A new public path being installed as part of the recently opened industrial unit for Rhenus Logistics in Nuneaton, built by Baytree Logistics Developments, has a section just approximately 1.6m wide. That already very narrow width is compounded by railings flanking both sides of the path reducing the effective width, and chicane-style barriers which present as an obvious accessibility issue.
This path is supposed to form part of a key foot and cycle link between (and beyond) the new Yew Tree Meadows estate on the other side of the canal (under construction) and this new industrial site. So, whatever happened to accessibility and design standards?
Have a look and see what you think in this video (transcript below).
Hello, Bicycle Ben here, and in this video I’m over at the Coventry Canal on the outskirts of Nuneaton, standing on a bridge over that canal, that links between the new Rhenus Logistics site that has gone up fairly recently, in the last number of months, and the new housing development that’s going in off Gipsy Lane. This is the Yew Tree Meadows development; a long way to go with this development, as you can see. The main road, Gipsy Lane, is just beyond the new row of houses that you can see just going up and that marks the boundary of this very large site.
This bridge is going to form the link between that housing estate and the industrial unit – or business unit, however you want to describe it – on the other side, and sites beyond it of course as well. So, quite an important link, this one.
It’ll be an off-road cycle link, so no motor traffic going along here which is nice, on an existing bridge. So, this has been here for a long time. It used to form the farmland link across the canal. So, a bit of a constraint, I suppose in a way, in terms of walking and cycling infrastructure. But we’ve got three-and-a-half metres of width approximately, maybe a smidge more between the two walls.
But then if you look at the stub of path that’s gone in for the Rhenus Logistics site, we can see we have a problem. This path is roughly 1.6-1.7 metres wide – it’s hard to get precise digital measurement because of the fence that’s in front – but we’ve also got the uprights on either side, the fencing, that narrows the effective width of that stub of path even further. And we’ve got the chicane barriers that have been installed for no good reason there as well. So quite a restriction, quite a pinch point for people walking and cycling through here.
It’s only small of course, it’s a short stub out to the main path that runs to the left and to the right there. That itself is only about three metres wide but that’s obviously just under twice what we’ve got with this particular path. But still, I don’t see any reason why we had to have such a narrow bit of infrastructure installed here.
On the main path over there as well we do have a problem with a gate, a secure barrier, which we’ll get to in a bit.
But sticking with the bridge we’ve also got this path that goes down to the water’s edge. I’m not quite sure what the benefit of that is because the towpath is on the other side. So, I don’t know where that’s actually going. We’ve got a new path, as you can see, so that doesn’t link up with this little slope. So, I’m not sure what the purpose of that is other than a bit of leisure just to get down to the water’s edge. But I don’t see why that path has to come up to the bridge here, effectively splitting the availability of the width of the bridge, and meaning we have to have this very narrow stub of path. If that ramp wasn’t there then we’d have more space to widen out that access.
But talking about this gate – I don’t understand the purpose of this gate. As you can see, I can get to the other side. It was a roughly 15 minute loop to get here just from the turnover bridge where you can see I was standing, to where I’m standing now. So, it’s not securing the site, it’s just stopping people using it as a through access. I don’t understand the purpose of that. If you’re going to secure the site here, what even is the point of the path? I do wonder if it maybe, potentially, is temporary. But it doesn’t look very temporary at the moment. It looks pretty heavy duty and pretty permanent. So, I don’t know what’s going on there.
The path as it goes on into the distance here, rather than turning right to the bridge, if you go straight on, the path does loop around to Coventry Road or around that area. I haven’t seen where it actually links onto Coventry Road, if indeed it does link onto Coventry Road and whether it will do. There’s also a possibility it will link to an underpass that gets you through to a local branch line station, but I’ve yet to see that. Obviously, the path isn’t accessible or open yet.
But the path behind me – which I think we’ll just pan around to now – that is perfectly open, perfectly accessible. There’s nothing to say you can’t come down here. There’s nothing saying it’s private. There’s nothing that’s saying “no public access”. So, I’ve just come down here to the other side of the gate and it’s all fine. So, I don’t understand why we have that gate. And this path takes you down to Coventry Road which then gets you to the Griff roundabout and to other nearby industrial units or the route into Bedworth as well. So, it would be quite an important route, this path. If it is secured and it’s permanently secured, then we have a bit of a problem with it.
As I say, the path here is a smidge under three metres wide, three metres being the minimum desirable width for a shared use space. So, it’s disappointing that the developers haven’t managed to quite hit that. It’s especially disappointing because there’s plenty of space for more width along this particular route. Three-and-a-half metres presumably would have been possible had the developer been so minded to provide that, but they haven’t. Okay, it’s not worth quibbling over a few centimetres to hit the three metres now, but it would have been nice to have the standards met.
Thanks very much for watching. I’ll keep an eye on what’s going on with this path over time, of course, as it develops. If you want to keep up to date with what’s going on there as well, then you can follow me on all the socials. That’s fiets.uk/links where you can find all the links to the socials. And as always, if you found this video useful or interesting and fancy sending a tip my way, then anything is very gratefully received, thank you very much. You can head over to my Ko-fi page, it’s ko-fi.com/bicycleben.
Thanks very much for watching, I’ll catch you next time.