Jan Durkin from Access Walden writes:
The Wenden Road cycle and foot path: this Saturday 29th September is your last chance to influence the decision!
The third and final day of our public exhibition for a cycle/foot path along Wenden Road will be this Saturday (29th) in Saffron Walden Town Hall 9am – 5pm.
We have had an excellent response so far with more than a thousand feedback forms completed. But we can’t afford to be complacent!
We have got this far with our campaign precisely because you have supported us in your thousands – either by signing our petition, signing our e-petition or attending our ‘ride and ramble’ last October. We now need as many of you as possible to come to the exhibition on Saturday and tell us which of the four options on show you prefer.
We need one option to emerge a clear favourite
If there is clear public preference for one option we can then move ahead because Essex County Council will then draw up detailed plans and apply for funding to build it.
The options are:
- Option 1: Widening Wenden Road to fit a pedestrian/cycle path alongside the road
- Option 2 : Building a path partly alongside the road and partly on Audley End Estate land
- Option 3: Making Wenden Road one lane for one-way motor traffic, the other lane two-way for cyclists and pedestrians
- Option 4: Closing Wenden Road to motor traffic except for access
This information is set out more fully in the exhibition itself but, in brief, we see the pros and cons of the above options as follows:
Options 1 and 2: These options involve a separate path alongside Wenden Road. Of these two options we prefer Option 2. Option 1 will need significant engineering works at the Saffron Walden end of Wenden Road which is likely to change the rural feel of the road. Option 2 avoids these issues but relies on purchasing some land from Audley End estate– an uncertain process. Both options are expensive (ECC estimate £850K for Option 1; Option 2 would be slightly cheaper). High cost will make these options hard to achieve in the present economic climate.
Options 3 and 4: These are both relatively cheap (about an eighth of the cost of Option 1). They should be straightforward to fund and easy to deliver. We have concerns about Option 4 because closing the road to all through traffic is a loss of amenity to motorists and also because there will not be complete separation of cyclists and pedestrians from motor vehicles because of access traffic. Option 3 involves some loss of amenity for motorists as Wenden Road would become one-way, but the Newport Road (Sparrows End Hill) offers an easy and fast alternative route, taking just one minute longer.
On balance we believe that Option 3 represents a sensible compromise for all road users, achievable at a low cost and is also the most likely to attract support from UDC.
But we very much need you to come along, show your support and tell us what you think.
We support the Access Walden campaign because it is doing something positive to reduce traffic and improve safety. We urge all residents of Saffron Walden to go down on Saturday and let them know which option you prefer.