Cycle path and improved pedestrian access proposed for St Cloud Way development

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk

Plans have been unveiled to add a new cycle path in Maidenhead and improve accessibility for residents to the town centre.

At a Local Access Forum yesterday (Monday), residents and councillors heard proposals connected with the controversial St Cloud Way development to create a ‘missing link’ cycle path as well as improvements to access from the former Magnet site including the creation of a crossing on the A4.

The new route, a four-metre-wide path shared by pedestrians and cyclists, plans to connect Kidwells Park to the former Magnet Leisure Centre car park, and would take users through the site of the former Tenpin Bowling building.

The route would then join on to Holmanleaze and head north, before taking users through an existing cut-through which would be widened to allow cyclists and pedestrians to safely access Blackamoor Lane.

Ben Dawson, presenting the proposal on behalf of Countryside, said: “The route that we’re proposing follows an east to west alignment through the site and looks to really take advantage of the key public realm that’s looking to be provided as part of the scheme.

“The route as it goes through the site is proposed to be shared; it will be, for the most part, segregated from any vehicle use bar from occasional refuge collection vehicles, but it won’t be open to general traffic at all.”

He added that a separate pedestrian footway, cycle parking spaces and rest spaces would be available, and highlighted that the deviations in the route would prevent cyclists from travelling at high speed.

Construction of the path would depend on approval of development of the former Magnet site.

This has been controversial, with a petition against the plans amassing more than 1,700 signatures. One of the key concerns is the closure of the footbridge over the A4 potentially reducing access to the town.

Thames Valley Police had also emphasised crime concerns over increased usage of the underpass if the footbridge was to be demolished.

However, Mr Dawson said that pedestrian access to the town centre from the site would be improved, with artwork, better lighting and CCTV helping to make the underpass a more ‘inviting route’.

A new pedestrian crossing has also been proposed on St Cloud Way, with an agreed approach with the council to take advantage of the existing traffic signals at the bottom of Holmanleaze and the entrance to Hines Meadow car park.

The crossing would see the installation of a new pedestrian crossing and traffic lights returning on the eastbound section of the A4, and an additional crossing with the existing signals in the other direction.

In response to the presentation, Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray) said: “I am delighted to see the positive way Countryside is now approaching what, for me, has been a major issue.

“Wearing my cabinet member hat for Maidenhead, I’ve had two major concerns with this development; one, how do the new residents easily get into the centre of town, especially at night, because the bridge is not at all suitable for anyone with any mobility issues.

“It’s a very dangerous, dark area when you get over the far side – I wouldn’t like to be there at night.”

He added that the underpass was also not a safe area at night and labelled the proposed changes as ‘tremendous’.

“For me, the crossing is the only answer to the future,” he added. "But it’s not just the new people who are coming in, we have a very large group, the worshippers at the mosque, who have traditionally parked in the area of the Magnet, and obviously they don’t have that.

“Now that we’re moving much closer to putting in a proper crossing, it’s going to meet the needs of the community, so thank you for moving in that direction.”

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