Campaign Acts on Cycle Route Closure at The Cop Park

Path Closure by The Cop Park
View of Footpath and Park Entrance Closure

Local cyclists have been caught unawares by the sudden closure of the footpath linking the riverside boardwalk and The Cop Park. This heavily used link has been completely blocked off by contractors working on a building site where the Shropshire Union Canal joins the River Dee.

The path is blocked at both ends with a sign reading that the path will be closed for 12 months from 23rd January 2017. The boarding and fencing also blocks the first entrance into The Cop, forcing cyclists and walkers approaching the site from the west to retrace their route.

As there is no diversion route set up, cyclists are forced to cross the road and use New Crane Street in both directions. Great caution needs to be used as the road is narrow here, and the site is on a bend in the road with a rise over the canal itself, creating visibility problems for both motor vehicles and cyclists.

Overview of Site from North Side of New Crane Street

The Chester Cycling Campaign has been in touch with both Sustrans and Cheshire West and Chester Council regarding the matter. We have also approached the Canal and Rivers Trust regarding the need to preserve the option of a bridge over the canal at this point in the longer term.

Currently the Campaign is trying to arrange a meeting on site with CWaC officers to discuss these various issues in an effort to get the best arrangements for cyclists in both the short term and the longer term. Keep and eye the Campaign website for further updates.

7 Comments

  1. Just wanted to link this photo today, saw a group of older riders going slowly towards this road block of builders and knew they’d be forced to cross. Luckily the traffic stopped to allow them all to cross after one had to hit the brakes: http://imgur.com/asnw0ZC

  2. If you’re coming from the city centre, there’s also a sunken manhole by the hoardings which you need to avoid.

  3. I have at last managed to track (I think) the relevant planning application that is pertinent to this development. It can be found on the CWaC planning site under ref 03/00562/FUL. What I find incredible is that this development (whilst certainly needed to replace an eyesore) appears to be going ahead on the basis of a permission granted in 2003. The associated planning ref 16/01448/DIS has Watkins-Jones Nov 2015 Tracker Sheet (but still referring to the 2003 permission). Clearly, all this pre-dates Chester as a “Cycling City”. Going back to that 2003 permission, I can find one brief unsunstantive mention of wideniing the footpath, but there is no inidication that any consideration is or was given to a continuous off road path along to the Roodee from the Cop.
    Am not sure what, if anything can be done at this stage, but this points up a significant weakness iin the planning system when a permission that is over a decade old can be actioned without seeming re-examination. There appear to have been no consultations outside of those to the statutory authorities in the original application.

    • Yes originally the site was started to be built on around 7 years ago by another company, they placed the foundation beams but then left unfinished. It was around the time the River Dee flooded the Cop and was only 1 ft away from flooding Sealand Road. Perhaps they realised their design was flawed if they had a ground floor. Watkin-Jones started building the student accommodation next to Telfords Warehouse and obviously looked around for other close-by profitable sites, the site managers are the same. I would also point out that the temporary traffic lights set up to allow people to cross the road by “The Wharf” apartments takes much too long to activate (2-4 mins), to the point you are better off crossing on your own. There is also definitely no need for them to block off the footpath leading from the cycle path to Sealand Road with large signs – I’ve seen quite a few older couples having trouble getting around them.

  4. Thanks CCC, I came across this diversion last week at “rush hour”. Quite an inconvenience crossing the road at such a busy time – and I’m a quick confident cyclist. it’s likely to be much more risky for a less experienced cyclist.

  5. A traffic light controled crossing has now been installed to allow person and cyclists to cross New Crane Street from the river to the other side of the road, but not to get around the hoardings,Its not been well planned at all.

  6. Hope your efforts succeed.
    Why was this problem not taken into account by Contractors /Local authority before closure?

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