Dynamo’s view on Old Filter House, A6, planning application for student accommodation

Text of Dynamo’s comments below.

In principle, Dynamo (Lancaster & District Cycle Campaign) has no objection to the plan for student accommodation; it seems a sensible use of this site. Our objection and concern are that there are a number of plans for development in this part of Lancaster, and it is not clear how together they will provide the necessary infrastructure for sustainable transport that is clearly needed. There is the Bailrigg Business Park/Health Innovation Campus, the Booths store, vague plans for housing around Whinney Carr, and this development.

At present, cycle provision seems very piecemeal. For example, the Bailrigg Business Park provides for 950m of cyclepath along the A6 – but where exactly? Plans that Dynamo were shown earlier this year suggest that this cyclepath does not extend as far as Bailrigg Lane, which – given that the lane takes you to an existing cycle route – seems flawed. Then this current scheme provides a toucan crossing over the A6 (good news), but also has a 3m-wide footway/cycleway north of Bailrigg Lane. This does not suggest joined-up thinking. Dynamo is in favour of cycle lanes on the A6, but they should be proper lanes on the road so that cyclists do not have to give way at every side junction. (The County Council’s proposals to reduce the number of HGVs using the A6 makes this more feasible.)

What Dynamo also proposes is a completely new cycle route running parallel to the railway line from opposite the new science park/southern tip of the Old Filter House site, due north to join up with Lawson’s Bridge, Cinder Lane and then Ashford Road. This has the advantage of being off-road, direct and flatter than the Burrow Beck route. (See https://lancasterdynamo.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/ashton-road-alternative-cycle-route.pdf.) This means that there needs to be co-ordination of the three planning applications – i.e. this one, the Bailrigg Business Park and the Booths application – so that this route can be built. The Booths application already allows for part of the route to Lawson’s Bridge, and the Bailrigg Business Park can provide “up to 2.65km of further off-site designated footpaths/cycle paths” (application no. 12/00626/RENU).

There are undoubtedly challenges in building such a route, but Dynamo urges the City Council to think big on this. We are fobbed off with another few hundred metres of unconnected path/lane/painted lines when we really need a network of decent routes – some on-road, some off-road – and this is one way of using three current planning applications to make a real difference.

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About lancasterdynamo

Dynamo is a cycling group, established in 1994, to work with official bodies, other cycling organisations and interested individuals to promote cycling as a safe, enjoyable and healthy means of transport.
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