UEA Sports Facility Colney Lane – Objection by Norwich Cycling Campaign

Planning Application No 2016/0233

UEA Sports Facility Colney Lane Colney Norfolk - Objection by Norwich Cycling Campaign
UEA Sports Facility Colney Lane Colney Norfolk – Objection by Norwich Cycling Campaign

The planning application 2016/0233 includes proposals that are fundamentally detrimental to a part of the “core cycle network” identified in the Norwich Area Transport Strategy 2006. Currently there is a pleasant tree lined, child safe, off-road cycle route linking the UEA with the Norwich Research Park and Colney Lane towards the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. These proposals create unsafe junctions with the rest of the network and do not enhance cycling and walking in this important commuter and leisure area. The Application also includes proposals for vehicular use, roads, car parks, buildings and enclosures that detract seriously from the visual amenity of the route’s surroundings. The route is part of the eight mile Norwich Pink Pedalway which central government funding contributed £5.7 million for improvements in 2014.

This proposal is contrary to the following policy statements:
The Greater Norwich Joint Core Strategy Policy 6 says that developments of this scale should include “significant improvements to the bus, cycling and walking network”. This proposal offers no improvements for cycling despite being part of the most heavily used cycle route in Norfolk, to and from some of the largest employers but instead seriously undermines its attractiveness to and the safety of its users.

South Norfolk Development Management Policies Document DM3.10 states that all development should “utilise all opportunities to integrate with local sustainable transport networks, be designed to reduce the need to travel and to maximise forms of transport appropriate to the location.” This planning statement submitted by the applicants quotes the cycle network as being an asset to the area but then makes proposals that we believe will significantly reduce the network’s effectiveness and attractiveness DM4.5: this policy identifies this area as a visually sensitive area and states that developments in the river valley must “respect, conserve and enhance”. The loss of trees, the overbearing scale of the development, the large car parks and intrusive growth of vehicle movements, all conflict with this policy.

The UEA Travel Plan 2015 does not allow for the 208 new parking spaces in this proposal to be made available during weekdays for staff and students.

In this context Norwich Cycling Campaign makes the following objections to the proposals:


Objection 1

Norwich Cycling Campaign objects to the destruction of an existing section of the Norwich Pink Pedalway, and the proposed replacement by an  incomplete cycleway of a design that is defective and dangerous.

In particular:
(i) The cycleway is on road and two way “Two way [on road] cycle lanes are not generally recommended, because they are confusing to motorists” (Local Transport Note 2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design para.7.9.1 page 40.)

(ii) The width is only 2m. This would be a minimum for an off-road cycleway and is quite inadequate for a two-way route immediately adjacent to motorised vehicles.

(iii) At either end of the section the two-way cycleway is returned to the road without any clear arrangements for how cyclists, motorists, mobility scooter users and pedestrians are to cope with this confusing situation – a recipe for accidents.
There is no connection of this cycle path with the Colney Road path. A cyclist travelling west along the new cycle way going to the NNUH is on the wrong side of the carriageway and forced into the path of a vehicle turning into this access road. The present connecting strip to the off road shared path alongside Colney Lane is removed and there is no access except by using the access road junction.
There is no consideration for cycling and walking across the access road where it re-joins the current shared path over the river.

(iv) The reliance on a marking on the access road is inadequate. “Two way cycle [on road] lanes should generally be separated from other traffic lanes by means such as a kerb. If separation is not adequately provided, the arrangement may be confusing to motorists, especially at night” (Local Transport Note 2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design para.7.9.1 page 40.)
(v) There are no safeguards against the cycleway being used as a parking bay by those attending the sports ground, with attendant dangers of cyclists having to come out into the traffic to get around parked cars.

(vi) There is no speed limit indicated.

These deficiencies mean that the route will no longer be safe for many of its users, particularly those who are young and inexperienced. The proposals are in direct conflict with the Government’s aim to encourage cycling, and in particular with the funding that has been provided to improve other parts of the Pink Pedalway. They are also contrary to the UEA Travel Plan that seeks to promote sustainable travel by a modal shift away from car use. (University of East Anglia Sustainable Traffic Plan 2015-2020 Version 3 January 2016.)

Provide a good quality, off-road cycleway which connects safely with the cycleway on the Colney Road and with the track to the UEA, and which meets at least the Transport for London standards of good practice in cycleway design.

A footpath across the site to the roundabout is to be provided, with a small investment this could provide a route for cycling too, thus ‘enhancing’ facilities in the area and reducing conflict between cyclists and the increased number of pedestrians using the whole route at peak time, arising from the car-parking within the site.


Objection 2

Norwich Cycling Campaign objects to the degrading of the visual amenity of a section of the pink pedalway by the present proposals.

In particular:

(i) The removal of trees lining the route with no indication of compensatory planting

(ii) The destruction of a free open view of the existing sports fields with a backdrop of woodland in the vicinity of the river. The proposals will obstruct the view by cars, car parks, a stadium and enclosures and create a view more in keeping with a light industrial development.

(iii) The absence of a scheme for landscaping and planting to alleviate the damage to the views in this sensitive area.

The damage done by these proposals would greatly decrease the attractiveness of this route for all cyclists, and particularly for recreational users. The construction of the car parks and their proposed use by UEA staff is contrary to the UEA travel plan, which seeks a modal shift to sustainable forms of transport. The UEA Travel Plan points to its success in reducing permanent parking spaces from more than 2500 to about 1560 in the period 2002 to 2014 (University of East Anglia Sustainable Traffic Plan 2015-2020 Version 3 January 2016 Para. 1.14)

Part Solution:

  • Relocate the pavilion and parking to a site near Colney Lane and adapt the plan to retain the tree-lined cycleway.
  • Provide a comprehensive programme of landscaping and planting.
  • See also solution to objection 5 below, which applies here.

Objection 3

Norwich Cycling Campaign objects to the change of use of this site by introducing a large number of car parking spaces both at the edge and within the site, creating a large number of vehicle movements with inadequate provision for safe access and circulation of pedestrians and cyclists. It proposes to build 208 spaces for use by the UEA during weekdays which is contrary to the UEA Travel Plan. Additionally there is an increase from 33 to 88 pay and display parking spaces. There is no rationale given for these extra pay and display spaces.

Parking spaces should be placed near the access road, except for people with disabilities, to reduce vehicle movements across the site. There should be no extra parking spaces for commuting as the impact of this will conflict with pedestrians and cyclists using this route especially at busy times.


Objection 4

Norwich Cycling Campaign objects to the absence of provision for cyclists in the Colney Lane Site Access Plan, where the cycleway on Colney Road crosses the access road.

In particular:

(i) There is no provision to make motorised vehicle users aware of the Colney Lane cycleway that crosses the junction. Some of the users will be from visiting clubs and not familiar with the junction.

(ii) Motorists, as they enter the access road, will be confronted by cyclists crossing the road from the proposed new cycleway towards the existing one.

Make a complete and segregated two-way cycle path across the whole site and joining Colney Lane with a raised table to alert motorists to Colney Lane cycleway and act as a solution to Objection 1 above. Complete the cycle lane to join up with the bridge over the Yare and give priority to vehicles on the site, to enhance this route and to acknowledge the increase in pedestrian traffic that this development will produce at peak times.


Objection 5

Norwich Cycling Campaign objects to the proposals as being contrary to SNDC’s Site Specific Allocations Plan for Colney which states “as part of the JCS the Yare Valley is identified as a key Green Infrastructure corridor with the aim of improving access to the valley”

The present proposals increase the hazards of access to the valley by non-motorised users, and do irreparable damage to the attractiveness of this part of the Yare Valley as a recreational destination for the general public.

Relocate the stadium, enclosure, and car parking to an area nearer Colney Lane, to a less prominent area and also reducing conflict with walking and cycling routes.

Norwich Cycling Campaign thanks South Norfolk District Council in anticipation of a serious consideration of these objections