Agenda item

Safe and sustainable use of parks and open spaces

Minutes:

Areas looked at included:

        Encouraging walking and cycling where possible – deter inappropriate parking on the highway

        Respect our parks and open spaces – don’t litter or light fires (working with the royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service). Huge pressure on the number of people using parks litter bins

        Follow social distancing guidelines – keep dogs on leads.

        Protect wildlife

        Wear and tear of facilities

        Cycling

        Raising awareness of what BFC are doing i.e. #ThankYouLocalGov campaign.

 

David Warren signposted Rose Wicks to a book called Nudge, which has scientific examples of how to persuade the public to follow comms messages.

 (Action: Rose Wicks)

 

Chris Swatridge gave an overview of the damage being done to a heavily used boardwalk and public FP at Wildmoor Heath. This is caused by increased use by pedestrians and cyclists when traveling at speed.

BFC were carrying out running repairs to the boardwalk to keep it safe, but a longer-term solution was needed. BFC had been investigating options to limit cycling along the boardwalk and how they might replace it where it was being most impacted by heavy use and age. The expense was proving to be a big challenge.

Site meeting to be organised between Rob Solomon, Natural England, BBOWT and contractor to discuss plans. BFC have looked at removing the boardwalk and raising the path, but there could be issues with using imported material which if not carefully managed might negatively impact the sensitive ecology of Wildmoor Heath. As the site is SSSI and SPA anything would need to be approved by Natural England.

(Action: BFC officers)

 

Michael Brossard flagged up increased amounts of anti-social behaviour in this area and the damage being done by mountain bikes and quadbikes, which had also been flagged up by the Sandhurst Residents Association. Michael also updated members on what he had been doing to address the issue of dog poo caused by more walking in the area. This is particularly bad at the end of Thibet Road. The supply of dog poo bags was one of his suggestions.

 

Rose provided an update on behalf of Phillip Burke (BFC Senior Transport Coordinator) about the increased amount of people cycling during COVID-19, which was generally welcomed, but it was highlighted that this had the potential for more conflict between people walking and cycling, when trying to maintain social distancing. There was also an issue of some people not always cycling responsibly, which BFC were trying to address via signage and comms.

 

In May the Government announced an Emergency Active Travel Fund of £250 million, focused on measures to support walking and cycling which local transport authorities could bid for a portion of.

For the Tranche 1 bid BFC submitted a proposal to improve the junction of Warfield Road, Sandy Lane and Holly Spring Lane to make it more cycle-friendly. This is a key junction on a main North/South corridor linking housing areas to the town centre, as well as an East/West corridor linking housing to a Primary and Secondary school. BFC are working on additional schemes to improve cycle infrastructure for when the larger Tranche 2 bidding round is announced.

 

Alvin said that the developments in that area should be paying towards safety improvements to the junction. Rose to follow this up with Phillip and asks that he responds to Alvin’s query.

(Action: Rose Wicks)

 

The signage for the Bracknell Forest section of National Cycle Network route 422 – which connects Newbury to Ascot, via Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell – has now been installed. Envisaged as a predominantly leisure route, NCN 422 will also be useful for people considering cycling to work across local authority borders.

 

Colin flagged up how some of the cycleways, particularly next to roads, were becoming narrow because of overgrowing vegetation. London Road down from the Mercedes Garage was one of the places where this was an issue. Chris explained how COVID-19 had impacted on contracted work to maintain grass areas, by strimming. Colin said that this was a longer-term issue and asked if there were funds to help address this.

Chris would follow this up with CLL and Colin would provide feedback to Phillip Burke.

 (Action: Chris Swatridge and Chair)

 

Colin to send Rose some potential improvements to cycleways, to be sent to Phillip.

(Action: Rose Wicks and Chair)