Colchester FoE started the huge campaign to try to prevent the publicly-owned Colchester bus station site being built on and the bus station being unsuitably resited in the redevelopment planned for the St Botolph's area of the town. The Bus Users group and Save Our Bus Station joined the battle to no avail.
We have been vocal in our support for public transport and campaigned against removing the bus lane from North Hill. The loss of this has caused bus journey times to lengthen and the withdrawal of the extended bus link to Colchester Hospital from Mersea and Brightlingsea. The Mersea bus no longer goes to North Station during the daytime as it always used to.
In the past we have promoted public transport, including the Braintree to Stansted rail link, when we appeared at the public inquiries opposing the proposed major new A120 and A130 road schemes. These were environmentally-devastating sections of the future 'Outer M25' which FoE predicted in the Observer in 2003.
The long fight to try to save the ancient bluebell woods at Rettendon on the route of the proposed A130 included the longest underground tunnel occupation in the world - forty days and forty nights.
At Colchester2020's event in Castle Park on 24th June 2010, we lobbied for a car-free High St. (as promised years ago) instead of the "pedestrianised" arrangements that the Conservatives prefer. The Gazette printed an article the next day, with a photo of Paula Whitney, Peter Lynn, Edmund Chinnery and Susan Francis holding a banner promoting the car-free High Street. A letter from Paula subsequently appeared in the Standard, with another photo taken at that event, of Paula with a placard defending the bus station.
- Article in Gazette: Green Group Urges Speedy Ban on Cars -- 25/6/10 (large .JPG image)
- Letter in Standard: The bus users are owed an apology -- 2/7/10 (large .JPG image)
- Carfree High Street, sent to the Standard 18th March 2012; a similar letter appeared in the Gazette on 16th March under heading 'Permit delivery vans in High Street, but ban cars at 8am'.
- Carfree High Street and carfree travel!, sent to Gazette, 26th March 2012
Cycle Colchester is promoting a new route into town for cyclists approaching along Lexden Road. It involves a cycle by-pass at the junction with Rawstorn Road, the pavement on the south side of Crouch Street West being a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists, and cyclists being directed through the underpass to Crouch Street East (alongside everyone who uses it already); the cycle route runs east from the underpass with shared use with large numbers of pedestrians.
It then continues at the same level as the pavement between the pavement and the car parking, causing conflict with pedestrians, car users and restricting the bus users who have to cross the road to get to the bus stops. These bus users include many students trying to get home after college or school. The road is narrowed, restricting the unloading of vans, which has now been complained about by the local businesses. This also narrows the important one-way route for the buses.
A "consultation" took place in November 2010, to which we put in a formal objection, and work started in February 2011.
We objected to the plan on the grounds that:
the route is confusing and the shared paths put pedestrians at risk from cycles and cyclists at risk from car traffic;
there is already a designated cycle route, part of National Cycle Route 1, from Crouch Street West to the town centre via Rawstorn Road and the footbridge, which needs better signage, and is missing from the "Information leaflet and questionnaire" provided;
specific points on the proposed route cause problems, as listed in our letter of response.
On 18th June 2009, there was a bike race in the town centre in the evening. The main road circuit around town was closed all day, to all traffic including buses, and used for cycle-related activities. This created access problems for bus users (and also for pedestrians; there were gaps in the barriers for crossing points, but they weren't all wheelchair/pram/etc. accessible).
See our letter of 15th June 2009 below.
Following FoE's 'Get Serious' campaign to persuade councils to commit to a 40% cut in climate change gases by 2020, CFoE decided to home in on transport in Colchester.
See our letters below.
- Improve bus station to give Vaf a boost, Gazette 13 May 2010
- Park and ride will not reduce pollution, Gazette 1 Apr. 2010 (also in Standard and EADT)
- Vital to support bus use, Standard 9 Oct. 2009
- Let's get the terminology right as well as the right solution to the High Street, sent to the Standard 30 June 2009
- Buses as important as bikes?, Gazette 15 June 2009
There are two versions of the proposal for a new access road to Philip Morant School, both of which are very environmentally damaging and would destroy the safe routes to school; the second proposal also crosses part of the former allotments.
We are supporting the Irvine Road Area Residents' Association in objecting to both proposals.
Page updated 9/4/12