Active Travel

A background on Bridge Street

Allowing people to cycle on Bridge Street has caused a bit of a stir! I thought it would be helpful to provide some background as I see it.

In May 2020 the Government issued a statutory notice that demanded local councils submit proposals that would encourage more journeys to be taken by walking or cycling. This notice was issued when the Government was planning to bring the country out of lockdown and realised that the capacity of public transport was severely diminished.

Along with the statutory notice, the government was offering to pay for the proposals which was split into two tranches. Tranche1 was for temporary measures and tranche2 was to make those the temporary measures that were successful to be more permanent and to add further measures to encourage the take up of walking and cycling. The requirements for funding were quite strict. The measures had to be significant or in the words of the Government “alter the status quo” The measures for Tranche1 had to be started within 4 weeks and completed within 8 weeks. If a local authority failed to meet the requirements, the Government reserved the right to claw back funds allocated.

Tranche2 was for more permanent measures, however, if the Government felt that these measures were not sufficiently ambitious, they would allocate 0%, 25%, 50% or 75% of the requested funds. Some councils were so ambitious they were awarded over 100% of what they requested.

Cheshire East were awarded 100% of their request which amounted to £155K in tranche1 and £619K in tranche2.

Given the measures had to alter the status quo and be completed within 8 weeks it is difficult to see what Cheshire East could do in Congleton. Some councils created pop-up cycle lanes. In Congleton it is difficult to see where a pop-up cycle lane could be added other than Mountbatten Way. That could have been an alternative to what was chosen which was to change the status of Bridge Street. The council closed the road to through traffic except for access and allowed cycles to be ridden, stressing to “share with care”.

These measures are allowed by law through a process called a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) which permits local councils to make temporary changes for up to 18 months without consultation.

Congleton Town Council suggested that Cheshire East implement a 20mph zone in the town centre and add advanced stop lines on the Mountbatten Way crossroads. Although 20mph is in the suggested list from the Government they do say that 20mph on its own would not be sufficient to alter the status quo.

In summary, to be awarded funds of over three quarters of a million pounds, Cheshire East had to do something to encourage walking and cycling that was significant and quick. The decision they made was to allow cycling in Bridge Street, which may well be the least controversial measure they could have taken.

10 thoughts on “A background on Bridge Street

  1. I think this is the usual East Cheshire filling it coffers with government money, with out a single thought to people’s safety. Will be interesting to see a breakdown of how the money is spent, and what East Cheshire mangers to waste it on.

    1. Get a grip people are not unsafe sharing the space with cyclists in 6 years of living in Congleton twice I’ve nearly been knocked off my feet by people looking at their phones and not paying attention to where they are walking!!! Never have I ran anyone over or into anyone whilst riding my bike maybe you should try it and you may find being tollerant of others that chose to travel around in a different way to you may.make you a better person

  2. The background to the decision to is understood.

    What is not understood is why.
    Your last paragraph makes it sound a act of desperation in order to receive the grants.

    It is certainly not the least controversial measure that could be taken

    The responses in the Cheshire East survey show the strength of feeling against it.

    A contemptible decision, completely disregarding a strong majority decision.

    1. Sorry if it sounds desperate. Looking at the Government guidelines and what other councils have done I think that CE could have made a pop-cycle lane on Mountbatten Way or created a low traffic neighbourhood by closing a road. The change had to alter the status quo of the road. I understand this is necessary not just for this round of funding but for future funding. If that is true I would accept its a pretty crass way of obtaining funding to enhance cycling and walking within a town.

  3. Local authorities employ somebody who is nominated to be the Section 32 officer whose job is to ensure that funds are spent for the purpose for which they are received. I have no idea if this is abused in Cheshire East.

  4. So, from the background, it seems it’s been rushed through without appropriate thought and consideration. Money was available so let’s pocket it seems to be the mantra of CEC. I was against this but I am happy to see how matters evolve. I just cannot though understand the logic applied. If cyclists act responsibly then it could be a good move but I can’t help thinking it’s merely handed a licence to ride to those less responsible and who may well try to hone their skills at undertaking wheelies to the detriment of other users. But hey ho tomorrow is another day

  5. The pictures are a bit disingenuous. Reality is a lot of people, many old or not so nifty on their feet, criss-crossing (because it is a pedestrian area), queuing across the precinct due to Covid, or enjoying al fresco catch-up – suddenly from nowhere lone manic cyclist whizzes uncaring through . Not the helmeted, responsible parent with child behind as in the pic, which I’ve never seen yet. The latter can be seen on Biddulph Valley trail I hasten to add.

    1. I have always accepted that speeding cyclists in a shared area are a menace. Our group is trying to come up with suggestions to slow them down. I am not convinced that banning cyclists actually solves the problem because they will (as before) ignore the signage. If you have any workable suggestions please let us know at info@atcongleton.uk

  6. Grant Shapps, transport minister, reported in today’s Daily Mail, said” some local authorities are abusing the scheme”.

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