossible for commercial delivery vehicles. Officers stated that it was a good cycle scheme. I retorted that it was a children’s suicide cycleway, as kids coming and going to school by bike would be vying for the road surface space with all types of vehicles.

Councillors Nigel Pauley and Colin Hyams each had different things to say regarding the scheme and Cllr Sir Peter Brown supported my views, and there followed a very drawn-out debate.

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My concern was for the safety of all of the Godmanchester children who have to travel to Hinchingbrooke or St Peter’s Schools along The Causeway. Of course after The Causeway there would be no cycleway continuing along Post Street, which to my mind is quite ludicrous.

After several proposals for different schemes, the whole cycleway scheme has been sent to the market town strategy for reviewing, including all of the comments made by everyone, the need for far wider consultation and a local venue for the plans to be viewed by residents of Godmanchester.

I would love to see the right cycle scheme in place here, but not at the cost of injury or loss of life to any young people of Godmanchester.

Councillor JEFF DUTTON

Godmanchester and Huntingdon East

Cambridgeshire County Council