Thursday, 13 March 2014

Proposed closure of Welham Road - Graveney School

Daytime picture of the gate on Welham Road. Impossible to cycle through, so I mount the pavement to get around the cars. Why there aren't double yellow lines on the approach to the gate passes I don't know.

Just responded to the Conservative's survey on their support for the proposed closure of Welham Road to public access (on foot and by bike).

These are my comments:

Closing this road to through access for people on foot and bicycles would be awful. Currently it provides a safe, quiet route which avoids the horrendous Southcroft Road. Cycling around the top involves going up a hill, expending further energy which when you are cycling or walking one tends to take the easiest route, or one that expends the least amount of energy.

Your support for the closure, yet again, illustrates that you completely don't get that an environment which is attractive to walk and cycle in, is good for everyone irrespective of how they choose to travel. In terms of safety concerns, let's consider how many actual reported incidents there have been in terms of 'stranger danger' and compare against the very real number of people who have been hurt as a result of car crashes in the area.

As I understand it from the local police there have been no reported incidents of 'stranger danger'. However, if you care to look at you will quickly see, there is a very real danger on our streets, with people really getting hurt.

Let's create a safer street environment where walking and cycling are the most attractive ways for people travel short trips (up to 2-3miles), in turn reduce congestion for those who need to drive, as well as reducing wear and tear on our roads.

It isn't difficult to get. Frustrating that the Conservatives (as a party, there are exceptions) are so blind to this, even after years of campaigning by local groups and individuals.


As a result of this post Dan Watkins tweeted me about it. Now he seems to agree that maintaining pedestrian/cycle through access shouldn't be as difficult as keeping space for cars, which in essence the road does at present. Just very unfortunate that simple things like this needed to be pointed out in the first place.


  1. Under what piece of legislation would they propose removing what is a public highway?

    First way is to gain a planning consent for a scheme which includes building on the area currently highway. Not sure a "communal space" cuts it in my opinion. If a planning consent is gained, then an application to "stop up" the highway can be made using the Town & Country Planning Act.

    This requires an Order to stop up.

    Being a unitary authority having granted planning consent, highway grounds would be difficult to object to, although all of the utility companies with kit in the area would object unless the developer paid to have them diverted or came to an agreement to keep them in place (they are normally reluctant).

    Second way. Highways Act route where the Council would have to convince a magistrate's court that the highway is no longer required. Utter cobblers it would be thrown out!

    The sensible idea is to close it to motor traffic. The area could be redeveloped and the highway repaved to compliment the development with a proper little cycle track through the middle. Or, just save a tonne of cash and stick some bollards in at each end of the closure.

  2. A little more clarification from me on this, since Twitter is not the best forum for discussing complex issues with Jon...

    The primary reason for doing the Welham / Graveney project is not child safety, but rather it is to build a provision for ASD (Autistic Disorder Spectrum) children. Since that building will go on the land occupied by Welham Rd, car access will almost certainly be lost.

    It may be possible for the School to retain walking/cycling access through the new site, but even that is not straightforward, and clearly is contingent on the final plans which the school submits for consultation. I hope very much that walking/cycling can be retained, for all of the reasons Jon gives. If it is not possible, then a much tougher decision will need to be made, since we will have to choose one or the other.

    Dan Watkins