Fears a proposed cycle route on town’s busy road could ‘increase danger’
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A proposed cycle route on a town’s main road has been described as “far from perfect” and could “increase danger”, a councillor has warned.
Thetford Town Council discussed plans to install the new shared-use route along Croxton Road, at its virtual meeting on Tuesday, March 12.
As part of plans to encourage more people to cycle around the town and in a bid to make the notoriously busy road safer, the route would start from the junction at Breckland Leisure Centre and would run along the left-hand side until it reaches the Army Reserve Centre.
But Thetford Town and Norfolk County Councillor, Terry Jermy, said he is frustrated that the scheme, funded by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership from their Growth Deal, which aims to improve sustainable transport and promote non-motorised transport, will not be up to the task.
He said: “It’s really frustrating that the original intention was about sustainable transport and we are getting something which is good, but it is far from perfect and it could be a lot better.
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“For example, the width of the path only 2.7 metres which is potential for conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.
“It doesn’t go for the full length of the road and there are not sufficient crossing points or interceptions. As cycle paths go, it’s not great.
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“If we are spending the money doing it, we need to make sure it’s fit for purpose and people are actually going to use it.
But Robert Whittaker, 39, from Thetford, who volunteers locally with the cycling charity Sustrans and formerly chaired the Greater Thetford Development Partnership community sub-group, has said he has “serious concerns” about the safety of the scheme.
He said: “It appears to me to be a sub-standard and incomplete scheme, which will lead to conflict between pedestrians and cyclists, and quite possibly increase the danger of the route.
“What I think Norfolk County Council should be doing is drawing up plans for a high-quality cycle facility along the whole length of Croxton Road, from Mundford Road to beyond the A11 junction.
“This should be a segregated path, separated from the pedestrian route, and it should have priority over the side-roads.
“I accept there isn’t enough money to deliver all of this right now, but what work is done now should be part of a joined-up plan to deliver everything in the long run, and not a poor substitute that would cost more to upgrade later.”