Saffron Walden: Signs of tentative consensus for Wenden Road cycle and pedestrian project plans

About 500 people turned out for the second Access Walden-organised Ride n Ramble along Wenden Road l

About 500 people turned out for the second Access Walden-organised Ride n Ramble along Wenden Road last month to highlight the need for a safe cycle and pedestrian route along the road. Picture: Joe Higham - Credit: Archant

Campaigners have reacted tentatively to the latest development in a 26-year quest to get a safe cycle and pedestrian route to Audley End Station.

Last week Access Walden members met with officers at Essex County Council (ECC) and other interested parties to thrash out the next step of a possible design phase.

Two options for the Wenden Road scheme were placed on the table by the county council.

Both included a two-way traffic flow from the B1383 to Abbey Farm to allow access for businesses and residents.

One idea was to effectively close off the rest of Wenden Road for most drivers by allowing only buses and cycles to go in both directions up to the Audley End road junction.

The alternative was a one-way section allowing all vehicles to travel northbound, with a contra-flow cycle/pedestrian path for users to go in both directions.

Paul Gadd, from Access Walden, said: “There was a clear sense in the room that in order for something to get done everyone will need to compromise a little. Access Walden recognises this includes us.

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“So, while we would prefer ECC to be looking at a fully one-way path, we have agreed that we could potentially get behind this partial one-way version if – and this is critical – they add additional safety measures on the two-way section.”

He added: “We also want ECC to pursue their design and technical assessments for a partial one-way option in which the two-way and one-way sections are swapped, as we feel this offers much greater safety for cyclists and pedestrians.”

The aim of the meeting was to seek feedback on the proposals from all stakeholders involved in the process.

Mr Gadd said the general consensus was:

? That there is a safety issue affecting pedestrians, cyclists and motorists along Wenden Road, and that it needs addressing;

? That in a perfect world the solution would be a fully off-road cycle/footpath, but that issues such as land acquisition and cost meant this was not feasible;

? No-one felt the option with a bus/cycle only section would be desirable;

? Most felt the part one-way option could work from a ‘lorries turning’ point of view and would mark an improvement in cycle and pedestrian safety.