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£5million Sustainable Transport Grant

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The sustainable transport steering group meeting is shown in the calendar here

Just wondering if there any opinions, views or ideas about the topic from the members of the forum then the group might read the thread and Community Online can pass their views across.

There is more information about the local sustainable transport fund here http://www.bit.ly/shropshire-lstf

Also found some interesting information and maps about cycling in and around Oswestry on the Cycle Shrewsbury website here http://www.cycleshre...oswestry-ludlow

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Think it would be a great idea to see the Gobowen to Oswestry railway line used as a cycle route. It would need a route under or over the A5, but would be a great route from Gobowen into Oswestry and down to work places in the Maesbury Road Industrial Estate.

I imagine it could be added into the National Cycle route, as route 31 is in Oswestry.

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I so agree! The road between Gobowen and Oswestry is a bit twisty for safe cycling, so I too would love to see the old rail track used as a cycle route.

There's a good pavement route between Whittington and Oswestry that's so easy to use.

Shropshire Council promotes a number of circular cycle routes around the lanes and countryside of the area. These include Scenic Selattyn (31 miles), Ceirog Climber (25 miles), Vyrnwy Valley Voyage (28 miles) and Ellesmere Explorer (31 miles).

Route 31 is part of the National Cycle Route. It connects Oswestry to Whitchurch via country lanes going through Whittington and Ellesmere. This route is signposted, although difficult to follow. I tried to get to Whitchurch using the map and signposts during the summer. I think I got as far as Northwood and found myself on the road to Wem!

I got my bike serviced by the "Bike Doctor" earlier in the year and he suggested I try the Llangollen Canal tow path. It's a joy to go along as the ground is level and the surface for most of the way is good quality (for a mountain bike). The scenery is wonderful too!

I spent some time trying out the cycle routes over the summer, but didn't see many other cyclists, perhaps suggesting that this is an area that needs more promotion.

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Does the sustainable transport scheme include boats? Elsewhere on British Canal network there is campaigning for more freight to be transported by boat. There is even a EU programme to encourage the shift from roads to rail and water (I've just read in December Waterways World). So far narrow boat freight now tends to be building materials for delivery at canal side developments, or there are also coal delivery boats plying their wares to other boats and canal-side houses. All highly specific because the wharf infrastructure no longer exists for bulk off loading, Its a far cry from when canals were the primary transport for freight in the country. Locally I suppose we only have the cheese boat from Ellesmere, (and restaurant boats.), but it is something that could be developed as fuel prices go up and up, and would add colour and interest to the canals.

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Although there is a good network of canals throughout the country connecting our cities up and leading to major ports, and although I would like to see more freight taken off the roads, I cannot see it being taken via the cut. For a start, the maximum speed limit is 8 mph...and time is money.

The existing but disused rail connection between Oswestry and Gobowen is a different proposition. It's twin track from Gobowen, but turns into single track. The Cambrian Society once told me some time ago about plans to run a tram along the route and across the bypass via a level crossing (they said the tram would be over the road in 30 seconds...I'm not so sure). I prefer a cycle route but retaining the rails just in case the scheme develops. There may be enough room for both rail and cycle route side by side. A cycle route would be cheaper, but is there a demand? The main problem is crossing the bypass as that road traffic there cannot be stopped.

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A spiral steel bridge could work and create quite a distinctive addition to the journey. There's the option of a fairly narrow tunnel underneath. The cheapest way is to place a broken island on the bypass and ask cyclists to dismount and walk over the bypass. All these ideas would have to be costed.

There's an old cinder path that acts as a cycle route between Scarborough and Whitby that used to be an old line. There's a couple of large kissing gates, but the surface is fine for riding on (although muddy in winter).

There are a number of "new" cycle layouts through Oswestry (along the pavement on Gobowen Road), but I'm not sure they all join up into one intergrated route.

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I attended the meeting last night so I'll try and give you a flavour of what was discussed in so far as it affects Gobowen:

The meeting was chaired by Julie Potter (of Oswestry Link), Emma Bullard and Richard Harman. Topics covered included walking, cycle routes and bus services, mostly in and around Oswestry. Nothing about the canal network.

Much talk about the "Green Corridor" railway line running through the centre of the town. The Cambrian Railway project are in consultation with Shropshire Council regarding opening the line between Oswestry and (at least) the Hospital, but the big problem is getting the line over the bypass between the Whittington and Gobowen roundabouts. Mention was made of a new bridge (!!!). However, a cyclist in attendence requested transparency regarding funding for this project as it is seen to be slowing down the development of a cycle route linking Gobowen to Oswestry. He suggested taking the line up and replacing it with a cycle route and putting a tunnel under the bypass.

Apparently the two lines in Gobowen that go to Oswestry (owned by RailTrack) are used by freight trains to move engines from the front to the back of the trucks. I live close to the line, and it is true that freight trains do back up onto the Oswestry line, but this hasn't happened now for some time. I'm sure there's enough space to retain the lines and include a low maintenance cinder path.

No decision would be made regarding "Build North" (railway bridge over the bypass) until 2014-15. The old coal yard situated in the grounds of Gobowen Station has been earmarked for afordable housing development.

Mention was also made of the placing of a pedestrian crossing in Gobowen between the Post Office and the shops on the other side of the road. In January 2012 work will start replacing pipes up Willow Street in Oswestry, and in February they'll start work along College Road.

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Thanks very much for this report of the meeting. Its nice to be kept informed about things that are going on around us. Bit of a shame to use the coal yard for affordable housing, when there is a need for extra parking for the station, and there were suggestions at the Big Local meeting the other week to develop something for tourists on the site, linked to railway heritage, ahead of plans to extend the line from Oswestry (suggestion being to build rolling stock and train young people and open to tourists too). Bit ambitious, but then if houses are built on the site there are no other options.

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@Maggie

Could there be any funding from the Lottery to create a cinder cycle path from the station beside the existing Oswestry line up to the point where the line crosses the bypass?

I'm thinking that this section of the line is within the Gobowen boundery.

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@Simon

If you mean the Big Local Fund then No=one can answer that question because we haven't got a representative community group in place yet to make our decisions. However there are other sources of Lottery funding available. Where does the cycle route from Gobowen to Oswestry go at present? (is this part of Route 31?), Does Shropshire Council own the whole line of the old railway? , what would happen to the cycle path once it hit the bypass? (wouldn't it be dangerous to encourage cycles along the route then abandon them to cross the bypass without help?)

I think it is a good idea, and no reason why cycle path and single track railway couldn't use the same old route, but the insurmountable problem of the by pass exists for a cycle route too. Bridges and underpasses don't come cheap, so somewhere along the line someone has to weigh up need and demand against finite resources that might be better spent elsewhere. The by-pass really does cut our area in two and changes how we use the landscape!.

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SS, cycle route is the option. To cross the bypass you either have an underground tunnel or a bridge. You can have a spiral at each end so you can cycle up and down them. This cycle route of course doubles as a footpath.

Maggie,

As I posted earlier, fairly easy to have a spiral bridge or underground tunnel put in to take into account the bypass. Yes there is a cost but something that could be put to the sustainable transport funding. We could then look into adding this new route into the national cycle route. I have ridden about a 1000 miles of National Cycle routes, and they differ quite a lot from specific cycle paths to busy main roads.

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I think there is a tunnel that runs under the old track to connect 2 fields between Gobowen Road and the bypass. There may even be an existing one under the bypass, but it's on private land.

Anyway, Cambrian seem to have the ear of Shropshire Council (@ Maggie: how much do you think it would cost to put a rail bridge in rather than a cycle one?) but I do have a contact email address for the lass overseeing the Oswestry Link.

Julie.Potter@shropshire.gov.uk

She's in on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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@Simon

No idea how much a cycle track bridge would cost, should think there would be quite a few noughts involved. (but then there seems to be money behind the sustainable transport project) The railway across the bypass is a 'mothballed' railway, and if the extraction industry decided it wanted to bring down mineral trains from Blodwel Quarry or Nantmawr, then they would still have right of way to bring them across the bypass. This makes the whole thing very muddy, with railways arguing that it would be the responsibilty of Highways to ensure a safe crossing because the railway right of way was there first, and has never been abolished.

The present tunnel under the bypass going into Park Hall showground could be used more, but doesn't really help a railway line cycle route.

On a local level I think it is key that the bypass has split the area into 2, with no real connections across it, and that development of non motorised short journeys into LOCAL market towns should be looking at that. In cities footbridges go over main roads with no quibbles, but in rural areas it is expected that someone will drive the far greater journey around what could be a short walk or cycle ride, such as Gobowen to Oswestry.

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Browsing Shrops Council web site, as you do, found reference to this in the Oswestry Place Plan, page 56.

http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/planningpolicy.nsf/viewAttachments/CFAW-8MXJH3/$file/Oswestry%20Place%20Plan%202011-2012.pdf

Project for cycle/footpath along the old railway linking Gobwen Station to Oswestry is prioritised, estimated cost c. £2 million and states that £700K has already been applied for.

on p 55 the estimated cost of a railway is £4-6 million,

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@Maggie

It's really complicated! You asked about the existing Cycle Route 31. It starts in Cambrian Drive, along Wat's Drive and up Llwyn Road and behind the Old Earthworks up to Hengoed. Turn right, over the bypass bridge then left into Gobowen. Up to the main village roundabout, up Bypass Road to the crossroads then turn left for Ebnal. Then you turn right for Hindford. Then turn left, passed Mad Jacks and follow the signs that take you up to the Duddleston Road out of Ellesmere. In Ellesmere you take the lane at the back of the main mere and head for Welshampton. There, you cross the main road and head for Lyneal.

After that I get confused and slightly lost as the signposts seem to peter out, but roughly speaking you follow the canal to Whitchurch. Once there you're on Route 45 that gives you the options of going on up to Chester or down to Shrewsbury. Now, a distinction has to made here. This cycle route network is traffic free, or low level traffic, along lanes and former rail routes. It's for pleasurable scenic cycling in the countryside. It's NOT the most direct way of getting from one place to another.

Back to local cycle routes into town: There's almost a complete and direct route from Whittington to Oswestry along the pavement. Gobowen has a topsy turvy lane link to Oswestry. The main road is dangerous to cyclist as it's so bendy and the hedges can get high in places. The obvious solution is beside the old rail link...but crossing the bypass is such a problem. The cheapest solution is an island in the road with instructions for cyclists to dismount and cross to the island.

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...by the way. I tried many of the "Oswestry Cycle Rides" (see their leaflet) during the summer, taking trips during weekdays, weekends and in the evenings. Apart from "pro" riders in the gear along some of the main roads, it was rare to see pleasure riders on these routes, perhaps suggesting that they are not marketed effectively enough (or no one is interested).

However, I did see are marked increase in people using bikes in villages and cycling into town over the summer. Perhaps reflecting the high cost of travel by any other means. I can almost hear the scratches of quill on parchment as out lovable insurance companies draft new policies to sell to us!

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I've been taking a look at local village boundaries in relation to the disused Gobowen to Oswestry rail track. It falls within the Selattyn & Gobowen Parish boundary roughly up to the hospital, then it crosses over into Whittington.

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The following is information that came out of the meeting I attended toward the end of last year. Sorry I'm a bit late in making it available.

Oswestry LSTF steering group 8 December 2011

In attendance:

Vikki Jones, Adam Riley, Henry Thomas, Nick Culliford, Nigel Thomas, David Parkes, Alan Dorricott, Liz Evans, Peter Lloyd, Dave Ashley, Peter Barkley, Martin Bennett, Romer Hoseason, Paul Milner, Chris Jenkins, Steve Haworth, Russ Tucker, Andrew Tullo, Tim Rutherford, Peter Dunhill, Julie Potter, Emma Bullard, Richard Harman

1. Apologies:

Colin Gregg, Karen Morris, Anne Hendrie

2. Progress report: Julie Potter

3. Cycling

Requests for cycle parking: Topshop, Laburnum Drive; Council offices/Library , Castle View (there is cycle parking but is hidden); Sainsbury’s parking should be near the shop entrance.

David Parkes is developing family-friendly cycle rides, working on 3 in the Morda area. CTC Sunday rides leave from Red Square at 9.15; two groups, return by 1.30

The smoothie bike is available to borrow for events. Contact Cycle Shrewsbury

4. Walking

Peter Dunhill, Shropshire Way Project Officer outlined the project. The aim is to obtain "Walkers are Welcome" status by May and launch the Selattyn Hill Walk on the weekend of 12/13 May. There will be a walking festival in September. He asked for signatures in support.

Liz Evans explained the Walking for Health project. She currently has two walking groups, on Tuesday s and Thursdays.

5. Promotions and Websites

Emma Bullard explained that we are using the Cycle Shrewsbury website for information on cycling in Oswestry, and for membership enquiries. There is also a link to the cycle journey planner; and the Oswestry map and cycle rides leaflet can be downloaded. http://www.cycleshrewsbury.co.uk/oswestry-ludlow/

This is a temporary measure while the new Travel Shropshire website is being developed. It will have comprehensive travel information for the whole county

Oswestry 21 have just relaunched their website; it has a local cycling page provided by Vel-Os http://www.oswestry21.com/?opinions=vel-os-building-a-bike-town

Suggestions for local media for press releases: What’s On; Best of Oswestry (Twitter); "Yatter Yatter" magazine

6. Infrastructure

Richard Harman gave a presentation on progress so far and next steps. Points made in the discussion included

A crossing is needed on Gobowen Road

 

Cycle tracks should have priority across side roads at junctions. Whittington parish councillor would support this being done on the Oswestry to Whittington cycle track

A topographical survey has been commissioned for the disused railway line. The central area is the focus for the first phase of work (Gasworks bridge to Coney Green) and the hope is to build it in 2013

Crossing the A5: will depend partly on whether the Highways Agency will agree to an uncontrolled crossing; other options are being looked at including the underpass to the showground; or a track alongside the A5 to cross at the A5/B5069 roundabout.

There is very strong support for development of the Greenway, including the northern section to Gobowen; and concern that the plans for the railway should not be allowed to delay progress.

Smaller improvements suggested included:

1. Open bottom end of Sycamore Drive

2. Path by Wat’s Dyke – from Middleton Road

3. Query re. access along old railway route – confirmed that there is currently no public access

4. Peter Dunhill requested another access point to the hill fort from the adjacent public footpath. English Heritage will need to be consulted.

7. Public Transport

Passenger transport team are currently investigating need for early service to workplaces on Maesbury Road

Noted that the bus stops by RJAH are not now near to the new entrance

Only Arriva bus times are shown on some information boards. Tanat Valley and other operators services need to be included too.

Difficulties experienced by people trying to get in before 9 am due to reduced service from Llanrhaeadr,

Powys have cut subsidies on some services.

Tanat Valley waiting for response from Jon Hayes re. Pant corridor services

General support for a bus map for the Oswestry area.

Shuttle bus services would be useful when events are on at Park Hall

Keith Barrow has requested that Shropshire community minibuses provide a service. These are currently co-ordinated by Liz Hindmarch at Qube.

Scrutiny committee is currently investigating use of the Shropshire Link service

 

8. Action Plan for next 12 months

Events - see attached chart. Please inform us of additional events which can be added to the website.

Members of the group indicated what they would like to see happen over the next 12 months and these will be considered in the new year. See attached list.

9. Date of next meeting - Thursday, 15th March 2012 at 7 pm .

Winter 2011

Spring 2012

Summer 2012

Autumn 2012

December

29 Turkey Sandwich Ride

March

Oswestry festival of the word

5-23 Sustrans Big Pedal

June

4-5th bank holidays

Bike Week 16-24

23 Shrewsbury Bike Fest

September

Heritage weeks- possible cycle route

Historic churches cycle ride

Sat 22 In Town without my Car

January

April

July

Oswestry Food and Drink festival 7/8

Oslympics 6-15 Sun 8th Bike event

Oswestry music live festival

27th Bell ringing (cultural Olympiad)

Take to the streets traders’ day

October

February

May

Marches transport festival

Olympic torch in Oswestry

Osfest

12/13 Shropshire Way Oswestry loop

August

November

What I’d like to see by this time next year:

Progress on the railway; achieve planning permission with public support (Roger)

Single point of information for cycling information round Oswestry (David Parkes)

Cycle path over Shelf Bank along the old siding

Cycle path through Coney Green – as per plans – or maybe we can do better

New zebra crossings: on the speed humps on English Walls; Sainsbury’s; Post Office

Restoration of 6 days pw service from Llanymynech (Tanat Valley)

Greater promotion of cycling to the "ordinary commuter"

Shared information: a database with all kinds of travel information

A5/A483 pedestrian and cycle crossing

Bike Fest 8 July : attract cyclists from different disciplines. Bikeworks will help

Tim R: i) involve Marches School/colleges/community on the design of the northern greenway – make it a community project. ii) there is a street lamp in middle of cycle track outside the Meadows; please move!

More 20 mph speed limits as per Sustrans campaign. Andrew Tullo

Provide an A5 crossing; eg by using the Park Hall underpass.

Oswestry perimeter cycle route. (Steve Howarth offered to design it)

Forward planning and "deep thought" about the northern section of railway/greenway. The link to station and residential areas is crucial and could save lives. What are the figures on costs/benefits- can we see the railway’s business plan? Would like some transparency.

Crossing in the centre of Gobowen; station is on one side and shops on the other. RH thinks there may already be a zebra in this year’s programme.

Peter Dunhill: 3 new town walks Launch of "walkers are welcome" scheme another half mile of restored canal

Liz E: more accessible walks for people with restricted mobility Access across the A5 a third WFH group

Peter Lloyd: utopian ones are town-wide 20mph and shared space – no street markings Realistic ones: begin a debate on more priority for pedestrians throughout town. At present it feels dangerous especially for children and older people. The junction near his house is an example.

More cycle paths in from the outskirts: College Road, Cabin Lane

Revamp bus shelters; eg outside the post office

Design work finished for the Gasworks Bridge replacement and adjacent junction) Plus: a zebra crossing by the new Fairholme building – old people’s home (Shrewsbury Rd) (Whittington parish councillor)

Middleton Rd junction needs crossings

Cllr Martin Bennett: please complete footpath/cycleway @top of Escott (Ascot?) Rd – "approx 2 ft"

 

Other issues: comprehensive traffic study; "sustainable urban extension"; links to new leisure centre on foot/public transport.

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