Letters to the Spalding Guardian editor: November 19, 2020
Let’s take inspiration from the Dutch again
Earlier this year the Government launched a £2bn package to encourage cycling and walking by improving facilities for cyclists and pedestrians with the aim of making it easier for people to take up healthier lifestyles. The Active Travel fund not only encourages healthier lifestyle choices, it is also environmentally friendly.
Spalding & District Civic Society welcomes the fact that Lincolnshire County Council has chosen to use some of its initial tranche of £100,000 allocated from the Active Travel fund in Spalding and looks forward to seeing some of the anticipated second tranche of £842,000 being utilised in the district to provide long term improvements to facilities provided for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians.
Among the conditions of the funding is that local authorities should provide more space and facilities for cyclists, including cycle lanes, cycle parking facilities and whole route approaches in creating corridors for buses and cycles and access only on key routes into towns and city centres.
The environmental and health benefits of cycling and walking speak for themselves and as such the Society welcomes the provision of improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians where that provision is currently lacking.
We hope that the County will utilise some of its anticipated second tranche towards the creation of a proper network of cycle routes connecting Spalding town centre with the rest of Spalding, and nearby villages.
The flat landscape of the Fens is often compared with the Netherlands. Indeed, it was the Dutchman Cornelius Vermuyden who contributed significantly to the landscape we have today. Just as we have done in the past with our bulb growing industry, we should again be taking inspiration from the Dutch for whom cycleways separated from roads is the norm.
Since the new cycle stands were installed, they have attracted a mixed reaction that we feel could have been avoided.
The statutory guidance from Central Government issued when the package was announced in Mayrequires local authorities to engage with local stakeholders and seek their input.
Given that South Holland District Councillors seem to have been as just as surprised as the rest of us to find the new cycle stands appearing overnight, it seems that this has not happened in Lincolnshire. Had there been some local consultation, we would like to think that someone might have questioned the obtrusive design and use of the bright green colour in a conservation area.
We note that it has been agreed that a similar stand in Holbeach will be replaced by a more inconspicuous form of bike parking, and hope that the county council might be willing to consider the same course of action for Spalding.
If so, they might also like to ask local cyclists to identify where there is the most need for additional bike parking.
There are a number of options available from the supplier cyclehoop.com that would enhance the town considerably, thereby contributing to the regeneration of the town.
The Society will be happy to work with other stakeholders and Lincolnshire County Council to identify designs and locations that would satisfy all parties.
This would ensure that this particular funding from Central Government delivers the best value for money possible.
John R G Bland
Chair, Spalding & District Civic Society
Race Round The World Challenge
This year has been tough on every single one of us.
Scout Groups across south Lincolnshire are doing their best to help young people gain skills and find their place in the world.
But some groups around the UK have told us they’re struggling to pay their bills and even keep the lights on. We can’t afford for that to happen. We won’t let it.
That’s why we’ve launched an epic new challenge – our Race Round the World.
We’re asking everyone across the area to travel a mile or more (or do a project at home) and get sponsored for it.
Miles will be added to the total and help us get the 43,000 miles around the world.
It’s about a lot of us, doing a little, to make a massive difference.
You can donate directly, or travel a sponsored mile (any way you like) and support us in our mission to save our groups and Race Round the World.
You can sign up in less than a minute at www.scouts.org.uk/raceroundtheworld
This is our moment to show how much we care; to show our solidarity and our friendship.So join me on the startling line for the biggest race of the year.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Importance and wonder of trees
We are being made more and more aware of the necessity of trees in our world and although our area is not known for its woods and forests, there are trees in gardens, on our river banks, lining roads and planted in shopping centres; and of course, Bourne woods are not far away.
One of the wonders of trees is their amazing growth potential. The mighty oaks and limes and delicate flowering cherry all start, or rather continue, their life as a seed no bigger than one’s thumbnail.
They grow sometimes with little or no help from man and yet they support the life and wellbeing of a whole host of creatures great and small, including us.
The trees along our river banks provide a very restful and refreshing scene – the combination of dappled shade and movement of both trees and water give a sense of stability and security as we realise how long the river has taken its course and the trees have grown and flourished on its banks.
In the book of Jeremiah we find these words: ‘Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord – He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when the heat comes for its leaves remain green.
“God who planted trees and people, help us treasure each and all.”
Spalding Baptist Church