Buzzcycles and Planning - how we try to make things work for cyclists

Malcolm Oliver - our planning officer - writes:

It is always difficult to talk about development because none of us really wants change and what appeals to one person or group inevitably can’t please everyone.

So what is our approach from BuzzCycles?

There are very clear principles that we try to follow: 

  • We concentrate on the bigger changes to town – we don’t comment at all on the vast majority of planning applications for things like minor modifications to individual homes.
  • We keep out of wider politics of whether something should go ahead at all – more housing, out-of-town shopping etc – that is for others.
  • We focus on what we are trying to build as a network in our Cycle Town and whether the development is helping to achieve our aims or not.

So the questions are always about matters such as:

  • Whether there is adequate cycle parking and whether it is appropriately secure or covered.
  • Is there a clear cycle route to and through the site.
  • Does it link sensibly into our proposed wider on-road and wider leisure network.
  • Are there things that we want to achieve off-site that might be influenced by the development and we could reasonably ask for as part of it.

Current applications

Recently there have been two major out-of-town shopping proposals for Grovebury Road. We have pushed for:

  • Improved cycle parking for staff and customers
  • A clear cycle link between the sites and for cycle routes further up Grovebury Road
  • Continuation of any cycle route right through the site rather than just over a short stretch 
  • Cycle links from the site round to the western end of the South Leighton Development 
  • A safe crossing point over the Grovebury Road for pedestrians and cycles to link eventually over the meadows to the Tiddenfoot Narrows bridge, giving access to the towpath but also helping to create the long-term aim of a green and pleasant cycle route from all the building in South Leighton right through to Tiddenfoot schools, Leisure Centre and the Railway Station

A more recent application has been for the development of flats near the Railway Station. Here we objected to the application on the basis that they were saying they needed little parking as the site was close to the station and sustainable transport (buses) but the flats had nowhere for one to keep a bike!! We also highlighted the fact that increased pressure on parking in local roads for residents and visitors and increased traffic and junctions in an already complex and congested road environment would not help cycle use.

Inevitably we may not succeed on all counts on all applications but our comments do get taken up by the Town Council and Central Beds staff and on the whole we end up with improved facilities within the developments and contributions to the wider network.

If you have early sight of proposals or hear anything just let us know because it is always easier to influence things in their early stages before applications are submitted to get the best proposal we can for Cycling, regardless of whether we as individuals agree with objectives of the development in any way.