Campaigners claim victory but cyclists unhappy

The matter of cycling on the UK’s delightful promenades has disappeared over the last few months. But just because it’s not summer anymore it doesn’t mean the issue has gone away. And it’s back on the agenda in North Wales this week.

A cycle route which was set to include Llandudno promenade has been stopped thanks to campaigners. But cyclists who had hoped to see the route link with the North Wales coastal cycle path via the prom and the town centre say the council is missing an opportunity to make Llandudno cyclist friendly.

Protest group Save Our Promenade (SOP) are delighted that councillors have agreed with a report to make sure the cycle path from Craig-y-Don to West Shore via Maesdu Road and Bryniau Road does not run along the prom.

Cyclists groups had argued that the track should run from Craig-y- Don paddling pool along the promenade and Gloddaeth Avenue to West Shore. But SOP and land owners Mostyn Estates argued cyclists could endanger pedestrians if the track goes along the prom.

SOP spokesman said in the North Wales Weekly News: "We’re pleased with the outcome and happy that the promenade has been retained as a cycle-free area for the benefits of the residents and thousands of holidaymakers.”

But Neil McKenzie of the Llandudno Safe Cycling group was disappointed with the outcome: "It is disappointing that the council doesn’t seem to have grasped the nettle and used the opportunity to set up a network of cycle paths within the town which would have linked residential areas to schools and the town centre. We should be thinking of the safety and welfare of children who cycle to school not just keen cyclists.”

At a meeting of a county council scrutiny committee this week it was agreed that the route via Craig-y-Don and Maesdu Road be approved in principle to enable officers to prepare detailed plans which will then be displayed in a public exhibition to give residents input into the proposals.

Councillor Philip Evans said the preferred route was also the most cost effective: “At the moment there is funding in place for detailed plans to be drawn up, but no money allocated for constructing the route. The proposed route incorporates stretches already designated for cyclists’ use and this will be an important factor when we look for funding to complete the project.”

Cycling along promenades is a contentious issue, particularly during the summer months, and the law regarding it seems is something of a grey area. Twenty year bans in Bognor Regis and Edinburgh have been lifted, and a ban on cycling along Morecambe’s promenade was lifted two years ago. There have also been recent spats that have seen cyclists banned in Portsmouth and Weymouth.

The CTC have said they would like to see more promenades in the UK open to cyclists and advise local councils to make their decisions with consideration for pedestrians and other users of the area and to look at how it works in other places.