Cycle Route Strategy
HoTT Transport Group developed a Cycle Route Strategy for the Holme Valley in October 2015. This put forward a network of routes linking Holmfirth, Wooldale, New Mill, Thongsbridge, Brockholes and Honley, together with a route from Honley to Huddersfield town centre and University. The routes combined existing footpaths and bridleways, new paths, and, where unavoidable, road sections, with suggested improvements to make them safer and more convenient for cyclists. The proposed routes were included in the HoTT consultation response to the draft Kirklees Local Development Plan proposals in February 2016.
Whilst the Holme Valley and the adjacent Peak National Park is a mecca for recreational cyclists, everyday cycling – to work, shops, school and college is at a very low level, and it is considered that new and improved infrastructure on the scale proposed is required if a significant increase in cycling in the Holme Valley, and a modal shift from the car, is to be achieved.
To achieve the network in full will require funding of several million pounds from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), together with support from Kirklees Council in making Compulsory Purchase Orders if required, and designating new rights of way. Clearly there is no quick or easy way forward, except for the possible short term development of one or more low cost pilot projects, working with local partners, to demonstrate what can be achieved.
The City Connect Project
WYCA has secured £60 million from the department of Transports’ Cycle City Ambition Grant for a programme of route development between 2014 and 2018. The routes are intended to achieve as high a degree of segregation as is possible from road traffic. The Canals and Rivers Trust, together with Sustrans and the local authorities, are the principal partners. These routes are:
- CC1 – a 23km segregated route from Bradford to east Leeds, through the city centre. This is substantially complete.
- CC2 – Huddersfield town centre and Colne Valley – up to 5km of new cycle infrastructure to connect cyclists to the town centre. This largely involves improved crossings of the ring road at several locations, cross town routes, a link to the Birkby Fartown Greenway, and surfacing the canal towpath to Linthwaite. A further route, from Brighouse to Huddersfield, which included a significant canal element, appears to have been deleted.
- Other projects in Bradford, Skipton, Wakefield, Calder Valley and York.
CC2 and the Holme Valley
CC2 is directly relevant insofar as it strongly implies that the recommended cycle routes from Lockwood to the University and town centre should be via Albert Road and from Scar Lane to Queens Mill Road, using the cyclists only right turn from Bridge Street; or the Lockwood Riverside Way, a good quality tarmac path to Queens Mill Road, then the river footbridge and Queen Street South to the ring road. Both routes have advantages over Lockwood Road/Chapel Hill. Safe crossings of the ring road are via the existing toucan crossing opposite the University, then the widened pavement to Queen Street; and the proposed crossing at Alfred Street.
- Kirklees Local Development Plan – second consultation is now underway, closing on 18th December 2016.
- Kirklees Cycling and Walking Strategic Framework and Delivery Plan – consultation postponed to early 2017
- City Connect 2 (CC2) – consultation postponed to early 2017
Possible Local Pilot Projects
HoTT Transport are keen for specific local cycle pathway projects to be developed, including:
Sands – improve all paths and create a new loop to encourage families and children to cycle in a safe, traffic free environment.
Holmfirth and Honley High Schools – create a shared path round the perimeter of Holmfirth, with links to Springwood Road and Heys Road; similarly round the perimeter of Neilley Playing field.
Tenter Hill Road – complete the surfacing of this bridleway as a school route.
Armitage Bridge to Meltham Road – complete the surfacing of this path.
Future development and transport implications
At a conservative estimate, over 50 new houses and apartments are being added annually to the housing stock in the Holme Valley North and South wards, including Meltham. The Local Plan proposes the development of many sites, both brownfield and greenfield, in the Holme Valley, including sites in and adjacent to the villages south of Holmfirth, where car dependency is likely to be higher than on sites closer to Huddersfield. Future development will only add more traffic to the network, with increased congestion, delay, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. Bus journey times will increase as there is only a single, outbound bus lane on Lockwood Road. Rail usage of all stations on the Penistone line has shown a steady growth; a combination of the scrapping of pacer trains, larger more comfortable passenger shelters, improved access to stations, more parking, more cycle spaces on trains, and (wishful thinking) a half hourly service would do much to encourage even greater use.
Cycling is emission free and healthy – we encourage you to join and help us in promoting cycling in the Holme Valley.
The majority of trips in the Holme Valley are less than 5 miles, this distance can be covered by an average cyclist in 30-40 minutes. At peak times a door to door journey ending at the university or in the town centre is often quicker by bike than by car. Electric bikes offer an even greater incentive to change. No contest!