This links to the meeting that Matt and Patricia had in December with the City Council. As part of its Local Plan, the City Council has identified the following 3 areas for large-scale residential development:
- South of Carnforth – ca. 700 houses, primary school and recreational hub
- East Lancaster – ca. 900 houses, primary school, country park, keep the golf course
- North Lancaster – ca. 700 houses and a primary school
and is also looking at cycling movements around the city centre as they relate to the above, with people travelling around to go to work, school, shopping, the hospital, etc.
The other big planned developments – Bailrigg Garden Village/south Lancaster and Morecambe/Heysham – do not feature in this PAN at all. They will be covered by the Lancaster Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), currently being prepared by the County Council. A Cycle Superhighway is mentioned re the BGV/south Lancaster plan, along with a bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund . . . but we’ll have to wait and see.
Dynamo welcomes the PAN in proactively trying to manage the extra movements that these big new residential developments will bring. The approach is pragmatic rather than ideological: the City Council is well aware that it needs to encourage a modal shift to sustainable transport in order not to aggravate traffic congestion and air quality problems, and, more broadly, alludes to climate change.
The PAN lays out the good, the bad and the deficiencies in the existing cycle network/notwork. It focuses on utility cycling to work, school, shops and transport hubs. It’s interesting to note the maximum suggested distances that the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation sets for trips: 2km for walking and 5km for cycling – distances which will make some of us feel like elite athletes!
The canal towpath is viewed primarily as a leisure route; it’s too narrow and has too many bridges/bottlenecks to be promoted as a real through-route.
Funding for this infrastructure will be through developer contributions. The City Council is still investigating the use of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which would permit them to demand contributions for infrastructure not in the immediate vicinity of a particular development. There is no indication in the PAN whether they will take this route.
What you can do
If you wish to make your own response to the PAN, you can do so before 29 August 2019 by emailing comments to email@example.com.
Dynamo’s response to the PAN
Thank you for giving Dynamo the opportunity to comment on this Planning Advisory Note. We are pleased to see that the City Council is thinking ahead in how to minimise the extra traffic and movements that these big new housing estates will generate.
Broadly speaking, we approve of the infrastructure plans set out in the PAN and the priority given to them in appendix C, particularly with regards to the canal crossings.
The areas where we are not in agreement with the PAN or would wish to make additions are
1. The high priority given to an overground crossing of the Greyhound Bridge approach road (re Lancaster East). This is the single most expensive item in Appendix C and the PAN gives it high priority. At present you can cycle/walk through the Sainsbury’s underpass. While it’s not the most attractive route, it is usable and does not feel unsafe during rush hours, so we are at a loss to understand why so much funding and such high priority is given to something which is preferable rather than essential.
2. Re Lancaster City Centre: the indicative routes in figure 7 take cyclists across two particularly problematic junctions at Queen Square and Dalton Square. There have been collisions on King Street where cyclists have been hit by cars leaving Queen Street (not all of them recorded in the County Council’s accident statistics), and crossing Dalton Square on foot or by bicycle always feels risky. Dynamo has frequently suggested that Queen Street and Dalton Square should be blocked off to through traffic, and we would like to see this incorporated into the plans.
3. If the Bay Gateway is to be used as a strategic cycle route for the Lancaster North site (para 6.4), it will need better routine maintenance than at present.