The Thicket Path Enquiry - The Result

It's the best part of two months since the Enquiry into Cambridgeshire County Council's attempt to turn The Thicket footpath into a cycle track. The Secretary of State's decision has just been made. The County Council's Order has been turned down. There are links to the Secretary of State's decision letter and the Inspectors' report at the bottom of this article.

However, it may be a short-lived victory for walkers, joggers, wheelchair users and considerate cyclists. The Inspector's report  concludes:
"There is a strong case for the designation of an off-road route between Houghton and St Ives that would provide a convenient facility for commuter journeys by bicycle, leisure cycling and as part of the NCN Route 51. The Thicket Path is the most obvious candidate. In effect, this footpath has already been converted in as much as the surface has been upgraded and it is currently promoted in many places as a cycle route. 
It is my conclusion that the absence of sufficient information about current and anticipated use, and users, of the Order route, and the uncertainty over the range of lawful user groups, leaves the question over the adequacy of its width unanswerable at the present time and that therefore it is premature to confirm this Order, despite the length of time that has passed since it was made. That is not to accept that to ‘do nothing at all’ is the solution here but simply that a cycle track has not been shown to be justified on the facts currently available."
In effect, the Inspector agrees with the County Council that an off-road cycle track between St Ives and Houghton is desirable and The Thicket footpath is the most suitable route. It appears the only reason she did not authorise the change was the Council's lack of risk analysis and impact assessment.

Having employed a barrister costing several hundred pounds an hour to argue their case at the Enquiry, will Cambridgeshire County Council now spend more taxpayers' money pursuing the change? A Freedom of Information request has been submitted to the Council asking for the following details:
  1. Details of the costs so far incurred or yet to pay in pursuance of Cambridgeshire County Council's Order.
  2. Following the Secretary of State's refusal to confirm letter to Mr Ouditt, does the Council intend to further pursue this Order?
  3. If the answer to 2. above is 'Yes', what is the detailed breakdown of future costs the Council anticipates incurring in pursuing this Order?
Click any of the following links for more information:
Previous articles on this topic under The Walking Blog

1 comment:

  1. Only too happy to continue to share it with considerate cyclists but to include this FOOTpath as part of a designated cycle route will only make those with a mission believe they have some divine right or priority entrusted upon them