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Author Topic: An example of pedestrian and cycle access that could be funded from the £2bn  (Read 1541 times)
grahame
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« on: May 14, 2020, 01:16:20 pm »

Passenger access to Melksham Station is at present only from the South east - along "Station Approach" through the light industry area. For the Town Centre, that's the right direction but there's a significant part of the town, including retail, restaurants and residential, which is close to the station (like starting 100 metres away) but the best part of 1 km walking / cycling - and walking involves crossing the trunk A350 road twice. The "northern area" we'll call it.

Wiltshire Council now owns all the land from the station though to this northern area, but there is a fence across it preventing its use even on foot.  The opening of a connecting path is one element of the Melksham Station masterplan, but has been relegted to Phase 2, with the provision of more parking at the station and the community hub in phase 1.

The planned building of a hotel with over 70 rooms in this northern area, together with the government's £2 billion fund to improve walking and cycling routes, suggests that now would be a good time to crack on with the northern access, with extra path works funded by an appropiate mixture of developer and government funding while the window of opportunity is there.

The topic arose during yesterday's Melksham Rail User Group gathering online ... I wrote a briefing note this morning to put current case elements together. See ((here))


Left diagram shows the shorter "red" route to the hotel ... right diagram details the hazards that need to be addressed in the few yards of council land that can't alrreadybe walked over.

This habit of building balloons of development - the station and business area, and the foundry close residential and retain area, without a footpath between them always seemed unfortunate and now it feels really perverse!
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2020, 02:24:15 pm »

...now would be a good time...

Absolutely!

We just need to persuade the various local authorities to start spending hundreds of thousands on local active travel, instead of spending hundreds of millions on motor roads!
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2020, 03:53:37 pm »

Yes. £2 billion sounds like a lot, but once you compare it to all the projects it might be applied to...
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Reginald25
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2020, 04:43:01 pm »

Not sure if its feasible, but if a walking route that avoided the A350 were possible, it would be much more attractive.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2020, 05:43:34 am »

Not sure if its feasible, but if a walking route that avoided the A350 were possible, it would be much more attractive.

Good question ... but I don't see it practically.

North from Melksham station, you need to be alongside the railway - be it on Wiltshire Council's track, or a new path on Network Rail land. 

A hundred yards(ish) north, my suggestion is to cut across 15 yards of waste ground and through the fence to Foundry close.  You need that exit to reach housing, most retail businesses, restaurants, bus stop for Lacock which are close by that point.

Options / extras / alternatives

1.1. If you carried on alongside the railway, you'll be behind the building block on one side of Foundry Close and your next way out without knocking buildings down or replacing someone's home with a passageway is just before Leekes' big store, across their secured yard; from the front of their yard, walkers could walk across Leekes' car park (alongside tha A350) rather than the footpath beside the road itself. Another possibility, I suppose, would be for Leekes to have a back door and hotel guests walk through the store. But it ain't open 24 hours.

1.2. If you carry on further behind Leekes (but is there space??) to Dunch Lane, then you could walk down the lane to the back of the hotel. How you rise up to the lane would need looking at too.  It all could be done (after all, the railway was once double and broad gauge) but I don't think we want to put a hurdle in the way of redoubling and that exit will be for Leekes and the hotel; also for walkers headed up to Beanacre and across Dunch Lane bridge to housing there.

Looking to walk 'back' from the A350 once you cross off the railway path ... three elements:

2.1. You could have people cross McDonalds car park, and exit through the back of their drive through - re-arrangement needed, not sure if it's practical, no gain.

2.2. Outside Foundry Close housing ... without taking gardens (well - tiny yards) away, nothing easy and even then just a few yards gained. With option 1.1, taking over a further home you could produce a walk through

2.3 It would be possible to walk in front of businesses and across Leekes' car park rather than alongside the A350.

I would be very seriously concerned at the adoption of any of those options except 2.3.  And I would be very concerned at any ideas that double cross the railway or the A350.

Where it might get better ... the Melksham eastern bypass proposals (earmarked to be nationally financed later this decade) reduces this section of the A350 to a more local road (B road?) and that will/would clean up the walk.

More good news ... additional support for the original plan as it provides a walking route to the village of Beanacre - putting the residents there within the station walking catchment.

Edit to add - pictures:

The walk alongside the A350


Proposal map - red as suggested, mauve as looked at above


Behind Leekes - unlikely for a path


« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 06:07:53 am by grahame » Logged

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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2020, 07:44:01 am »

Yes. £2 billion sounds like a lot, but once you compare it to all the projects it might be applied to...

Indeed - £2 billion is less than 2% of an HS2!  Shocked
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ellendune
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2020, 08:50:01 am »

If it is a nwe path on NR land would that be a barrier to eventual re-doubling of the track?
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2020, 09:38:49 am »

If it is a nwe path on NR land would that be a barrier to eventual re-doubling of the track?


On the 'red' section - if the path was to the left of marker 7 on that map - there would be space for the path and for redoubling.   The Network Rail land is wider there, taking in where there was a siding.   Looking up towards Dunch Lane (the options in mauve explored this morning), I don't know - it could be a problem.

There is potential significant cost to putting the path on Network rail ex-siding land if possessions are required while a new fence if put it

Can we please drop "eventual" from redoubling  Grin Grin ... extra capacity may come sooner rather than later!
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Reginald25
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2020, 02:01:37 pm »

All good points, perhaps the key aspect is the A350 Melksham bypass. But this is likely to be much later in the decade. I guess the key issue is to get the route to Foundry Close open first.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 05:14:15 pm by Reginald25 » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2020, 08:34:09 am »

All good points, perhaps the key aspect is the A350 Melksham bypass. But this is likely to be much later in the decade. I guess the key issue is to get the route to Foundry Close open first.

I took a walk up to Leekes yesterday ... and the opportunity to look. Always good to get out of the armchair and see what it's like on the ground

There IS a passageway between the houses at the northern end of Foundry Close and the A350 frontage, but it has railings across it to stop egress onto the A350.  Without those railings, it would be possible to walk up Foundry Close then out through the passage and turn left across the Pine Shop frontage to avoid having to walk on the footpath beside the A350 at all.



However - I'm not sure this route is desirable.  The passageway through between the houses and the end of the pine shop is narrow, and there are about 10 house front doors behind the railings just to the left.  At present, the complete railings stop anyone (children) coming out of the houses and being straight / easily onto the main road.   Further the passage is narrow and uninviting and probably not suitable as a thoroughfare.



Moving back to the fence that needs taking out in Foundry Close to link through to the ex-railway open land owned by Wiltshire Council - here's yesterday's picture of the fence.   New housing on the left, and you can see just behind it the top of the sand tower on the access 'roadway' down to the station.   The picture shows how absurdly close Wiltshire Council's Foundry Close and Wiltshire Council's Station Approach extension are to each other.


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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2020, 01:06:33 pm »

Whether that potential route is too narrow or otherwise is of course subjective, but to me (from a photograph rather than a site inspection!) it doesn't seem any narrower than many footpahs between houses that I regularly use. It also appears to be not very long which should reduce the undesirability factor.

Regarding the danger of people (large or small) walking inadvertently onto a main road, the standard solution in these cases is to erect a barrier at the kerb. You will see this arrangement all over the country. Here's an example of one opposite the Astoria cinema in Chippemhan only half amile away from me:

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4620886,-2.1204514,3a,65.2y,355.29h,93.4t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s3M0DI_zSTLl2_6tU8D6TKA!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3D3M0DI_zSTLl2_6tU8D6TKA%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dsearch.revgeo_and_fetch.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D96%26h%3D64%26yaw%3D130.17194%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192

I would also hazard a guess that that fence predates the housing development by a long way. I suspect it marks the original site boundary and it is only still there because of a lack of joined-up thinking on the part of both the developers and the local authority.
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