Long Shoot Cycle Scheme Delayed

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Update: 26 January 2022

A further request for an update on this project was submitted in early January, after 2021 concluded with no public update from the County Council. In its response, WCC has noted that plans are still not ready for publication and that the anticipated commencement of construction is now the summer of 2022, following the conclusion of works on the Callendar Farm junction.

Original Article (19 October 2021)

Back in February/March of this year, Warwickshire County Council consulted on a new cycle scheme to run just under a mile along the A47 “Long Shoot” in Nuneaton. The proposed scheme is funded in part by some of the money awarded under tranche two of central government’s Active Travel Fund, and (for the most part) the plans offer a high quality route designed using latest standards (LTN 1/20) – with some noteable exceptions.

The consultation for this scheme closed on 18 March with a promise on the Council’s dedicated webpage that updates would be published. Yet six months on, no further information had been released to the public. Concerned that the project might stall, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request (actually treated under the Environmental Information Regulations) asking for an update, and a response was received on 18 October.

My request asked for a number of specific points, to be treated as for public release:

  1. An update on the schemes progress;
  2. The changes made to the scheme as a result of the consultation, with updated plans;
  3. A summary of themes identified through the consultation;
  4. Expected development times for the commencement and conclusion of the scheme.

Unfortunately, the response noted that much of this request was exempt under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. However, the Council did provide a high level summary of progress so far. Reassuringly, the scheme is continuing though it is delayed due to the need to re-work elements of the scheme potentially including its interaction with the A5, and how it works crossing side roads. Construction is now expected to commence no sooner than early 2022 but the intention is for updated plans to be published before the end of 2021.

Work on the scheme design has been continuing following the engagement which took place at the beginning of the year. WCC are pleased with both the volume of responses received and with the feedback generated, which are being considered as part of the process of progressing the scheme design.

WCC expect to be in a position to publish updated scheme designs before the end of the year. This is later than originally intended however we are continuing to work through the design process and still have outstanding issues to resolve that could have a bearing on the final design.

Present activities include:

  • working on the proposed speed limit reduction on the Long Shoot,
  • traffic modelling to understand whether National Highways’ decision not to progress the improvement scheme at Dodwells on the A5 has implications for the proposed design, and
  • work on the design of proposed side road priority crossings.
In addition, a further Road Safety Audit will be required which could introduce further change to the scheme design.

WCC intend to publish the updated scheme designs alongside an overview of the feedback from the engagement as soon as we have completed these various activities and processes. The next stage will then be to formally advertise the required Traffic Regulatory Orders with the aim of commencing construction in the early part of 2022.

Warwickshire County Council, 18 October 2021 (re-formatted for clarity)

Without public access to revised plans, it is obviously not yet possible to comment specifically on how the scheme is progressing, however I am at least somewhat reassured that the project is still live. Saying that, I remain concerned over specific issues that I’ve noted before on the original plans, and now whether the Council’s comments shown above regarding side road priority crossings mean a risk of watering down provision to something worse than originally intended.

I hope this currently unfounded speculation is incorrect. While it is obviously disappointing that development on the scheme is delayed, if that delay means the time is being taken to get this project designed and built to the best standard it can be, then it will hopefully be worthwhile. Time will tell.

Check back to this site (fiets.uk/longshootcycling) or the Twitter account (@BicycleBenUK) for updates if and when available.

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