Results in 2019
This is a brief report on our activities and results in 2019.
- ‘Turn the network blue’ campaign received nearly 2,000 supporters and was presented to Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWTC) and to the Transport portfolio holder, Councillor Woodman, at Somerset County Council (SCC). SCC is lobbying for specific funding and has submitted an ‘expression of interest’ for cycling infrastructure under the Department for Transport ‘Pinch Point’ fund. SWTC have published a ‘Public Realm’ design guidance which includes some of our design aspirations. Our tube network plan has been adopted by SWTC as policy in the Garden Town Vision.
- Junction 25 crossing. Highways England (HE) have carried out a technical assessment of options and their recommended option is to tunnel under the M5 parallel with Blackbrook. This would provide a direct link into proposed Nexus 25, potentially from many parks of the town. We continue to press HE on the need for an Ilmister-Taunton A358 scheme directly and via the Community Forum (although progress on the whole scheme seems to be very slow).
- Supported the experimental closure of St James Street and assisted with aspects of the monitoring.
- Made representations at the SWTC Planning Committee calling for more time to design better cycling and walking infrastructure for the Comeytrowe Urban Extension spine road and A38 junction. Although a couple of councillors responded to this, the committee approved the very outdated scheme with its outdated design thinking.
- Commissioned and received feasibility study for Wellington to Taunton cycle route working with Wellington Wheelers.
- Secured funding for two phases of one-to-one confidence adult cycle training (Bikeability level 3). Approximately 30 people trained with very positive feedback.
- We put a lot of work into a first stage bid for nearly £1m of funding under the Climate Action fund. It would have funded 4 projects but was not successful.
- Safe pass message. We designed, printed and distributed 250 hi vis vests and 150 back pack covers. We undertook a survey for user feedback and most respondents felt that the vests had a positive effect on drivers and their feeling of safety. We also prepared artwork for 20 A1 size signs which SCC have agreed to move between certain sections of road.
- TACC members carried out over 20 cycle audits that were used for the draft Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. SCC submitted the draft to the Department for Transport in November. We have a number of areas where we would like improvements and are still waiting for SCC to consult on this.
- Drafted a cycling strategy for SWTC and awaiting response/discussions.
- Commented on a series of SWTC consultation documents, including the Local Plan Options and Issues report, Climate Change Strategy, Garden Town Vision and Public Realm design guidance. Astonished to discover that access to walking and cycling is not a criterion that the Planning Authority use when selecting their preferred sites for development.
- Working with SWTC, we organised a cycle infrastructure design training day in the council chamber provided by Phil Jones and Ben Coleman. It was attended by SCC highway engineers and SWTC staff. The training was based on soon to be published – we are told – new Department for Transport Guidance. We understand that more staff would like to do this training.
- Discussions with SWTC’s consultants for the High Street Bid. If successful, this will include a number of important improvements to link Vivary Park routes through to the Station, via the town centre. This would include removal of the highly problematic cobbles at the Market House.
- TACC had stalls at 5 events. Supporters have grown to 800.
- Approx 8 newsletters sent out and fairly regular postings on Facebook and Twitter.
- Big Bike Revival – Foxglove Trail led ride in Bike Week and Dr Bike.