The Capital Programme makes specific mention of tackling traffic congestion in specific areas. There is also specific funding in Year 1 of £214K of Service Development Capital which appears to be an allocation from the CIL levy for the Arborfield Development (which is further specified in the 10 year Capital Vision) as well as mention of Specified Section 106 allocations of a recurring £45k. In addition there is a specified £1.787k apportionment in the 10 Year Capital Vision for the Wokingham Borough Cycle Network.
The Capital Programme also contains a specific project relating to a Safe Route to Arborfield School. £214k is allocated to this project to progress the design and construction and to include all feasibility work. Could you therefore please tell me what options for the delivery of a cycle route were presented and considered by elected Members?
It remains the aim of the Council to provide a safe cycleway along Nine Mile Ride between California Crossroads and Bohunt School.
There was a planning commitment to provide a walking route to the new school, and it was also agreed that it was desirable to provide, in addition, a cycleway. Although not part of the planning requirement the Council felt it would be beneficial and they would fund it. The Council recognises that it has informed local parents that it intends to proceed with a cycleway and it regrets the delay.
A footpath takes up less space than a combined footpath and cycleway in terms of width. When Officers investigated the route they found major problems which were constraining what would happen quickly. The Council is committed to working with the local Members and parents to achieve a satisfactory and safe resolution for all parties at the earliest opportunity.
In order to have a safe route by the new term the decision to go ahead with just the footpath was made; which will be achieved by September 2017, ie this year. The Council is also committed to pushing ahead with a sufficiently lit greenway between the FBC and Bohunt School to ensure that this is also ready by September 2017.
However as I said right at the beginning, the opportunity to put in a cycleway in the future is still our aim. However, there are complex legal issues surrounding this matter that have prevented us from putting in the cycle route by this September.
However, we will be working closely with local Members, residents and parents in order to achieve the best result for the area and to resolve those issues. It has been agreed with local Members that free bus passes on the number 3 bus route serving the school will temporarily continue until an alternative safe cycleway route is implemented. In addition, we have agreed to a request by local Members to undertake a feasibility study and find an alternative route for the cycleway and to consult with those Members prior to a decision being made.
Who, apart from you, were party to the decision to cancel the cycle element that was released last week?
The various Officers and myself. The local Members will have known part of the issue, obviously, but it is basically the Officers and the Member that were in the meeting at the discussion.