Large Development at Chidswell – “Inadequate Cycling Plans”

Cycle Kirklees has submitted a detailed planning objection to a large housing and industrial development. We are concerned that there is inadequate provision for cycling and walking both within the boundary of the proposed developments and in the routes to access local services and employment in Kirklees, Wakefield and Leeds districts. 

The proposal is for the equivalent of another entire village or small town, located between Ossett (Wakefield MDC) and Haigh Moor (Leeds City Council) in two adjacent planning applications [Chidswell: 2020/92331, Heybeck: 2020/92350].

In view of the additional 2000 cars and lorries per day implied in the two applications, we believe that there needs to be a far more ambitious strategic plan to accommodate everyday cycling, including the routes into Dewsbury, Ossett and towards Leeds.

We understand the Highways England are an objector as they are concerned that road capacity would be exceeded by such a large housing and industrial development.

Our submission said that “we are disappointed that opportunities have been missed to reduce the dependency on car travel. The car will otherwise become the default for most residents on this site rather than active travel and public transport.”

We argued for the provision of a strong cycling and walking infrastructure operating alongside the proposed rapid transit network that would link Ossett to Dewsbury to Bradford.

Whilst we accepted that the Transport Assessments indicate that the site can be accessed by alternative modes including walking, cycling, and public transport, there numerous examples where these are inadequate in meeting the requirements of Active Travel England and the framework provided in LTN/120.

We agreed with Leeds City Council Highway’s submission that “improvements may be required on cycling routes within the Leeds district that would likely be used to access facilities”. We proposed that “improvements will be required on cycling routes in all directions”, and gave some examples below of the improvements required in Kirklees (see full submission – link at end of this blog).

The transport submissions and developers’ reports indicate that there will be considerable impact from the development on traffic levels. Much of this cannot be mitigated by the developers. To achieve the paradigm shift that we are committed to making in West Yorkshire to tackle carbon emissions and improve air quality cannot be met if these large developments that perpetuate car dependency in an already traffic-saturated area go ahead.

Specific examples in the application:

We have included some specific examples in the application that are of concern as they do not meet good cycling design within the current regulatory framework.

The Framework Travel Plan document shows nothing more for active travel than supplying route maps and travel planning. In their own documents Figure 3-3 is titled as “Leeds Road – Speed warning signs and segregated cycle lane” yet it clearly shows an advisory cycle lane on a 40mph road that is not suitable for safe travel. It even has a car parked blocking it.

There are some streets that do not have pedestrian or cycling permeability, which will promote more car use.

The spine road at 6.75m appears to have lanes wide enough and design style that reinforces car dominance and we see it as likely to be used by drivers travelling quickly between Leeds Road and Owl Lane to avoid queuing traffic around the Shaw Cross junction. As these drivers are not part of the proposed community, they would possibly not treat the road with the respect it required. The spine road also severs the community by being a barrier to walking and playing between neighbours.  

Chidswell Lane is a popular active route between Leeds Road and Ossett. The junction of the spine road with Chidswell Lane does not prioritise either people using this route or active travel in general and should be changed to do so or have other traffic calming features, like a raised junction.

M62 Junction 28

The new proposed design discourages people from cycling along Bradford Road travelling west to east in a safe environment as large detours are required. The provision for cycles travelling between Bradford Road (to the west) and Dewsbury Road (to the north) no longer exists due to the removal of crossing points and the only possible route leaves cyclists on the wrong side of a busy dual carriageway without any progress from Leeds City Council on a possible cycle track in that direction.

Shaw Cross Junction

Here there is no provision for cycles (not even advanced stop lines/cycle reservoirs). John Ormsby VC Way is 5 lanes wide as it approaches the junction, but designers have not seen fit for active travel to be included. This is unacceptable. The left slip onto Leeds Road will encourage higher speeds and good design now shows junctions such as this having slip roads removed to reduce speeds of vehicles turning.

Find our full submission here.