Building Bridges

And so it begins…

Again.

The CBC new Planning Committee will meet at the Town Hall for the first time on 26th May.

We don’t know (yet) who will be Chair.

It won’t be ex-Cllr Jon Manning, who sadly found himself stranded somewhere in No Man’s Land between Wivenhoe and Stanway during the All Out elections shake up.

What we do know is what will be on the agenda [pdf].

The SEXY headline for the first Planning meeting is all about bridges.

You can soon see why The Chronic absolutely CREAMS it over Planning.

It’s a bit of a political poop of a Planning bridge as well: we’re talking about the walkway that currently straddles Balkerne Hill.

You say walkway, we say shared pedestrian and cyclist space.

That’s the aim it seems from the ECC planners.

Back in 1977 when the bridge was first ERECTED, any lone cyclist was seen as something of a weirdo. This is one of the reasons why the Balkerne Bridge was built at only 1.8m wide.

But with cycling now firmly back on the transport agenda [it saves local authorities dosh…] then the Balkerne Bridge is a bit of a dead dodo.

The application from ECC asks to:

“Remove the existing 1.8m wide footbridge and replace with a similar style bridge 3.0m wide. This is to provide a shared facility for both cyclists and pedestrians to have access via this bridge into Colchester Town Centre.”

The Officer’s report also name checks another casualty of the CBC All Out elections in ex-Cllr Bill Frame.

The former Cabinet member objected to the scheme on the grounds that any new bridge might impact upon the historic Balkerne Gate and Roman Walls.

We are a sucker for any Planning report that includes a contribution from the Ramblers’ Association. Sadly the Rambler’s didn’t respond to the request for their input.

Other objections for the new bridge have been made. These include concerns about shared use, to the usual “waste of funds.”

‘cos yeah, keeping cyclists out of the old Roman Wall boundaries is just the type of thing that a progressive local authority should be encouraged to do…

The outcome is that the Officer recommendation is for approval.

We sincerely hope that the political tit-for-tat between the Tory controlled ECC and the LibLab love in of CBC doesn’t get in the way of cycling infrastructure.

You could even call it… building bridges, Comrades.