Report from Zone 9 Cycling Group – 7th July 2020
‘Zone 9 Cycling Group’ has been set up as a sub-group of Sustainable Chesham and consists of local cyclists who see the promotion of cycling and cycling facilities as an essential response to helping Chesham and the surrounding area provide a more sustainable environment. We have now completed another online meeting using Zoom and feel that it is now time to send our recommendations on cycling to Sustainable Chesham with the express wish that they be presented to the relevant council, councillors etc. as soon as possible. The recent government initiative provides us with a great opportunity to get something substantial implemented urgently.
In this report, the term ‘cycling’ includes all shapes, sizes and types of bikes as well as cyclists themselves. So we also include e-bikes.
We believe that a Cycling Hub should be established in the town as soon as possible. To this end, and in view of the urgency, a submission has been made to the Chesham Masterplan on this point, setting out what is required. The attached document ‘Cycling Hub.doc’ sets out what we believe needs to be achieved.
It is worth noting that we had a successful Zoom meeting with Jeremy Wyman and Andy Garnett, from the Rotary Club, and both were very supportive. Andy has also been involved with the Chesham Masterplan, which is why we submitted the case for a Cycling Hub so urgently, and Jeremy provided us with a useful link to the Sustrans map on council responses to the recent government initiative (see below, point 3). We would prefer the Chittendens site for the hub, though there are other options (namely the Moor Gym & Swim site). However, a site near the railway station would be good as it would be more readily seen by commuters and people visiting Chesham.
It should also be noted that the aim is not to compete with local cycling shops or cafes. However, the local cycling shop is only open, as far as we know, on Fridays and Saturdays between 11:30am and 16:00pm. As the move towards a Hub progresses, we would certainly be keen to keep Stonnells (cycle shop) and Fastbreak (sports shop) informed and consulted.
As for cafes etc. the Hub would only supply specific cycling drinks and snacks not available elsewhere. The Hub should also entice more visitors and locals to the town centre, increasing the footfall/tyrefall for the benefit of everyone.
Map of proposed new cycle routes through Chesham (by Mark Cowie)
In the map you should be able to see [i] a possible route to the station from the top of Nashleigh Hill [ii] a route up through Lowndes park to the school at the top (thus encouraging more pupils/students/staff, ancillary staff etc. to cycle to the school) [iii] routes that link to the Amersham Road cycle path and Waterside [iv] plus a few other suggestions.
In addition, we think it important that some means should be found, whereby cyclists can cycle to or through the ‘pedestrianised’ part of the High Street. Heavy motorised vehicles have access through the area, so, for example, a specified cycle path/lane would not be difficult to put in place. Many cyclists come to the town for a coffee break or visit the market and shops, and we think this should be encouraged.
Local Authority responses
According to the main UK cycling organisation, Cycling UK, “£225m has been made available in England alongside revised statutory guidance for local authorities that makes it clear that local authorities are expected to use their powers to implement temporary measures such as pop up cycle lanes to enable more people to walk and cycle safely.”
The charity Sustrans, which created the National Cycle Network, has created a useful map to show the latest street changes across the UK that have arisen as a response to the government initiative.
The map shows that action is taking place in terms of temporary cycle lanes, wider footpaths, barriers to close streets to motor traffic, and reduced speed limits, and we would like to see Chesham on that map.
Finally, it is worth noting the positive and supportive comments on walking and cycling in the recent missive from Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council
“It’s also really important to drive safely and keep your speed down. I have noticed, as a cyclist that over the past few weeks that there is now more traffic on our roads. Also, some drivers are driving far too fast which is endangering not only themselves but also walkers and cyclists.
It is absolutely vital that all drivers observe the speed limits and take extra care out on the roads. This helps keep all road-users safe and avoids extra strain on the NHS and emergency services at a time when they are already under great pressure.
We are looking at opportunities to bid into the Government’s recently announced ‘Active Travel’ fund which is designed to promote more walking and cycling.”
We are looking forward to seeing these opportunities being realised.
End of report
Zone 9 Cycling Group