We wrote to North Tyneside Council early December 2022 and asked them to rethink their engagement to develop a cycling and walking network:
“Having actively campaigned for North Tyneside Council to publish their Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and consult on it for years, we welcomed the news of the long awaited plan being finally issued in the autumn.
It was unclear, though, why this plan featured as an appendix to the reviewed cycling strategy and not as a standalone document. And for those in the borough interested in the walking network and improvements to the public realm in town centres, it was most probably impossible to realise that they would find proposals there, right at the end of the document. A Cycling design guide was also put out for consultation, this conflicts with national LTN 1/20 guidance and leaves the door open for developers to ignore national standards.
The Council stated that they “would like to hear comments on the documents and suggestions for any subjects which should be added or covered in greater detail”.
One of the most important aspects of a LCWIP is to be used as a tool for on-going engagement with opportunities to engage during the development of the plan. So our main recommendation to the council is to review the scope of this consultation and turn this exercise as a meaningful engagement process. In more detail:
- Provide a more detailed map, ideally online where details can be submitted on both cycling routes, both primary and secondary. Currently the map on page 9 (figure 3 – strategic cycle routes) does not allow for meaningful input and fails to map the existing network.
- Bring organisations – including Street Life, Sustrans, Cycling UK, Tyne and Wear Public Transport Use Group and their volunteers together to consider the proposed plans and discuss and review the key corridors and promote community engagement.
- Organise joint events with above groups in community places to present the plan, explain prioritisation and offer a genuine opportunity for residents to comment on the routes in a user friendly manner.
Our members have expressed an interest in more involvement and discussion on the way the network can continue to be developed, reviewed and prioritised as part of a dynamic on-going process. However as drafted we have a set of documents that fail to consider the existing walking and cycling network leaving it unmapped and neglected. Instead we’re presented with a set of lines on a low resolution map with no timetable attached.
We see a great value in working together with North Tyneside Council as part of a long term engagement process rather than responding to a consultation – which frankly is quite uninviting, and not knowing what the outcome would be. Too many consultations end up without any attempt to summarise the contributions made and any explanation regarding the next steps – the perfect example of this being the consultation on the seafront sustainable route where hundreds of people commented and to date not even a summary report outlining the outcome of the consultation.
So we call for a system change and for a new process to engage and develop the LCWIP, as a comprehensive network of cycling and walking routes, in line with our recommendations above, i.e. with groups and interested residents.
A co-design and production process would lead to a greater local community buy-in and support – which we know is essential for building new active travel infrastructure at pace.
Design guidance should be developed in collaboration with Active Travel England and should not conflict with national standards.
We look forward to hearing North Tyneside Borough Council’s views on our call for change and what next steps they will take.”
For the complete set of documents from North Tyneside Council, click here
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be involved in the development of a cycling and walking network.
You can join Street Life in North Tyneside by signing up here: https://streetlifentyneside.org.uk/sign-up/