Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Wickham Glen update

Update: The planning application has been resubmitted but it does not answer all of the objections. Watch this space as we may be asking for more objections to go in if there are no more changes to this proposal.

Councillors unanimously rejected the application for a 3m wide ramp through Wickham Glen despite recommendations from planners to approve the proposal. This follows a carefully researched campaign by Snuff Mills Action Group and concerns raised by many supporters of the group as well a local Councillors.

The Councillors have deferred a formal rejection until a future committee to allow the Cycling City team time to come up with a ramp that is not so wide and adresses the proposed dangerous exit onto Blackberry Hill properly.

Thanks to eveyone who helped by sending in statements and objections - it really makes a difference. A special thank you to Ivor Needs (pictured left with Mark Logan) who helped us research the issues over disabled access properly by joining us on a site visit with his disabled son, Matt.

We hope to work with the Cycling City team to develop a proposal that will genuinely inprove access to the Glen for everyone, but keep the Glen tranquil and special.

7 comments:

sued said...

Common sense prevails! Hooray!

Anonymous said...

Yes if anyone should know the difficulties facing disabled people then it would be Ivor.
I hope that the Cycling Team can come up with some ideas that will help with access into the Glen without resorting the building of a huge ugly ramp. Lets hope they can adapt the original entrance at Frome Terrace.

I was a little alarmed by one of the reports made to the Development And Control Committee stating that bushes needed to be chopped down to make the path safer and more secure. Who in there right mind would walk through a wood at night anyway and most of all why would they really need to? Does this mean that all the bushes in parks including Snuff Mills need to be removed to make them safer? Hilarious.

Callan said...

"Who in there right mind would walk through a wood at night anyway and most of all why would they really need to?" - A 6 foot 5 dog walker like me!

Phil said...

I think it is rather premature to assume that there has been some sort of success in getting this ramp re-thought. It seems that the proposers of this ramp are being given the opportunity to re-design the ramp to a narrower specification. However, this will still have a major impact on the whole area. 3.0m, 2.5m, etc etc. What's the big difference? You still need to fell the same number of trees. There is still the rissk from speeding cyclists. There is still the risk from the exit point onto the bottom of Blackberry Hill. There is still the potential damage from illegal motorcycles getting onto the ramp and accessing Wickham Glen. And there is still the future impact on the pathway that leads through the park (and joins the ramp). Go and read carefully the correspondence document in the planning application. It is made very clear that the Council intends to widen the pathway through the field to 3.0m wide, once the ramp is in place. Of course, they cannot do this until the ramp is improved. Furthermore, they have stated that they will not need planning consent for this pathway widening, because it is a public right of way. This ramp, in whatever form or width is the thin end of the wedge and I believe it will lead to the partial destruction of Wickham Glen. The only way to stop this destruction is by opposing any ramp whatsoever. If there is an issue with access through the stile (with local residents), then this is an issue that BCC should have addressed years ago. It is unfortunate that there is limited disabled access at this part of the park and I sympathise, but sometimes there are bigger priorities. The Council's pretence that they need to consider disabled access and to present this as a major part of their considerations is outrageous and cynical. Take a look at the plans in the planning application. Do you see a wheelchair on the drawings? No. Just a bike and two standing people. Look at the pathway at Colston weir where it joins the bridge. Is that wheelchair friendly? No. My understanding is that through lack of funds, they will not now be improving that bridge, so the difficult wheelchair access from path to bridge has been quietly forgotten. Strange how disabled considerations take a back seat when money is tight. It seems to me that "Cycling City" have been given a load of money (£23m) to spend and spend it they will, regardless. The bill sofar for all of the consulting, planning, arboreal reports etc etc must be colossal. I propose that this ramp plan be opposed in any form. There are surely better ways of improving pedestrian and disabled access to this part of the park, without building this monstrosity. As for the cyclists, all I can say is that Eastville Park is a park, not a cycle path. As a walker, I don't demand the right to walk down the middle of the road! Wickham Glen is about to be ruined, so that an unrelated Cycling project can meet it's project objectives and spend the budget it has been given. I can only hope that the Cycling City project runs out of money before it can commit this act of environmental vandalism.

PS. There is allegedly a bylaw prohibiting cycling in the park. If so, how can BCC actively promote the breaking of a bylaw? They reckon that they are going to revoke this bylaw. Why was this bylaw not revoked before planning was sought? Or maybe it isn't that straightforward.......

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me why a large tanker-type lorry has taken to visiting the Wickham Hill end of the Glen, about once a week? Is it pumping something into somewhere (the river?) or out? It's certainly chewing up the ground, and last week a piece of large-bore hose was left behind.

I am suspicious.

Phil said...

Anonymous,

Yes, I saw that tanker on Friday, 24 September. It was pumping something out of the concrete manhole structure near to the gate and it looked like it was pumping into it's own tank. I agree that under the circumstances, it is suspicious. I didn't see anything going into the river though. I didn't know that this was a regular event. You are right that it has churned up the ground. Unless anybody else knows why this is happening, simplest solution would be to ask the crew next time they are present and see what they say...

Woodburner said...

Looks like we're off again with the resubmitted plans...why can't they just bury it?