Wivenhoe to Essex University Cycle Path

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  • edited June 2014
    @Jon_Manning....you are saying the majority of those surveyed went for option 3b. Where is your evidence on that? 

  • "If however the Town Council, The borough Councillors the majority of those surveyed and the cycling guru at the borough all went for option 3B"

    I think the relevant word is ' if '
  • edited June 2014
    Hey @Jon_Manning - that's quite an assumption that you have made on two counts: directly associating the outcome of a consultation by a majority Tory party with that of the minority Labour Cllr. That's a bit like making the assumption that you support anything that the minority Tory group at Borough level puts forward. I would hope that this isn't the case.

    Your second assumption regarding an opposition Cllr having influence over the ruling party is equally as perplexing. Once again - do the Tories at Borough level influence what you do?

    Please tell me that this thread hasn't been "hijacked for political point scoring."

    But if it has, you still haven't explained how you managed to get around the CBC ruling on not using a council email address for political self promotion.
  • I believe it was around 62% of those we asked were satisfied with option 3B it was a long time ago now. and responses are of course subject to data protection. Which route did you prefer?
  • Jason Said "But if it has, you still haven't explained how you managed to get around the CBC ruling on not using a council email address for political self promotion."

    I have just spoken to the agent who says "we apologise for any confusion caused this was an error caused by copying and pasting the contact details from a ward newsletter which was due to go out before the By-election was called it is being rectified"

    and you are right Jason this does seem to have become  a matter of political point scoring which is not what the thread should be about it was just that as a councillor from a political party has been updating the town council every month on the cycle path I naively thought they had some input and were driving it. I only report the things I'm directly involved in and not things that just happen anyway  and thought others did the same.
  • edited June 2014
    @Jon_Manning the 62% for Option 3b that you refer to was from your own survey of some students at the University. This thread mentioned it here;

    We have been told that the result of the Essex County Council public survey was that Option 1 was the preferred route. We have to take that at face value, and without any evidence to say that was not the case it is pretty scurrilous to imply that the County Council is pushing ahead with a route no one wanted and that somehow Cllr Young is complicit in that. Can we stick to the facts as we know them.

    It is certainly true that Wivenhoe Borough councillors put Option 3b ahead of the others. But Option 1 was not that far behind and was considered 'probably the best scheme" (if costs weren't a consideration). This is from the CBC report on the consultation, also reported on earlier in this thread.

    Wivenhoe Councillors considered all five options against the following criteria.

    Quality, directness, continuous, catchment served, traffic free, safety and deliverability. Each
    scheme was scored on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). The maximum score was 35.

    The scoring was as follows –

    Option 1... 27 

    Option 2... 21 

    Option 3a... 29 

    Option 3b... 33 

    Option 4... 14



  • edited June 2014
    I naively thought they had some input and were driving it.
    Hate to break it to you Jon, but ECC is Tory controlled.
  • Local Highway Panel has just agreed an extra £250k towards the Cyclepath, Rodney Bass has promised to deliver this, he says trust him. I requested lighting and a toucan crossing at the Flag
  • edited June 2014
    To add to Cllr Julie Young's headlines from the Local Highway Panel, held at Colchester Town Hall tonight, here is a report based on jottings made at the meeting. The meeting was public and was recorded so a precise record of what was said will be available on the CBC website at some point. But in the meantime, here is how it went as best as I can recall it:

    Colchester Local Highway Panel Meeting
    Wed 18th June 2014

    Remaining budget: £514,525

    Panel members: CC Member Kevin Bentley, CC Member Julie Young, CC Member Sue Lissimore, Col Cllr Lesley Scott-Boutell, Col Cllr Theresa Higgins, Col Cllr William Quince, Parish Cllr John Gili-Ross.

    Other Attendees: Cllr Rodney Bass (ECC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation), ECC Officer Alan Lindsay (Strategy and Engagement Manager), ECC Officer Rob Macdonald (Highways Liaison Officer)

    Agenda item 4 - University to Wivenhoe Cycle Link.

    (apologies to any readers new to the subject, but if you are then check back on this thread if you are unsure of anything. The information should be there  somewhere!)

    Quotes from the discussion: 

    Alan Lindsay: ECC have no firm position on the route option. We're not in any immediate danger of losing the money that has been allocated. We're looking to deliver at the earliest possibility.

    Cllr Rodney Bass: The cycle path was the principle reason for him being at the meeting. The intention is to implement a scheme for the cycle path as quickly as we can. But clearly there is a budget disparity as the s106 money (the £250,000 that has already been allocated by the University) means there will be a funding shortfall.
    He wanted to know what option does the Local Highway Panel prefer. There is a genuine desire to do what is right. He wants to hear if  the LHP is prepared to put some funding into the scheme. NO route option will be possible with just the £250,000 in the pot at the moment. Whatever the Colchester Local Highways Panel puts in there will have to be some further contribution from Essex County Council and/or Colchester Borough Council.

    Cllr Julie Young: Wanted to know a couple of questions. What are the results of the consultation, and what are the price tags against the route options? Cllr Young said she would go with option 3b, but she emphasised the need for a Toucan crossing near the fire station. She said she thought that most people who cycle liked the idea of an off road route, away from cars. In other words the behind the hedge route (Option 3b). Her only caveat with that was that lighting could be a problem, and she would like to see the route lit.

    Cllr Will Quince: Supported the idea of the Wivenhoe cycle path in principle. He said the idea had been going on for some years, and we've got to the point now of having to "bite on the bullet". He thought another £250,000 from the Local Highway Panel budget should be added to the existing £250,000 already allocated from the s106 money. 

    Cllr Julie Young: Interjected to say that "we do need a price tag". She thought Will Quince's price (in total £500,000) was quite a bit adrift from what was needed to deliver Option 1. She thought it would now be more like £750,000.

    Cllr Rodney Bass: Ultimately it will be the County Council that will deal with this and he will have to make the decision, but what he would like to see is half a million now set aside in order to progress things.
    £500,000 might not be enough, and there maybe a need to supplement it, especially with additions for a Toucan crossing and extra lighting.

    As for the consultation, it was noted that the Borough view and Cllr Young's view was for option 3b, there was the online survey results too, but he revealed that OPTION 1 was the view of the students.

    Cllr Rodney Bass said there were a lot of variables to consider and so they couldn't give a definite price on a definite route at this stage, but what he was after was a steer from the panel.

    At this point a formal proposal was put forward by Cllr Will Quince for £250,000 to be added to the cycle path budget from the Colchester Local Highway Panel budget.
    County Cllr Julie Young seconded the proposal.

    One of the councillors pointed out that it would be £250,000 out of a remaining budget of £514,525.  One of the officials did mention something about that budget could be exceeded (some money was available from somewhere else, but I'm afraid I missed the detail).

    Cllr Rodney Bass: Summed up the situation. This has been going on for ages. We have CBC'c view on it, we have Borough Councillor's views on it, he has had one meeting with the University recently and he is going back there for another. There has been extensive consultation, we don't want more paper work done on this, the object of the exercise now is delivery. He asked the panel to "trust me", and he said he'll be coming back to the next meeting of the panel (Sept 10th when public are excluded).

    The additional £250,000 was then agreed upon by the entire panel. This makes half a million pounds now available for the cycle path.


  • Thanks for this very detailed report Roger.
  • funny how you missed the visiting councillor though wasn't it.
  • I wonder how many students participated in the survey or was the option 1 preference expressed by someone responding on behalf of the students' union? 
  • It is surely good news that additional funding has been secured.  Clear voices in committee now needed to speed the process of delivery.
  • How the Essex County Standard has reported this week's developments...


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  • Quote "Cllr Julie Young: Wanted to know a couple of questions. What are the results of the consultation, and what are the price tags against the route options? Cllr Young said she would go with option 3b, but she emphasised the need for a Toucan crossing near the fire station"

    Why? Does the cost warrant it? Or would it be offset by getting rid of the school crossing lady?  .
  • Ckwiv I think you are well aware that Labour and the community have fought and won the case for keeping the crossing patrol. A Toucan crossing will be an additional safe route for cyclists and pedestrians all hours, not just at the beginning and end of school.
  • Thought ECC were doing away with Crossing Patrols where there are Toucan Crossings, or is Wivenhoe's absolutely safeguarded?
  • edited June 2014
    The two issues are separate. 

    In the recent U-turn by ECC on school crossing patrols only seven lollipop wardens were scrapped, and those were where traffic light operated Pelican crossings already existed.

    The Toucan crossing (for cyclists and pedestrians) is already in the design stage for the cycle path. The only route option where it didn't appear was in the least favoured Option 4 (the across the fields route).
  • Pelican and Toucan crossings are both operated by traffic lights, and as both crossing are within very close distance of each other, I think one must expect the axe to fall. I do agree that a Toucan crossing is more beneficial.   
  • You always have to think about the negatives as well as the positives. Widening the road could also make it easier for development,i.e. housing.
  • edited June 2014
    It wasn't Cllr Rodney Bass who allocated the new £250,000, but the Colchester Local Highways Panel.
    There is a piece about it in today's Gazette (P.17). The last paragraphs are relevant to the above post:

    Last year, the panel was forced to hand back cash to the county council highways because of delays in drawing up potential road improvements. Mrs Young, a Labour councillor, said this should not be a problem this year.
    She added: "I think this new panel is in a much better place in terms of spending the money. We have over-allocated our resources now, so I think in terms of Colchester the whole budget will be spent on what it's meant to be spent on."
  • edited June 2014
    You don,t get handed 250k towards a cycle path for nothing.

    To clarify, normally to get extra funding then it may well improve the chances of getting the project completed and also give other benefits as well i.e. better,safer road for all users. However, you also should look long term and evaluate possible other side effects, i.e. more housing or commercial premises on Colchester Rd , access to future developments the other side of Clingoe Hill  . Not to say that these may or may not be beneficial to Wivenhoe   

    Edited to comply with Moderators request  . 
  • Ckwiv I think you are well aware that Labour and the community have fought and won the case for keeping the crossing patrol. A Toucan crossing will be an additional safe route for cyclists and pedestrians all hours, not just at the beginning and end of school.
    You have avoided the part " Why? Does the cost warrant it? Or would it be offset by getting rid of the school crossing lady?
  • edited June 2014
    ckwiv said:
    "You don,t get handed 250k towards a cycle path for nothing.
    To clarify, normally to get extra funding then it may well improve the chances of getting the project completed and also give other benefits as well i.e. better,safer road for all users. However, you also should look long term and evaluate possible other side effects, i.e. more housing or commercial premises on Colchester Rd , access to future developments the other side of Clingoe Hill  . Not to say that these may or may not be beneficial to Wivenhoe   
    Edited to comply with Moderators request  . "


    Just to be clear, route Option 1 has been described as a road widening scheme, but it would be more accurate to say it is a road realignment scheme. That is how it is described on the design maps that were available during the consultation. The realignment is also only for that section of road that runs in front of
    the two houses.
    That's where the problem "pinch point" was. 

    What was also clear from the Local Highways Panel meeting was that a final decision has yet to be made on the route. ECC Highways are having to look into the possibility of Option 1 because that was the one most favoured by the university students. But it may be that another option (most likely 3b) will eventually be chosen.
    As reported from the meeting, Cllr Rodney Bass said that none of the route options would be possible with just the original £250,000 from the University funding. 

    So I think it is rather fanciful to imagine the additional money that the Local Highways Panel contributed had in any way a hidden agenda that could pave the way for development plans along the Colchester Road or north of Clingoe Hill (which are as yet non-existent).
  • http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/9715863.Cycle_path_project_gets___250k_boost/

    Thank you, Julie for your tenacity in keeping this project on the agenda and thus securing further funding.  

    Credit to all other parties who have made their contribution to the debate.
  • How the Gazette reported it yesterday....


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  • edited July 2014
    Essex County Council has responded to my FoI request regarding the public consultation for the proposed cycle path between Wivenhoe and the University.

    I asked:

    Please can you provide me with all correspondence between Essex County County Council and any public or private partner regarding the building of a cycle path between Wivenhoe and the University of Essex.

    Please include emails sent or received from council officers, as well as emails sent or received by County councillors. I would also like to see any minutes for meetings about the cycle path, or any documents that have been circulated internally.

    The timeframe that I am interested in is 1 January 2014 to 17 June 2014."

    This coincided with the date when the public consultation came to an end in December of last year, and the mid-June date when Option 1 was announced as the preferred public route.

    I'm rather disappointed with the results that the FoI trawl has thrown up. I was hopeful of gaining an insight into the exact results of the public consultation that led to Route 1 being chosen.

    Instead the email dialogue at ECC over the past six months shows how the Portfolio Holder gets to make the final decision, regardless it seems of any outcome from the public consultation.

    Plus there is the suggestion that decisions about the cycle path were timed to meet the political developments building up to the July Quay by-election.

    Here are some of the points that stand out for me…

    The Strategy and Engagement Officer at ECC asked the Accident Datas dept on 9 January for details of the accidents between the junction of Boundary Road and Colchester Road, and the accidents near to the Fire Station.

    A response came back on 14 February.

    The Transport Strategy & Engagement Officer replied:

    image

    Need it for what, I wonder?

    On 4 June Cllr Bass asked the Head of Economic Growth & Development to remind him of how much money is currently needed for the cycle path, ahead of a meeting at the University:

    image

    The reply:

    image 

    Cllr Bass that confirms that you don’t get something for nothing. It seems that ECC is willing to front up the cash, but only if ‘positive publicity’ can be achieved.

    image 

    Happy to oblige.

    It all then gets rather political.

    A redacted Colchester Borough Council source based at Rowan House confirms to the Transport Strategy & Engagement Manager at ECC when the Quay by-election is being held, and who previously held the seat:

    image

    The Transport Strategy & Engagement Manager replies:

    image 

    I'm not sure who the 'us' is. 

    On the 10 June the Transport Strategy & Engagement Manager asked the Strategic Development Engineer about possibly finding any other S106 money for the cycle path:

    image 

    The reply came back: “I’m not aware of any current or upcoming strategic proposals, which could contribute.” 

    Plus the Transport Strategy & Engagement Officer sent an email to a redacted source, stating:

    image 

    Ha bloody ha.

    On 11 June the Transport Strategy & Engagement Manager was looking for ways to reduce the cost of building Option 1:

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    On 16 June Cllr Young asked the Strategic Development Engineer if the £250,000 had been paid back to the University:

    image 

    I can’t find a reply to this request in the FoI bundle.

    On 17 June Cllr Young raised concern with the Transport Strategy & Engagement Manager about the high cost of Option 1, now the preferred route:

    image

    Also on 17 June, Cllr Bass confirmed to Cllr Young that the University £250,000 is safe until 2017: 

    image 

    Plus Cllr Bass makes it clear that *he* will decide on which option, regardless of the results of the consultation:

    image 

    And the Transport Strategy & Engagement Manager decides not to continue the email conversation: 

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    I’d welcome anyone else looking through the haul to try and pick anything out. It is most disappointing though that results of the public consultation haven’t been made available to residents.
  • edited July 2014
    Very interesting Jason, thanks.

    This caught my eye...1 The Avenue is the old Cedric's Garage site opposite the Co-op.
    It was being looked at to see if the S106 money (some £50,000) from its development could be used towards the Cycle Path scheme.

    From: Alan Lindsay, Transport Strategy & Engagement Manager
    Sent: 10 June 2014 21:19

    To: xxxxxxxx, Strategic Development Engineer

    Subject: Possible S106 Monies - Wivenhoe/University

    I was just wondering if there are any opportunities at present to secure any
    possible S106 monies that could be a contribution to the university to Wivenhoe
    cycle link – is there anything in the offing there?

    Best Regards
    Alan Lindsay

    Transport Strategy & Engagement Manager
    Economic Growth and Development, Essex County Council

    image
  • edited July 2014
    Another interesting paragraph from one of the emails that Jason's FoI request has produced…

    With your approval I would like to proceed with option 1, and seek the additional funding from Colchester LHP with the fall back position of going with option 3a.

    The next steps would be to undertake detailed design and costing of the chosen route.

    If you would like a more detailed discussion then I am sure we can put this on the agenda for the next Commissioning Board.

    Many thanks

    Sean

    Sean Perry

    Head of Economic Growth and Development


    So the fall back position to Option 1 is, according to this, Option 3A. 

    Option 1 is the most expensive and involves road widening of a section on the eastern side of the Colchester Road. Option 3A is the route along the west side of the Colchester Road and going behind the two houses. 

    But whatever happened to Option 3B which was the most favoured by Wivenhoe Town Council, Wivenhoe's Borough Councillors, and Colchester Borough Council to name but three organisations? Option 3B went behind the hedge and behind the houses on the west side of the road.

    Cllr Julie Young has asked to see the full results of the public consultation but so far has not been provided with the details. We have been told in one of the e-mails by Alan Lindsay, Transport Strategy and Engagement Officer, that the public chose Option 1. But at the Colchester Local Highways Panel in June he said that the University students preferred Option 1.
  • It's a real puzzle. The number of students taking the survey must have been very large to make such a difference....

    Yet when the Neighbourhood Plan carried out a well publicised electronic survey amongst students (with the support of the SU) there were only 49 respondents - even though there were prizes for taking part!
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