Key aspects of rejected sustainable travel plans for Chelmsford need to be revitalised says deputy leader

Key aspects of sustainable travel plans in Chelmsford – which have been thrown out alongside controversial plans for quartering part of the city – need to be revitalised if an “appetite for change” is to be met, a deputy council leader has said.

New measures in Brentwood, Chelmsford, Colchester and Wickford are to make it easier for residents to walk or cycle have been given the green light following a decision by Essex County Council.

But the decision to divide Old Moulsham into four quarters back was sent bacl to the drawing board after hefty opposition from residents has meant more welcomed proposals have also been lost.

The Moulsham quatering was linked to plans for Active Travel Fund (ATF) schemes, to encourage more sustainable travel, such as cycling, to reduce car use, congestion and emissions as well as improving public health.

But the now abandoned route one of the ATF in Chelmsford would have seen a cycle route from Chelmsford Station, crossing Parkway, through Admirals Park and then onwards through Old Moulsham but which will now not proceed.

This route was linked to a trial for the ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’ in Moulsham which attempted to incorporate features of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) which filter traffic, so that through motorised trips are inhibited and priority across the neighbourhood is made for walking and cycling trips.

The council argued traffic would have been significantly reduced thus making cycling trips in particular a safer and more attractive option.

Both routes two and three in Chelmsford will proceed as planned including improvement to riverside cycle routes from Victoria Road to Waterloo Lane, Tindal Square improvements to walking and cycling, Market Road contraflow cycle lane eastbound, and Springfield Park Road and Springfield Park Lane junction alterations.

However there is disappointment that route one improvements have been entirely paused.

As part of route one, on Moulsham Street, drivers would have no longer been able to turn right into New Writtle Street and instead would have had to give way to cyclists crossing the junction.

The existing loading bay on Moulsham Street before Grove Road would have been relocated to the opposite side of the road to allow a contraflow cycleway for cyclists travelling north from Moulsham to the station, and, specifically, east from Grove Road onto New Writtle Street.

Deputy leader at Chelmsford City Council, Councillor Marie Goldman said: “It is disappointing that no element of the route one is going ahead.

“Although there was a lot of resistance to the Moulsham quartering proposals there were elements of the scheme that had a lot going for them.

“Things like the contraflow on Moulsham Street and closing off the end of New Writtle Street at the junction with Moulsham Street would have helped that part of the cycle route.

“It’s shame that is not going ahead.

“I am quite pleased they are not going ahead with the quartering proposals because they were incredibly controversial.

“But I hope there is funding for and they genuinely look at these cycles routes in that vicinity.

“We need it and there were some good proposals put forward by the steering group and by local residents.

“There is appetite for change but it has to be the right change and I hope we get funding for it in the future.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter