Yesterday I blogged on the great new cafe at the Brewery Bridge well today a bit of an update on some canal issues. This blog covers the Brewery windows, a brief update re vulnerable users and the path at Capel Mill.
Several people raised with me that they were surprised to see that the windows had not been cleared of rubble or plants before the water was returned to the canal (see photo attached). I have asked the Canal Manager as surely the water will make any future work more difficult? It would be slightly strange if the brewery part of the new 'Brewery Bridge' was the only part not to be restored.
The District Council said something along the lines of that the contract was let by the County Council and thus was not under their control. They note that they did manage to secure access for the volunteers early in the contract, to remove a large quantity of Victorian bricks, but doing so caused quite a few problems! They share concerns regarding the windows, but there was simply insufficient funding available; restoration of the wall was deleted from the contract very early on. Nonetheless, they are looking at possible solutions, which might involve excavating behind the wall to allow access. So all is not lost.
Vulnerable Road Users.
I recently covered the issue of the new Brewery Bridge on this blog and have to say I am still very frustrated by the developments there. My comments based on the work by the campaign group and County councillor Sarah Lunnon, include:
The Stroud Pedestrian and Cycle Forum and others have long raised concerns about the lack of improvement for pedestrians using the junction - the new underpass is one route but not sufficient. I have to say I am also concerned that this key entrance into Stroud seems to be designed for cars and not other users in mind. The road outside the Stroud and Swindon building has also been extended to take up an even bigger area. Can we be reassured that there will be real consultation over the road outside the Visitors Centre: as noted by many this could be a useful cycle and pedestrian entrance that is far more welcoming. Traffic going through there either way would be a disaster. In a brief poll at the visitors Centre and a few people at the cafe there was not one person in favour. It was also mentioned that the disabled access to the Visitors Centre that is planned will not be much use without disabled parking outside - again that huge area of tarmac near the roundabout has potential.
As a gateway to Stroud this is a sensitive area - as recognised in the Public Realm Strategy adopted by the County Council. One person in the visitors centre said they had heard that the through road will be opened again. I am very concerned that we will loose the opportunity to improve this site. I would support those who have recommended that an independent body with experience in reconciling the use of public places for vehicles and pedestrians is commissioned to undertake a study of the junction. They could provide some simple, easy to implement measures that will improve safety of junction for pedestrians and cyclists - and provide a public realm that benefits the gateway to Stroud Town and the Canal and enable vulnerable users of the junction better access.
The District have noted the issues are highway matters in which the canal team cannot become involved, though they note that they understand the issues raised. I have also raised the issue with GCC but am still waiting a reply.
Path route further down near Newtons Way.
Lastly for this blog I've had comments regarding the replacement path being not straight and therefore feeling less safe to people walking it. The Canal Manager at Stroud District Council notes that their understanding is that the 'wiggly' path, being longer, is DDA compliant. Reprofiling of the site at this point and replanting should mean that it is not as heavily overgrown as at present - but they have asked the project engineer to recheck these assumptions and to look at any simpler alternatives. They will come back to me when they have some better information.
Lastly if you have not been down the the Canal Visitors Centre then do go - it has a wealth of information - andgreat knowledgeable people to talk to plus a a walk around the area that includes peeping through a hole into the Millikens factory.