Corsham Neighbourhood plan and cycling

Corsham’s Neighbourhood Plan completed its consultation at the end of last year but what does it all mean for cycling in this area?   The surrounding area of Corsham is a fantastic place for cycling however, the town provides few facilities to aid the cyclist either when approaching the town or within it.  This state of affairs is reinforced by the plan’s Design Guide  which states on page 31:

There are several long distance Sustrans cycle routes running through Wiltshire,
with Corsham lying at the intersection of Regional Route 20 and National Route
254 as it follows the Wiltshire Cycle Way. Route 254 runs from Dilton Marsh
to Bradford on Avon, following Cross Keys Road, Newlands Road and B3353
and Dicketts Road as it passes through Corsham. Regional Route 20 enters
Corsham along Lacock Road, meeting Route 254 at Pound Pill. Regional Route
403 starting in Great Bedwyn runs from Chippenham to Lacock, through the
Corsham Neighbourhood Plan Area.
There is a limited cycling infrastructure within Corsham and a lack of cycle storage
facilities. Wiltshire Council’s Corsham Cycling Map indicates only two cycle
parking points, at Springfield Recreation Ground and the Martingate Centre.
Prominent ‘no cycling’ signs near the High Street may discourage cycling as a
method of accessing the town. Equally, cycling infrastructure and connectivity
from the villages to Corsham is generally poor, and can be dangerous on busy
roads or lanes

This information is provided in the “Access and Movement” section which is subdivided into ‘Road’, ‘Car Parking’, ‘Buses’, ‘Rail’, ‘Walking’ and finally ‘Cycling’.   Cycling seems to be last in the priorities even behind the mythical Corsham station.

Corsham Cycling Map

Below is the Corsham Cycling Map for the Corsham Town website which has a number of what I can only describe as either ‘comments’ or a wish list.

The Valley Road Path

I spoke to some of the people involved in producing the plan at one of the consultation sessions and there was an acknowledgement of poor facilities in Corsham for cycling.  We discussed the Valley Road cycle ‘path’ which consist of the usual lines painted on the road.  These are intermittent lines which disappear when near a junction or near street furniture such as a traffic island so just when the path is needed, it disappears.  The cost of this cycle way was given at anything between £5k and £15k and I tend to believe the latter as by the time plans are drawn up, risk assessments are made, review, committee etc. then that £15k spent, the actual painting is incidental.  One of the consequences of the risk assessment would have resulted in its intermittent nature.  Ironically this has made it dangerous specifically at the traffic island were drivers will overtake a cyclist and cut in just before going through the gap between the island and the curb.

The map is therefore inaccurate in presenting the Valley Road path as continuous when clearly it is intermittent.  This leads to the comments and question marks on the map as if its not complete is some way.  A budding cyclist wanting to commute to Corsham to work would be a little confused by these comments and may give up before they have started.  Also what is a quiet street?  there seems to be no rational employed which makes Stokes Road Quite leaving Station Road ‘noisy’.    There are so many things wrong about this map that what is needed is a fresh start.

What can be done?

I asked how much Corsham town council had to spend on cycling infrastructure and a figure of ‘potentially £50k’ was mentioned.  Well what can be done for £50k?  3 Valley Roads type cycle paths? Well the map can be improved, the concept of signed Quiet Roads and Quiet Lanes could be introduced and the cycle lock up facilities could be improved.

There needs to be 2 maps, one for the internals of Corsham and one for the routes in and out to other surrounding towns and villages.  The maps need to be better resolution and not in pdf format since its difficult to scale on a web page.

Over the next few weeks I will be publishing what I think are good cycle routes around Corsham.

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