We received a response to our email from the Business Support Administrator at the Canal & River Trust in Wigan:
Thank you for your email of 5th February with regard to the towpath between Carnforth and Lancaster on the Lancaster Canal.
I forwarded your email to our Engineering team and our Enterprise team asking for feedback to your enquiry which I am now in receipt of. I am sorry to advise that currently we do not have any plans for these sections of towpath to be resurfaced. We are aware of the issues and we do have a number of notifications in our system for them. Sadly, we have many areas of towpath in a similar condition, in addition to many other required works, so we are not always able to complete works as quickly as we would like to.
We manage over 2000 miles of historic waterway and this means that we are not always able to fund works to towpaths in a poor state of repair. We work hard to acquire third party assistance to complete betterment schemes. Sources for such funds can be partnership schemes with local authorities or agencies such as Sustrans. Please be advised that this section of towpath was upgraded & funded by Sustrans circa the year 2000.
I have spoken with the local supervisor asking if there are any temporary measure we can put in place to alleviate any pothole issue. He has furnished me with the attached photo of the standard condition of the Sustrans route, this photo being taken at Hest Bank. The towpath from the point of view of a walker is that it is one of the best towpaths we have but we can appreciate as a cyclists your point of view, as the surface is uneven in places.
Our asset teams will continue to monitor the area and note any deterioration and required works accordingly and we will continue to seek any help from third parties or funding streams we become aware of. We understand your frustration with regards to this issue and we do accept that it is a difficult situation. However, we simply do not have the money available to take action each time we receive a requests of this nature.
I hope that the above information addresses your enquiry. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further queries.
So Patricia has taken her up on her offer and emailed back to ask if at least the leaf muck could be swept up.
Dynamo has objected to planning application 16/01599/OUT for up to 49 houses at Higher Bond Gate, Abbeystead Road, Dolphinholme as follows:
Dynamo (Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign) wishes to object to this application on the grounds that it will increase traffic along narrow country lanes without providing anything in mitigation.
Dolphinholme has hardly any facilities beyond a primary school. Thus all activities will involve a car journey unless provision is made AT THE OUTSET for cycling to be the normal choice to get to The Fleece, Galgate or Lancaster University (for either work or study) for those who wish to do so. The City Council cannot continue to grant planning permission for housing developments without incorporating essential infrastructure for sustainability from the start.
The Rotary Club of Lancaster are organising a charitable sportive for Sunday 30 April 2017. There will be two routes – 36 miles or 71 miles – starting and finishing at Capernwray Hall, all in support of Headway, the UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury. More details at http://www.wrynose.org/
Dynamo has written to the Canal and River Trust about the state of the canal towpath:
Dear Mr Gibbons
I write on behalf of Dynamo (Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign) to express our concern about the state of the surfaced towpath between Lancaster and Carnforth.
Firstly, leaves from overhanging trees were not cleared or swept in winter, and the result is that in places the towpath is a slushy mess as the leaves turn to humus. For cyclists it is not just unpleasant but also slippery and potentially dangerous. Pedestrians, too, find it dirty and hazardous underfoot. A little bit of forethought and maintenance in November or December – i.e. sweeping the leaves while they were still whole and dryish – would have prevented this problem. Now it will require serious work to clean the path, which we hope will be done very soon.
Secondly, the surface between Carnforth and Hest Bank has broken up badly and is in a potentially dangerous condition. It has been like this for some years now, despite complaints, and there is still no sign of improvement. Could you please give this your urgent attention?
Given that the towpath is both a well-used utility route between Lancaster and Lancaster University and also a long-distance Sustrans route, surely the Canal & River Trust has a duty to maintain it in a better state? Is there no external funding available? Cycling and walking are promoted on your website, but at the moment Dynamo wouldn’t recommend either.
I do apologise for the negative tone of this email, but it is frustrating to see such a potentially useful transport resource being neglected in this way.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Greater Manchester received something like £20 million to make cycling easier and safer a couple of years ago. On a visit today, Dynamo noticed some changes in Oxford Road:
but also some hazards outside the Town Hall:
Since Dynamo is currently on foot rather than a bike, it’s impossible to say what cycling around Manchester nowadays is really like. If anyone has any experience, please let us know. Presumably £20 million does make a difference . . . ?
Dynamo member Matt Hodges is also a Right to Ride Representative for Cycling UK. He has given a great deal of thought to the news that there is funding to improve safety on the A588 road (which passes through Cockerham) and has written to Lancashire County Council with his views. You can read them here. Thank you to Matt for doing this.
Dynamo has been campaigning for safety improvements on the A6 for several years. We stepped this up in December 2014 when we wrote to Lancashire County Council about the awful accident statistics and demanded action. We then worked up a list of improvements, together with the Council’s Road Safety Manager, in April 2015. The significant improvements needed relate to the junctions where accidents have occurred, as well as minor lining and signing updates. In all this time, the Council has managed only the lining and signing and has even back tracked on promises to complete the work.
Dynamo has decided that it is essential to show a huge public support for County to implement these A6 safety measures in full and urgently. We have therefore launched an official e-petition on the County’s website which will run for 2 months. Please do go online and support this campaign, it can be found at bit.ly/A6-safety
Please don’t be put off by the need to register on the e-petition site: it only takes one minute to do.
Please also share as widely as you can with cycling groups, cyclists, parents who want to keep their children safe, and anybody else who cares about the safety of vulnerable road users.