Draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan

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Comment

Draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan

Policy 17: Connecting to the wider network

Representation ID: 53292

Received: 02/10/2020

Respondent: Waterbeach and District Bridleways Group

Representation Summary:

The Waterbeach & District Bridleways group was formed in order to promote the communities’ needs with the proposed Greenways initiative and major developments in the local area, and to use that opportunity to expand access.
Our group members include equestrians from Horningsea, Waterbeach, Chittering, Landbeach, and Lode.
The group represents 150 riders from Waterbeach itself (including riders attending the village riding school Hall Farm Stables) and an additional c50 riders from the surrounding villages plus the College of West Anglia. It also represents some 200 horses owned by these riders and riding establishments. Roughly 50% of group members are British Horse Society members.

Goals for our advocacy
• To support equine use in and around the communities to the north of Cambridge.
• Safe and accessible non-motorised user (NMU) access to the existing and emerging local green networks.
• Use the Greenways initiative to expand and link to non-motorised routes between villages
• Advocate for equine usage of paths to ensure our inclusion in the decision-making and design processes
• Maintain and expand long-standing legal rights of way Equestrian access to bridleways and multi-user paths which is an ongoing concern to the equestrian communities north of Cambridge.

****


Key points-
1. GCP should confirm that ‘shared use’ is as defined in all the Greenway consultation documents – available to all three vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians and ensure that the routes are designed and delivered accordingly.
2. The GCP had committed to British Horse Society, the principle of inclusion of all NMU’s on the Greenways but the North East area action plan contains no provision or reference to equestrians.
3. The GCP Assembly have said that the creation of cycle routes would not impact on the amenity of equestrians yet this NE area action plan has omitted any mention of equestrians or NMU routes.
4. Equestrians should not be excluded from any sections unless a genuine secure and safe alternative route is available to them (defaulting to the legally available option of the busy highway, already identified as unsafe for cyclists, does not count as ‘safe’)?
5. Safety audits should assess the impact of the safety of equestrians created by the NE area action plan scheme. If such audits are being performed for pedestrian/cyclist routes the same consideration must be given to equestrians so that ALL NMUs (non motorised users) are appropriately considered and their safety risk assessed.
6. The above should be applied to ALL greenway type projects.
7. There needs to be greater inclusion and less exclusion. Every time including cyclists and pedestrians are mentioned, equestrians should be too.
8. There needs to be greater consideration of joining-up existing by-ways and bridleways and planned green routes (e.g. opening the Chisholm Trail for equestrian use, would connect Ditton Meadows to the NE development and also connect onto Milton Park and onwards towards Waterbeach). 
9. More specifically: Mere Way is labelled as a "off road cycle route". It is in fact a Public Byway and is longtime well-used by equestrians as it is the ONLY off-road route out of the N/NE part of the city (eg from Chesterton Fen or across Stourbridge Common from Fen Ditton or Fulbourn, all areas where many horses live) towards Landbeach/Milton.    Horses do not have access to the Cam towpath which is the other offroad link or the Jane Coston bridge over the A14, thus Mere Way is an important route for equestrians. N.B It should not be assumed that the bridge on High Ditch road in Fen Ditton will provide equestrian access in the N/NE because that is under threat of massive HGV traffic if the Anglian Water treatment relocated to Honey Hill in Horningsea.
10. Specifically in relation to the area plan ambition to create sustainable travel routes and links to the wider network, it should be noted that the GCP Waterbeach greenways route enters the NE area plan along the river and then the Cambridge North railway line. The area plan recognises that solutions to provide river,A14 and railway crossings are required to enable NMUs access to the ‘wider network’. This provision/consideration/crossing designs therefore should include equestrians as well as cyclists and walkers to ensure routes truly are NMU routes. Where pedestrian/cycle bridges are mentioned in the draft plan, this must be amended to full NMU bridges to avoid exclusion of other NMU groups including equestrians.
11. Specifically, there is potentially a good natural circular route option for equestrians within the NE area plan, that also links to wider off road routes. The route runs from Waterbeach along the Waterbeach greenway, through the NE development area, across the A14 to Milton Country Park and/or Mereway and north on to Landbeach and back to Waterbeach, or various Fen Edge villages and off road routes. This would also make an excellent NMU leisure and commuter circular route linking the NE with nearby communities and beyond.
12. There are many Horse riders in the local area of NE Cambridge and the surrounding villages. There are 3 thriving riding schools within a few miles of the NE area development as well. Horse riders also include people with disabilities, for whom horse riding provides essential ability to access the countryside, overcome their physical and/or mental health challenges. Horse riding is adopted by many because of yes the enjoyment of it, but also because it provides a emotional well-being lifeline and a vast array of physiological health benefits (the British Horse Society has conclusive and interesting research on this subject).

Full text:

The Waterbeach & District Bridleways group was formed in order to promote the communities’ needs with the proposed Greenways initiative and major developments in the local area, and to use that opportunity to expand access.
Our group members include equestrians from Horningsea, Waterbeach, Chittering, Landbeach, and Lode.
The group represents 150 riders from Waterbeach itself (including riders attending the village riding school Hall Farm Stables) and an additional c50 riders from the surrounding villages plus the College of West Anglia. It also represents some 200 horses owned by these riders and riding establishments. Roughly 50% of group members are British Horse Society members.

Goals for our advocacy
• To support equine use in and around the communities to the north of Cambridge.
• Safe and accessible non-motorised user (NMU) access to the existing and emerging local green networks.
• Use the Greenways initiative to expand and link to non-motorised routes between villages
• Advocate for equine usage of paths to ensure our inclusion in the decision-making and design processes
• Maintain and expand long-standing legal rights of way Equestrian access to bridleways and multi-user paths which is an ongoing concern to the equestrian communities north of Cambridge.

****


Key points-
1. GCP should confirm that ‘shared use’ is as defined in all the Greenway consultation documents – available to all three vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians and ensure that the routes are designed and delivered accordingly.
2. The GCP had committed to British Horse Society, the principle of inclusion of all NMU’s on the Greenways but the North East area action plan contains no provision or reference to equestrians.
3. The GCP Assembly have said that the creation of cycle routes would not impact on the amenity of equestrians yet this NE area action plan has omitted any mention of equestrians or NMU routes.
4. Equestrians should not be excluded from any sections unless a genuine secure and safe alternative route is available to them (defaulting to the legally available option of the busy highway, already identified as unsafe for cyclists, does not count as ‘safe’)?
5. Safety audits should assess the impact of the safety of equestrians created by the NE area action plan scheme. If such audits are being performed for pedestrian/cyclist routes the same consideration must be given to equestrians so that ALL NMUs (non motorised users) are appropriately considered and their safety risk assessed.
6. The above should be applied to ALL greenway type projects.
7. There needs to be greater inclusion and less exclusion. Every time including cyclists and pedestrians are mentioned, equestrians should be too.
8. There needs to be greater consideration of joining-up existing by-ways and bridleways and planned green routes (e.g. opening the Chisholm Trail for equestrian use, would connect Ditton Meadows to the NE development and also connect onto Milton Park and onwards towards Waterbeach). 
9. More specifically: Mere Way is labelled as a "off road cycle route". It is in fact a Public Byway and is longtime well-used by equestrians as it is the ONLY off-road route out of the N/NE part of the city (eg from Chesterton Fen or across Stourbridge Common from Fen Ditton or Fulbourn, all areas where many horses live) towards Landbeach/Milton.    Horses do not have access to the Cam towpath which is the other offroad link or the Jane Coston bridge over the A14, thus Mere Way is an important route for equestrians. N.B It should not be assumed that the bridge on High Ditch road in Fen Ditton will provide equestrian access in the N/NE because that is under threat of massive HGV traffic if the Anglian Water treatment relocated to Honey Hill in Horningsea.
10. Specifically in relation to the area plan ambition to create sustainable travel routes and links to the wider network, it should be noted that the GCP Waterbeach greenways route enters the NE area plan along the river and then the Cambridge North railway line. The area plan recognises that solutions to provide river,A14 and railway crossings are required to enable NMUs access to the ‘wider network’. This provision/consideration/crossing designs therefore should include equestrians as well as cyclists and walkers to ensure routes truly are NMU routes. Where pedestrian/cycle bridges are mentioned in the draft plan, this must be amended to full NMU bridges to avoid exclusion of other NMU groups including equestrians.
11. Specifically, there is potentially a good natural circular route option for equestrians within the NE area plan, that also links to wider off road routes. The route runs from Waterbeach along the Waterbeach greenway, through the NE development area, across the A14 to Milton Country Park and/or Mereway and north on to Landbeach and back to Waterbeach, or various Fen Edge villages and off road routes. This would also make an excellent NMU leisure and commuter circular route linking the NE with nearby communities and beyond.
12. There are many Horse riders in the local area of NE Cambridge and the surrounding villages. There are 3 thriving riding schools within a few miles of the NE area development as well. Horse riders also include people with disabilities, for whom horse riding provides essential ability to access the countryside, overcome their physical and/or mental health challenges. Horse riding is adopted by many because of yes the enjoyment of it, but also because it provides a emotional well-being lifeline and a vast array of physiological health benefits (the British Horse Society has conclusive and interesting research on this subject).

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