Thurrock Council have been given a pot of money from the government under its Active Travel Fund to spend on ways of making walking and cycling around the borough easier and safer. The council are asking for the views of residents on a number of schemes they have proposed. This is how the request for the views of us plebs was covered in the local media: Residents invited to have their say on widened paths for pedestrians and cyclists to make new town links – and a new crossing at Orsett Cock.
This is where you can go on the Thurrock Council website to find out details of each of the proposals and take part in a survey on them: Funding for new walking and cycling routes.
On the Thurrock Nub News Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Thurrocknubnews – the views expressed about the Active Travel proposals are mixed to say the least! A fair number of them have pointed out the increasingly degraded state of much of the existing road and pedestrian infrastructure and asked why the money cant be spent on improving what we already have. A good question but as it appears this pot of money is for a very specific purpose, the council may argue that it cant be spent on upgrading what’s already there. However, it could also be argued that repairing and upgrading what we already have in the way of pedestrian infrastructure would go a long way towards making walking (and cycling?) round the borough a safer and pleasanter experience.
What was also pointed out was Thurrock Council’s (in)ability to deliver infrastructure projects on time and within budget. While putting in a few cycle ways and improving a number of pedestrian crossings might not be on the scale of the late and over-budget A13 widening and Stanford-le-Hope railway station projects, it’s understandable that people are questioning the council’s ability to deliver on these proposals.
As ever with ‘consultations’, we’ve been given a set of fairly detailed schemes to comment upon. There’s no starting with a blank sheet of paper and having a proper conversation with us residents about what’s actually needed to make walking and cycling around the borough easier. Having taken a look at the proposed schemes, they do range from what we reckon is absolutely needed through to what could be considered as impractical flights of fancy.
Anyway, the pot of money is there, it has to be spent and the proposals are on the table. As flawed as we think the ‘consultation’ process is, it’s there and needs to be responded to. If you think some of the proposals are daft, say so and loudly! If there’s one or two that actually make sense (the crossing at the Orsett Cock?), then give it some support. Even at this advanced stage of planning, there’s still the possibility of making a difference if enough people feel it’s necessary.