Our petition with 1700 signatures, both paper and electronic, in favour of the proposed New Malden to Raynes Park Mini Holland Cycling and walking route was debated at the Council meeting on Tuesday 13 October at 7.30pm, members of the public attended.
The petition in opposition to the route was also presented. After so many arguments had been raised in opposition the “Antis” confined themselves to one point. They argued the proposed route was a “wildlife valley” and this was not compatible with cycling and walking (or “fast” cycling, as they saw it). The area is not a nature reserve but a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). It is common for cycling to be allowed in SINC’s and for these areas to have cycle routes through them; they’re often ideal for family cycling.
Parts of the Wandle trail, Morden Hall Park and Hogsmill trail are all SINCs and all are also cycle routes. Therefore this does seem a bit of a non point. As we’ve always said low impact transport like cycling and walking is certainly compatible with a favourable ecology and environment for wildlife; in fact sometimes it can enhance it.
Eight Councillors spoke and, with the possible exception of one, all appeared to be in favour of the route, in principle, at least. More worrying, perhaps, is the position of Thames Water. Perfectly reasonably RBK want to wait for Thames Water to replace/repair their pipes before constructing the route but Thames Water are saying it could be 18 months to 2 years before they can undertake the work.
There is obviously a concern as to how this affects the project. We trust RBK can secure funding from TfL, conditional on Thames Water’s works, and/or hurry Thames Water along so this excellent route can be built as quickly as possible. It really is important that this opportunity is not wasted and this key route, linking the Mini Holland routes to Central London via the Quietway is not lost.
Please keep signing the petition, every signature helps make the route more likely to happen;