The Open Letter
The newsletter for March was taken up with the open letter to the two cabinet leaders responsible for highways in Kirklees. Some of you may have seen large parts of it printed in the ‘Huddersfield Examiner’. This led to Pulse Radio requesting a short interview.
The response from Cllr McBride was summed up in the phrase that our differences were “not as great as I presume”.
The response from Cllr Khan ‘reminded’ me that her responsibilities were for ‘repairs and maintenance’ (perhaps suggesting that the contents of the letter did not apply to her). After a couple of further emails between us she agreed that there was a lot of opportunities to improve the road conditions for cyclists at the time of making repairs or maintenance and that she would instruct officers to proceed with this approach.
We now wait to see whether any action will follow the words of the two cabinet leaders.
This is a new tool for highlighting problem places for cyclists. Go to:
and search Kirklees Cycling Campaign amongst the listed local groups. After going through the process of joining the group you can look at the issues listed and vote for the ones you think are important. The more votes the bigger the priority. You can also add to the discussion or highlight a new issue that you think ought to be on the list.
Many groups all over the country are beginning to use this tool. If there are enough local users and participants it will become invaluable in highlighting the road conditions for cyclists in Kirklees.
At the moment we are still having teething problems with it (I managed to put up the wrong photo for an issue and now can’t find a way of taking it down). I feel though that, in time, it has the potential to be able to map all the issues in the area. Have a look at it and see what you think.
Meltham Greenway – a work in progress (A contribution from Bill Hunter)
The Greenway is a railway path on the former Meltham line, closed in the 1960s. It diverged from the Penistone line just beyond Lockwood station, passing through Beaumont Park and 2 short tunnels under Netherton, followed by a fairly straight section with a combination of embankments and cuttings to Healey House and sMeltham Mills, terminating on Station Road, adjacent to Morrisons supermarket in the centre of Meltham.
At present only 2 short sections of the line are legally accessible and in a fit state for cycling and walking – within Beaumont Park, thanks to the Friends of Beaumont Park, where it is easily accessible from Meltham Road; and from Huddersfield Road at Meltham Mills to Morrisons and Station Road, this largely due to the efforts of the Friends of Meltham Greenway. In Beaumont Park the Greenway
There are now good prospects for opening up the section between Healey House and Netherton, thanks to recent residential development at the former, and proposed development at the latter, with appropriate planning conditions to ensure access, and developer contributions of land and funding.
This section will enable residents of the Healey House development, and employees at the adjacent business park to walk or cycle the 1km or so directly to Netherton and its schools, shops and the health centre, without using the main Huddersfield Road.
The next phase should logically be the “missing link”, also of about 1km, between Healey House and Meltham Mills. Developer funding is unlikely to be available for this section, so other sources will need to be identified. Looking even further ahead, the link from Netherton through the tunnels to Beaumont Park presents major challenges, but is achievable in the longer term. The full length of the Greenway is a proposed route in the Kirklees Local Plan, so that is at least a start!
Tell us about the greenways you use, or the ones you would like to be created. They don’t have to be railway paths, just off road routes.
Merit of the Month
Kirklees Council, for surfacing a footpath in Meltham, between Wessenden Head Road and Calmlands Road, using a material based on shredded waste tyres. Not an obvious cycle route, but this would seem to be a green and suitable treatment for other paths and tracks which are, or could become, established cycle routes.
Cycling exposure and risk of cycling in West Yorkshire: 2011-2016
This recent piece of research by Jean Siakeu is referred to on one of the KCC website pages, and it makes particularly depressing reading for those of us living in Kirklees.
In 2011 the census registered how people travelled to work. Subsequently researchers using these statistics made a table of towns and cities in the UK and gave the percentages of the population who regularly cycled to their place of employment. In this table Huddersfield was third from bottom with well under 1% commuting by bike.
Now, it seems, that numbers of all Kirklees cyclists have declined since 2011. Not just that. Whilst numbers of cyclists have gone down, numbers of cycling accidents have gone up.
All this is in direct contrast to the other regions in West Yorkshire where cycling numbers have increased and accidents have proportionally reduced.
More Bike Parking at Huddersfield Station
Platform 1 on the station at Huddersfield now has about double its previous capacity of bike racks to lock and leave your bike while you go off on the train without it. The new enclosed area also has a facility to inflate your tyres. It a little more inconvenient to wheel the bike further down the platform when the old racks are full, but at least you can be sure of a rack when you enter the station. There is now room for about 100 bikes. When a few more people realize how much more convenient and reliable it is, to ride to the station, we may well be asking for more racks before too long.
Meeting Request to Steven Hanley (Kirklees Highways)
A request was sent to Steven Hanley on April 1st for representatives of KCC to meet some members of the Highways team.
The KCC committee said that they would like to make a presentation of their network maps and hoped that this would be the beginning of a process to develop a comprehensive cycling network plan for Kirklees.
It was also said that KCC would like to discuss with highways some other areas of concern. These were:
Using road maintenance and repair schedules to improve roads for cyclists.
Proposals for Halifax Rd
Proposals for Meltham Greenway
The recent ‘cycling infrastructure’ in Colne Rd, Queen St South and Queensgate.
As of the date of writing this (14/04/17) KCC has not received a response to this request.
Saturday April 22nd – Space for Cycling Day 10 am Huddersfield Railway Station – St Georges Square
Just to remind everyone that this an attempt to show the council that cyclists need space on the roads in Kirklees and another way of asking for a minimum of 5%-10% of the annual local transport budget to be given towards making our roads safer and easier to use.
I’m hoping that Cycling UK is going to supply us with a placard or two, but feel free to tie a balloon or two on your bike or try out a bit of face paint. I hope that we can get some good photos to share with the press and social media.
It is a family friendly easy short ride in two parts.
Part 1. – Is a slow one-hour ride in and around the town centre that will hopefully be enjoyable for everyone, and a spectacle for those shoppers and others who see us pass by.
Part 2. – Is a one-hour guided tour some of Huddersfield’s “Problem Places” for cyclists. They cover:
difficult or dangerous spots.
inept/unhelpful council cycle infrastructure.
examples of some current problems of not being able to get from one part of the town to another without being forced onto the Ring Road.
key places for a cycle network in and around Huddersfield.
Please try to come to one or both of these events. Make it difficult for the Council to continue to ignore cycling in its transport policy and show them that it matters to you.
Best wishes to everyone
– Chair Kirklees Cycling Campaign