The ‘police station path’

25 06 2010

The main approach to the common from the Ipswich side is via the footpath to the south of the hospital and then across Heath road using the  toucan crossing. From there one goes down Heath Road and onto the common at the tank traps.

The suggested route onto the common from the tank traps is pretty clumsy with a number of sharp bends; it isn’t convenient for cyclists or for pedestrians being beside a busy 40 mph road part of which is dual-carriageway.

A preferable route which has been available for about 6 months until it was blocked under instruction from the commoners’ committee is more direct. Here it is:

The 'police station' path

The entrance to the path is from the neighborhood police station and avoids the busy Heath Road section.

The normal approach to the common along Heath Road

Here are the routes (original route in blue, the ‘police station path’ in red).

proposed route onto Rushmere Common

As well as being shorter the proposed route avoids passing in front of the 2nd tee (which was one of the reasons for the committee objecting to council’s Bridleway proposal).

I had a meeting with a representative from the committee and with the general manager of the club a few days ago to discuss this path which had been partially blocked by a log. They said they objected to the route on the following groungs:

  1. The route round the back of the green was dangerous (Health and safety).
  2. A cyclist had been spotted using the route at high speed causing a danger (Health and safety)
  3. Part of the route was along a path created by the golf club for their members and this was not available for use by the general public
  4. A section of the route had been created without permission
  5. The route exited by the police station which would create a danger of collision with police leaving their car park in a hurry (Health and Safety).

Personally I am not convinced by the above arguments. The antisocial cyclist can be dealt with by some natural ‘traffic calming’ and by sending a photograph to the police if necessary – no need to inconvenience everyone else. I don’t believe any of the ‘health and safety’ concerns would stand up to scrutiny, especially considering the potentially deadly risks from walking beside busy roads (two boys killed on Bishop’s Hill and then two young adults walking beside Foxhall Road).

The following day these impressive logs arrived across the path.

Logs blocking 'the police station path' on Rushmere Common

Cunningly the golf club also resurfaced the golfers’ path around the green on the same day. It will need a bit of rain and rolling before it is firm, but it will then be a fine example of what some of the public paths across the common could be like with a little effort.

Do note that one can still faintly see the new squares of turf to the right of the path in the above picture. Six months ago there was a gorse hedge and a number of mature trees separating the path from the green. The gorse and trees were removed by the golf club with permission from the commoners’ committee and replaced with turf visible in the picture.

The aerial imagery in the picture below clearly shows the line of gorse and trees to the right of the path (shown in red) prior to this work.

With reference to routes across the common generally my local St John’s Ward councilor commented:

I am a bit fed up with the notion that cyclists are perfectly ok doing 90 degree bends and cycling 50 m out of our way here and 50 m out of our way there.

A local cyclist also commented:

The situation as described by Peter has prevailed for at least 10 years to my knowledge.

Personally I would suggest that there is a little more consideration given to the needs of other groups beyond the golfers (who I have no argument with – all the folk I have spoken to have not had a problem with walkers and cyclists as long as they don’t have picnics on the fairways, ride on the greens and drop litter etc!).

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