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Lon Clwyd Not Forgotten

    Recently the following article by David Banks appeared in the Daily Post.

A Place where cyclists rule the world

    The last week was spent on hols in Holland - and extremely nice it was too, thanks very much.

    No, I didn't partake of those strange cigarettes that some Amsterdam coffee bars offer. Nor did I see any of the 'delights' of the red light district.

    What made me fall in love with he Netherlands was the cycling . As our Dutch friend put it: "David, here cyclists rule the world". And quite right.

    There are cycle lanes everywhere. Where there aren't any cycle lanes, cyclists and pedestrians mingle, and do you know what? The world doesn't end: both watch out for each other and everyone's happy.

    Car drivers have to look out for cyclist at all times because if they have an accident with one, it is automatically the driver's fault. You've got to love the Dutch, haven't you?

    Bike ownership is huge. The average Dutch person owns five bicycles; yes, five. I was there during a Dutch national holiday and it seemed the whole country was out on their bikes.

    Now I'm not suggesting we'll ever get to that stage. After all, Holland has the considerable advantage of being flat - a big deal for cyclists.

    But we are light years behind. We're just celebrating, rightly, the opening of 12 miles of track on Anglesey, when we should be looking to build hundreds of miles of it.

    Yet when we tried to get a modest amount in Clwyd along the old track bed of a railway, it was defeated by a narrow-minded band of nimby homeowners and landowners adjoining the route.

    A few people were allowed to assert their right to look at their back garden uninterrupted by the awful din of a cyclist passing by. I have serious doubts we will ever achieve anything like what the Dutch have as long as such selfish people abound here.

The above piece prompted Roy Spilsbury, hon. secretary CTC Cymru, to write the following letter to the editor of the Daily Post:

    David Banks (Daily Post June 10th) is right to remind us of the most cowardly decision ever taken by Denbighshire CC in capitulating to the opponents of Lon Clwyd cycle path.

    Linking Rhyl to Ruthin along the dismantled rail line, not only would it have provided a healthy traffic free link to all the adjacent communities, but also a massive boost for the flagging local tourism industry as well. Our tourism chiefs are failing to grasp that ever more holidaymakers are seeking a respite from their cars, and are looking for locations where they are able to walk and cycle in pleasant and safe surroundings. Lon Clwyd would fit that bill beautifully.

    With the relentless growth of motor traffic, the need for off-road community routes increases by the day. Opponents of Lon Clwyd used an elephant as their talisman. An elephant never forgets; and nor do the countless people who feel they were so badly let down by their elected representatives.

    Where is the visionary politician with the guts to place Lon Clwyd back on the Denbighshire agenda, and at the same time earn the gratitude, rather than the condemnation, of this and future generations?

Shortly after Lon Clwyd was rejected by Denbighshire CC, it approved at least one application for the rail bed to be taken into private curtilage.

Roy Spilsbury Denbighshire/Conwy Representative, CTC Cymru - Welsh Region of the national cycling organisation www.conwyctc.fsnet.co.uk

June 2003