Issue - meetings


Meeting: 15/07/2020 - Council (Item 7.)


In accordance with Standing Orders, written answers to these questions will be tabled at the Council meeting.


(A)       Question from Tina Walker


“Transport is responsible for about 27% of all emissions. We need to find innovative ways to reduce the reliance on motorised vehicles. With this in mind Cycling UK Stevenage have formed a group looking at the provision for cycling and active travel in the town and we would like to ask whether cycling permeability and accessibility is to be properly built into all developments including the Town Centre and Forster Country that links up to the existing network within Stevenage and linking up to route 12 towards Letchworth and beyond; whether in every new planning proposal will the existing network be protected, and in line with your declaration of a climate emergency, priority will be given to enhancing the network with Cycling UK Stevenage being consulted/involved at the planning stage?”


(B)       Question from Councillor Richard Briers


“Over time the priority that the cycleways had (and should remain) over crossing minor side roads has been eroded. We need to reclaim our routes for active travel. Will cyclist priorities be reinstated as a matter of urgency at existing junctions and incorporated in future planning decisions? This should not need planning to correct priority issues at existing junctions.


Examples: Costco development and most of the other junctions on Gunnels Wood Road.”


(C)      Question from Loyd Davies


“I understand that responsibility for the maintenance of the Stevenage cycle track surfaces rests with HCC but in many locations, it is the hedgerow and surface vegetation that narrows the cycle-track and causes a hazard. In some places the usable surface has been reduced by more than half. Cycling UK Stevenage riders are using the network daily; we could assist you with identifying places that need attention.



1.      The short spur link from the A602 down the hill to join the Gresley Way cycleway south of Ridlins Stadium is dangerous because going downhill you are forced onto the wrong side of the track.


2.      The cycle-track junction with Brittain Way on the north-east corner of the roundabout opposite Ken Brown Motors; here a tall hedge blocks more than half the cycleway and blocks the cyclists view of the road traffic and vice versa.


3.      Broadhall Way cycle way near Broadwater Crescent junction - vegetation on the surface narrows cycleway on a sloping section which is hazardous as cyclists coming uphill move across towards the path of oncoming cyclists descending at speed.


Will the frequency of hedgerow maintenance and surface vegetation clearance along the cycleway and footpath network be increased to ensure that cyclists can safely use the cycle-tracks, particularly while Social Distancing?”


The Council received three questions from the members of the public, all relating to cycling/cycleways in the Borough.  The responses to the three questions had been published in the supplementary agenda for the meeting.


In relation to Question 1, the questioner (Tina Walker) was present in the meeting, and asked the following supplementary question:


“Would it be possible for cyclists to be involved in the planning process before a decision was made about whether or not a planning application impacting on cycling/cycleways was suitable?”


The Portfolio Holder for Environment & Regeneration considered this to be a very reasonable request.  He felt that it would be possible for cycling representatives to meet with SBC Planning Officers as soon as a relevant planning application was submitted as part of the consultation process, in order to discuss pertinent cycling/cycleway issues.


In relation to Question 2, the questioner (Richard Briers) had been unable to attend the meeting, but had submitted the following supplementary question, which was read out by the Chief Executive:


“In respect of the cycleways at the Costco entrances, would it be possible for the layout and signals to be improved for cycling and other active travel?”


The Portfolio Holder for Environment & Regeneration replied that when the Costco planning application was considered, the views of the Highway Authority were paramount in reaching the decision.  Priority was, in fact, given to cyclists when they pressed the button on the traffic light columns.  At present there were no plans in place to change this method, which had been developed to support staff entering and exiting the site at different times, and thereby to alleviate potential queueing conditions inside the site or on the highway.  If UK Cycling had any alternative suggestions then they should submit these to the Highway Authority (Hertfordshire County Council).


The Portfolio Holder for Environment & Regeneration asked officers to provide Mr Briers with a written response to his supplementary question.


There was no supplementary question relating to Question 3.