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Thread: Access Issue in Cambridge

  1. #1
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    Default Access Issue in Cambridge

    Cambridge City Council are proposing to obstruct access to the River Cam at Garret Hostel Lane, Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 1TJ.



    Details of the planning application are here. Although the newspaper article was only yesterday, the formal consultation period has already ended. However since the planning meeting to consider the proposal has not yet happened I think there is still time to object if you email it directly to applicationsupport@cambridge.gov.uk

    I have objected on the basis that, whilst the problem with nuisance touts and unlicenced punts may need dealing with, a solution that reduces access to the river for the public at large is disproportionate and against the overall public interest.
    Keith

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    They are using Health & Safety as a reason for the rails being installed but have not allowed a gate to load boats in a safe manner, therefore the purpose is clearly to restrict access to boats dressed up as a H&S issue. If it was purely H&S they would have made provision to safely load the boats. A dishonest application in my opinion, by the council too, who would believe it.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    A dishonest application in my opinion, by the council too, who would believe it.
    Yep councils are never dishonest.......

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    It would be useful to establish whether or not this is public highway. If it is then, irrespective of whether or not planning consent is granted there are very restrictive limitations for installing gates or barriers under highways law. Basically it would need to be within the provisions of Highways Act 1980 S66 and could only be justified under public safety provisions. Additionally the barrier could only be installed by the Highway Authority which I understand is Cambridgeshire County Council, not the City Council. Furthermore the barrier would have to remain the property and liability of the County Council. I would think that the first port of call should be the County Council to ask if the land is public highway. If it is the second question should be whether or not there is a history of safety ocurrances that warrants such intervention and thirdly whether or not a safety audit has been carried out and how this location compares to comparable riverside highways in the rest of the city.
    Mike

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    I don't quite see the problem Keith. They are not proposing to block off the slipway, just put railings along the edge of the stone quay alongside it. Would you not be launching from the slipway? Should have thought the railings would be quite useful to hold onto while getting in and out.
    (I used to live near Cambridge)

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    As one who has been in and around Cambridge for 40 years I do not see this as a major issue as the slipway will still be open. What they are proposing is a bollard fence along the walkway to the side of the slip. Presently punt wars have broken out at this point and it all got a bit nasty and the Council are trying to resolve. It is also a slight H&S issue as many have slipped off the walkway into the river. A suitable compromise would be to put a gate in so that a disabled person could easily be loaded onto a punt from the side as from memory, this is the only access to the Cam without steps.

    The City are not obstructing or removing access just making bits safer. Traffic restrictions in the City are such that you would struggle to get a car there without a hefty penalty as if you are in Garratt Hostel Lane in a car you shouldn't be there!
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    Blott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blott View Post
    As one who has been in and around Cambridge for 40 years I do not see this as a major issue as the slipway will still be open. What they are proposing is a bollard fence along the walkway to the side of the slip. Presently punt wars have broken out at this point and it all got a bit nasty and the Council are trying to resolve. It is also a slight H&S issue as many have slipped off the walkway into the river. A suitable compromise would be to put a gate in so that a disabled person could easily be loaded onto a punt from the side as from memory, this is the only access to the Cam without steps.

    The City are not obstructing or removing access just making bits safer. Traffic restrictions in the City are such that you would struggle to get a car there without a hefty penalty as if you are in Garratt Hostel Lane in a car you shouldn't be there!
    The mind boggles, just what is a punt war???
    Happy paddling ,
    Rob.


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    http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Camb...ail/story.html

    It has been going on for a few years now. The established punt hire firms had their pitches and others tried to muscle in using public access areas then all hell let loose. Fights, punts allegedly chain sawed, cut loose, sunk with concrete blocks. All good fun for the observers. The tour touts were getting a bit heavy; at one stage I was contemplating getting a t shirt printed up stating " Don't even ask, I live here" !!
    Get Paddling!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blott View Post
    http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Camb...ail/story.html

    It has been going on for a few years now. The established punt hire firms had their pitches and others tried to muscle in using public access areas then all hell let loose. Fights, punts allegedly chain sawed, cut loose, sunk with concrete blocks. All good fun for the observers. The tour touts were getting a bit heavy; at one stage I was contemplating getting a t shirt printed up stating " Don't even ask, I live here" !!
    I witnessed some of that when I paddled that section in 2013. However this is a public slipway and quay that has been used freely by the public for long enough to have become a public right of way, if the council want to close it they should do it openly with full public involvement. Using a planing application to achieve it's effective closure is not in the public interest. If they can do it how many of our other launch sites around the country could go the same way?

    I think a punt for the warden equipped with an old fashioned punt gun may help sort out the troublemakers.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    If you check the planning application, there is a drawing which shows the extent of the work and photos of the existing slipway. The slipway is unaffected but there is a path which is described as a quay which one could easily slip off. It looks like a nonsense for a H&S issue but it would not affect access to the river.

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    I have sent this:
    "Sirs

    I would like to comment on the proposed fencing of the quay adjacent to the only public slipway on the Cam in Cambridge.

    I am a disabled person, but regularly take part in boating activities on the river Thames.

    The whole point of a quayside, such as at Garret Hostel Lane is to be able to embark/disembark more easily. In order for someone such as I, who am unable to cope with steps, easily to access this pursuit, it is vital that barriers to access are minimised, not introduced. Fencing it in would make the process more difficult, or even impossible, as one would have to climb OVER the fence.

    I trust this application will be rejected."
    Fran

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    I have today received a letter from Cambridge City Council notifying me that I am eligible to speak at the Planning Committee meeting on 1st April!
    Fran

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fran View Post
    I have today received a letter from Cambridge City Council notifying me that I am eligible to speak at the Planning Committee meeting on 1st April!
    I have to ask why??

    After paddling past this on Blotts tour of Cambridge, there is no issues with what they are planning.

    I think all you lot have blown this way out of proportion, and have probably never even been to the spot before making the objection
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe.ford View Post
    I have to ask why??
    The reason why is that there is an important principal at stake here, I first walked over this bridge about 40 years ago and as far as I can recall the quay was just as it is today. It has been used by the public for possibly 100+ years!, there are very few access points on that section of the river so any restriction to this one is important. The council are proposing making the quay unusable on the pretence of H&S issues, if it is unsafe they should make it safe but still fully usable, they are planning to block the quay and make it unusable. The council have a duty to ensure that all rights of way are kept open and that any obstruction either blocking a right of way or intimidating people into not use them is removed, here the council are doing just that. If there is a problem requiring restricting or removing a right of way they should do it properly with a public enquiry, not by this back door method. The reason you can not see a problem is probably because you had no need to use it, if your local council did the same on your favorite launch site I would expect you opinion to differ.

    Here is an example of a footpath not being blocked as such but gates being put in place to intimidate walkers, the principal is similar.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...00-battle.html
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post

    Here is an example of a footpath not being blocked as such but gates being put in place to intimidate walkers, the principal is similar.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...00-battle.html

    This is irrelevant as access is not being blocked! All they are doing is putting a little fence up so the stupid tourists don't fall in while taking photographs.

    access to the slipway will be unaffected, not that it matters as you can't even drive your car into Cambridge to launch your canoe from that spot anyway (unless you want a stupidly long portage)
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe.ford View Post
    This is irrelevant as access is not being blocked! All they are doing is putting a little fence up so the stupid tourists don't fall in while taking photographs.
    Use of the quay is being blocked, this will restrict access for people less able than yourself. Not everyone will be wearing paddling boots to wade in or they may be disabled and need to sit on the quay to get into the boat. People live in Cambridge and may wish to launch from here or just to stop as they are paddling past. You are missing the point, this is an established public access point and it should not be restricted or blocked without full public consultation, not via a planning application.

    If they put gates in the fence there would not be a problem, ask yourself why if it was only to stop photographers falling in don't they put gates in it. The reason is to stop punts using it, if they have problems with the punts deal with the punts not the public access.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe.ford View Post
    All they are doing is putting a little fence up so the stupid tourists don't fall in while taking photographs.
    Do you have any stats on how many "stupid" tourists have actually fallen in to justify this level of "protection"? I understand canoeists sometimes fall in on this river. What measures will be proposed next to protect them from these intolerable risks?
    Keith

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    I was bad........................................
    Last edited by joe.ford; 22nd-March-2015 at 04:44 PM.
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    This quote is from Cambridge Councils own advice for planning applications, lets hope they follow it!

    A resource: Public rights of way are an important resource to communities which should be actively protected and enhanced in partnership through early consideration in the planning process, e.g. through planning-in green infrastructure and sustainable travel. If done well, the quality of developments and local quality of life can be significantly improved. The Asset Information and Rights of Way Teams at the County Council are happy to discuss potential implications before a planning application is submitted.
    http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/dow...ic_path_orders
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    This is a good response from a local organisation who know the area and appreciate the issues probably better than those out of area can or do

    Get Paddling!

    Blott

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    Blott, that document link doesn't work for me.

    Since I'll be on school holidays by April 1st, I am minded to have a jaunt up to Cambridge.
    Fran

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    Doesn't !

    If you look under the documents on the initial application it is the one headed Cambridge Past present and Future. Third Party Comments. Summarises a suitable solution in my book.
    Last edited by KeithD; 23rd-March-2015 at 06:02 PM. Reason: add link
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    Blott

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    They are suggesting lockable gates in the railings. Surely the "lockable" is an important aspect. If it's really just designed to stop people accidentally falling in (have they ever?), this can be achieved without locking them.


    • Do we need to have similar barriers alongside roads to stop people falling in front of the traffic where the consequences are much greater than falling into two feet of water?
    • Who will have the keys?
    • Will members of the public have to find "the keeper of the keys" to open the gates?
    • Are there some members of the public for whom the gates will not be unlocked?


    If the real problem is use by "unlicenced" punts, wouldn't it be better to confiscate the "unlicenced" punts. This has all the hallmarks of total overkill!
    I learnt the smell of bulls*%t a long time ago and this smells just the same. At a time when we are all trying to cut public expenditure, is this really the sort of nonsense we want to spend time and money on?
    Keith

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    It is not only illegal to block a public right of way, it is also illegal to use signs or other means to deter people from using a right of way. The link to a court case I posted at #14 confirms this very point, the gates put up by the land owner were not locked so he did not block the right of way but the fact that the gates were there intimidated people into not using the footpath. The same applies with the councils attitude here, they will deter the use of the quay to such an extent that in the future they will try to close it altogether on the grounds of lack of use.

    Spot on Keith I am further away than you but I am still getting that distinctive smell!!! There are no handrails on any of the official punt landings nor on the locks and river side paths at Jesus Green, the lock is particularly dangerous being next to a park with kids running around. My belief from the start that this is a dishonest application has not changed.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    So it looks like the application was passed, the only alteration was that there should be a gate and that it should be lockable in either the open or closed position. No prizes for guessing in which position it will be in for 99.9% of the time. I suppose the gate is a very minor victory, but I doubt if it will help anyone due to the lock, a typical stitchup as we all expected.
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    Generally I regard a lock barring access on a public right of way as being worthy of a good pair of bolt cutters
    Happy paddling ,
    Rob.


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    A sensible compromise solution in my book and from someone who paddles that stretch regularly over the years and who has never had to use the slipway at Garret Hostel Lane simply because you cant get access to it from the City due to traffic restrictions.
    Get Paddling!

    Blott

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blott View Post
    A sensible compromise solution in my book and from someone who paddles that stretch regularly over the years and who has never had to use the slipway at Garret Hostel Lane simply because you cant get access to it from the City due to traffic restrictions.
    It's the principal that's more important, the next one they want to restrict could be the one you use all the time!!!
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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