Review of Cycling Provision

In January 2014 we completed a review of the cycling provision in Warwick and Leamington Spa.  The full document is available to download.

Executive Summary and Recommendations

The towns of Warwick and Leamington Spa are relatively prosperous and growing, but the problem of more traffic, bringing more congestion and more pollution, is one of increasing public concern. Cycleways, a local group promoting cycling in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth, offers a contribution to a solution: to get more people on their bikes.

This paper examines current cycling provision in detail, and shows that real change is urgently needed in how cyclists are planned for. It is intended to start a productive dialogue with Warwickshire County Council, especially the Highways Department, but also involving Councillors for their support.

Sixteen on- and off-road cycle schemes were assessed, by site visits, against one or more of the following: the Warwickshire County Council 2006-2011 Local Plan, the Warwick Town Centre Streetscape Design Guide, and Planning Policy Guidance, Transport, PPG13. In addition, the schemes were assessed against the national design standards, Cycle-Friendly Infrastructure, 1996, DfT and/or LTN 2/08, DfT.

Of the eight on-road schemes, six have problems, and of the eight off-road schemes all have problems. Recommendations on how these could be resolved are given at the end of each scheme.

One scheme, the Parade-Bath street, (5.1) demonstrated that both a good standard of design and a thorough and inclusive consultation process can provide valuable lessons for future schemes.

In addition to reviewing the built details of cycle schemes, the planning processes for four specific developments were reviewed. All four developments had failures in delivering a key PPG13 objective to “give priority to people over ease of traffic movement.”

Accompanying the poor design has been a recurrent feature of indifference by WCC to concerns raised by members of the public and local councillors

The proposed new Local Plan, which highlights the importance of sustainable transport, was reviewed. However, the plans to mitigate additional traffic from new developments focus on increasing road capacity for motor vehicles, with little or no detail of how the needs of cyclists or pedestrians will be met.

The following recommendations are made:

  • To be open, transparent and willing to listen when dealing with Councillors and members of the public. Specifically, if WCC were to communicateits financial limitations to stakeholders that could generate a much more constructive dialogue. WCC need to make more use of the Cycle Forum and community groups, particularly at the planning stage.
  • To draw up a Framework Route Plan for cycling in Warwick District so that each element of future provision forms part of a coherent network of continuous routes.
  • To re-balance expenditure so that resources better match WCC policies. Congestion and pollution can be addressed by a “carrot” and “stick” approach to persuade motorists out of their cars.
  • To learn more from best practice elsewhere, and train staff in cycling provision.
  • To adhere to all internal safety audit recommendations.
  • To improve the delivery of the agreed Cycling Strategy, as laid out in the LTP.
  • To ensure that the Underlying Principles of LTN 2/08, and its successors, always provide the framework for the planning and design of the cycle infrastructure. Likewise, LTN 1/12 should provide the framework where pedestrian/cycle facilities are being planned. When there is a situation where this is not possible, then derogation should be published.
  • To follow the conditions of National Planning Policy Framework set out in 4.29 (p9-11, Planning Policy Framework, March 20, 2012, DCLG, HMG) particularly in respect of forthcoming major developments. As will be shown, failure to do so can have a significant adverse impact, not only on cyclists, but also on pedestrians.
  • To bring the existing cycle infrastructure up to the recommended guidelines to deliver the objectives of the LTP Cycling Strategy. This requires a programme of work with priorities for action, to be agreed with the relevant community groups.