Chester scheme is headed down the wrong path


Staff reporter (Chester First)

A ‘CRACKPOT scheme’ to allow pedestrians and cyclists to share a footpath on a Chester road has come under fire.

Cllr Alex Black believes the plans for Hoole Road are dangerous and should be scrapped. The road is lined with hotels and Cllr Black says he has the backing of Hoole hoteliers.

Work to convert the pavement to ‘dual use’ began yesterday and is due to last for six weeks.

The project, which includes the installation of a toucan crossing, is being funded by St Martin’s Academy and is being organised alongside Cheshire West and Chester Council (CwaC).

The idea is to encourage youngsters to cycle to school but Cllr Black, who represents Hoole, says it is an accident waiting to happen.

He said: “Few would object to children cycling on footpaths on their way to school, but this route will be for the use of cyclists of all ages.

“The dangers to pedestrians and cyclists are obvious.

“I find it hard to believe parents of schoolchildren welcome the school’s main entrance opening up to such a pedestrian and cyclist route with its obvious dangers to the unwary.

“It’s a crackpot scheme.”

He said hoteliers on Hoole Road were worried that guests emerging from hotels and B&Bs would encounter cyclists racing past from both directions.

“They fear that this would make their hotels less attractive and result in a loss of trade to their small businesses,” he said.

Cllr Black said cyclists had raised safety fears at a recent public meeting, but a spokesman for CwaC said similar schemes were already running safely in other areas of the borough.

She said: “There are other examples of shared use facilities around the borough which operate safely and satisfactorily. One example is on Hough Green in Chester where a shared use facility is in operation which runs past the accesses to many guest houses in a similar way.

“The facility will be clearly signed so hotel guests will be aware that they are crossing a footway and cycleway.

“Motorists are obliged to exit with all due care in any event when crossing a footway.”

Once the scheme was under way it would be “kept under review,” she said.

But Cllr Black added: “This puts us in the invidious position of waiting for an accident involving injury to occur in order to be proved right.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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