Abbey Fields could be wonderful for cycling
Further to Mrs Illingworth’s letter (KWN last week). Her linking Sustrans to an authoritarian threat to Kenilworth is frankly ridiculous!
She uses the tactics of authoritarians down the ages, getting people to unite against a supposed common and “alien” enemy - in this case Sustrans!
We’ve been here before with the Conservatives of Kenilworth and cycling. They were implacable in their opposition to the Connect2 project from its inception back in 2007. In 2009 I, with others, were successful in galvanising public opinion collecting over 1,500 signatures to a petition which focused the Conservatives at WCC to complete the project according to the will of the people.
Again, what this debate should be about is of course is what the residents of Kenilworth as a whole want, not a few people with loud voices.
In July a meeting of Kenilworth cycling issues was devoted to debating the topic of the development of a cycling route across Abbey Fields. It was clear at this meeting there are a number of concerns within local organisations, including the Friends of Abbey Fields, the Kenilworth Society, and the town council regarding this proposal.
I fully support the idea of allowing cycling within Abbey Fields and had the opportunity to speak in support of this throughout the meeting. I spoke of the need for all users of the public spaces such as Abbey Fields, cycleways and bridleways to have respect for each other and signage should state that pedestrians have priority.
I also raised the topic of public health. We all know cycling is good for us and the environment. It is currently becoming ever more popular, enhanced by the success of the Olympics. As one who has under gone cardiac surgery, I can fully testify to the benefits this activity has on one’s health. Abbey Fields has great potential as a wonderful venue for family cycling, where families can enjoy healthy exercise safe from dangers of the roads.
Inactivity is ‘killing as many as smoking’. An article in the Lancet states that about one in ten UK deaths are from diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer, which are avoidable through exercise. It went on to say governments needed to look at ways to make physical activity more convenient, affordable and safer. The commendable initiative by Warwick District Council and its local plan promoting public health supports this.
Given this clear advice, I totally fail to understand the rejection of WDC’s Abbey Fields proposal by local organisations. With this in mind, in July I wrote to my local councillors Mrs F. Bunker, Mr A Mobbs and Mr D Shilton raising my concerns about the hostility I detected to cycling in Kenilworth’s public spaces from within the town’s council. I still await a reply.
Interestingly, there are voices within Friends of Abbey Fields who are in favour of a cycle route - the front page of their latest newsletter which I’ve scanned and posted here on the internet http://goo.gl/lrBaj. I applaud the fact that FoAF are prepared to carry the debate into their own publication in this way. - Howard Easton, The Wardens, Kenilworth.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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