KCC Newsletter #31 – July 2019


Hello everyone and welcome to the latest newsletter from Kirklees Cycling Campaign.

 

Climate Change

In recent years there seemed to be general agreement among most Kirklees councillors and officers that, although cycling was to be encouraged, it could only be financed if nothing else got in the way. The problem was that the pressure to make more space for motor vehicles almost always did get in the way, and apart from painting a few (usually useless) white lines on the road, and forcing pedestrians to share their footway with cyclists, very little was done to make cycling a safer and more practical means of transport.

2019 seems to have changed all this. There has been a national awareness of climate change, the dangers of air pollution are constant national news items, and the future of transport is being radically rethought.

In the wake of this Kirklees Council seems to have suddenly come around to the idea of giving more priority for plans to encourage more cycling, and they seem to have accepted that finance allocated for transport can legitimately be used for cycling. We all await to see if the promises can materialise into making Kirklees a better place in which to cycle.

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Dewsbury Riverside

During the next decade a large area between Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury is due to be developed for up to 4000 houses. Up until now, local large scale housing developments have displayed a depressing lack of comprehensive planning. Little or no consideration has been given to the impact of the new householders using a motor vehicle for commuting, school runs, shopping and leisure activities in the local area. It has been the norm for the housing plans to be developed first, and then to leave transport and highway considerations until the housing is built.

The GoDewsbury community group has been doing a lot of work, at this early stage, to highlight, to the council, the sustainable transport opportunities for this major housing development at Dewsbury Riverside. They have identified many opportunities for cycle routes between the proposed housing and the Dewsbury centre and Railway Station. There is also potential for these new routes to link up with the existing ones such as the Calder Valley and Spen Valley Greenways. If these were developed they would make many short journeys by bike a better alternative to using the car as well as considerably increasing the opportunities for leisure cycling.

To make this happen though, the routes have to be established first – before parcelling out the plots for the housing. The house builders then have a realistic opportunity of designing their developments to fit in with the transport connections.

GoDewsbury has written two papers on their ideas and sent them to Officers and Cabinet. They can be seen on the following link:

Dewsbury Riverside Walk

 

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New Cultural Centre for Huddersfield?

Plans have recently been made public for redeveloping the Piazza Centre into a new cultural centre. The artist’s impressions look impressive, but they seem to overlook the elephant in the room which is the Queensgate section of the Huddersfield Ring Road. The four lanes of highway that is Queensgate make it a barrier rather than a gate for cyclists and pedestrians who want to cross it and until it is re-thought the University and canal will never be fully integrated with the rest of the town.

As a possible solution, how about forgetting the concept a Ring Road altogether and just having a By-Pass using Castlegate and Southgate? Trafalgar Square was transformed some years ago using the same principle.

 

Consultation is currently open for the cultural hub and many other projects in Huddersfield Town Centre. Details can be found on this link:

 

https://www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/crosschurch

 

The consultation also includes quite a lot of cycling proposals among which is the plan to have two-way cycling along Cross Church Street.

This would be a major improvement for cyclists. It would allow greater permeability through the town centre and free the major blockage on the route to the Holme Valley from the Railway Station.

 

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Plea For Help!

Kirklees Cycling Campaign desperately needs some help to manage and develop its website. If anyone reading this has some website experience and would be willing to help in any way, please get in touch, either directly to me by email, or via the ‘contact us’ section on the KCC website.

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John Lewis (KCC Chair)