National Cycle Route 5:
Llandudno at the Crossroads
With half an eye on the potential green tourism market and the other half on the needs of its own residents, Conwy County Borough Council has acquired an impressive record for pushing ahead with ambitious cycle route schemes. Each in its own way has met with stiff resistance from small pockets of locals who seem quite unconcerned with the road hazards faced daily by cyclists, but rather overly concerned with personal sensitivities not always fully appreciated by the observer. In the end common sense has invariably prevailed - not least of all helped by a little determination by local authority officers and councillors aware of their wider responsibilities to society.
Keen to include the Queen of the Welsh Resorts, Llandudno, in the prestigious coastal cycle route which so far has come to a halt on the town boundary, Conwy CBC has launched a consultation exercise to test the views of the public on the best route to be taken through the town to link up with the Conwy Estuary Scheme on the town's West Shore.
The route likely to be favoured by most cyclists would involve the entire length of the North Shore promenade as far as the pier, and then a direct route along Gloddaeth Avenue to the West Shore. This latter section is an attractive and relatively quiet dual carriageway.
From the experience of past public consultations there has been the predictable outrage from residents en route, claiming that enjoyment of their properties would be undermined by having a cycle route passing their front doors. In this case some hoteliers on the North Parade, and others, are claiming that the comfort and safety of pedestrians strolling on the promenade would also be put in jeopardy.
CTC Cymru and Sustrans Cymru are both confident that public fears will be allayed once the objectors realise the extent to which the town will benefit. And contrary to any fears, cyclists and pedestrians have already proved along the many miles of the North Wales coastal path that, with just a little give and take on both sides, they can share space safely and comfortably.
In order to get the message across CTC and Sustrans jointly organised a two day exhibition in the town library. In attendance was Maurice Clarke and Roy Spilsbury for CTC Cymru, and Glyn Evans, Sustrans North Wales Manager.
It was clear from the feedback that many supporters were not aware that their failure to register an opinion could play into the hands of those resisting the scheme.
CTC Cymru will be submitting its recommendations shortly. These are broadly as follows:-
· National Cycle Route 5 should not bypass Llandudno town centre. Tourists, shoppers, commuters, families and children should all be able to cycle into and through the town safely.
· A promenade option is the only feasible way of doing this. Promenade cycling does and can work as has been demonstrated for many years in the neighbouring resorts of Colwyn Bay, Abergele, Rhyl, Prestatyn and Penmaenmawr.
· For environmental reasons and for the benefit of the nation's health, particularly in combating the obesity epidemic, it is vital to promote cycling. The National Cycle Network does just this and is playing an important role in encouraging a revival of cycling.
· The National Cycle Network should not be confused with the Safe Routes to Schools Initiative, which CTC also fully supports. A cycle track to John Bright School should be provided under the latter scheme and not at the expense of NCR 5. A promenade option for NCR 5 with a spur to John Bright could provide pupils who live on the Great Orme with the opportunity of cycling safely to school.
· A promenade option would link best with one of the options for a route along Gloddaeth Avenue.
A promenade/Gloddaeth Avenue route would combine well with the new scenic cycleway shortly to be built along the Conwy estuary and would attract tourists and provide Llandudno and neighbouring communities with an invaluable resource.
A Llandudno shopper receives a warm welcome from Glyn.
Maurice explains the various route options to two friends of cycling
A chance to exchange professional views. Mike Denbury, a specialist in cycle routes (Symonds Consultancy), and Glyn Evans (right) take the opportunity.
Cycle route objectors claim to want to protect the elderly. What about the elderly on bikes ? This lady clearly was unaware the exhibition was taking place across the road.
|Llandudno residents Gill and Martyn Schlangen will be flying to France shortly for a cycling holiday. They are seen here out for a ride in preparation. The new cycle route through the town should be a great help to them|
|Just two of the many Llandudno residents cheesed off with the promenade cycling ban|