Cycling campaign group calls for re-think on primary school plans

How Ely's new primary school will look

How Ely's new primary school will look - Credit: Archant

A cycling campaign group says that architects behind plans for Ely’s new primary school have made the ‘same old mistakes’ by focusing on cars over bikes.

The Ely Cycling Campaign has called on Cambridgeshire County Council to rethink plans for its new Isle of Ely Primary School so that more is done to accommodate and encourage cyclists.

The 630-place school is due to welcome its first class in September, but it will share premises with St Mary’s Primary School, in High Barns, until 2015, when it will move into its own building.

The new school is being built in the north of Ely, off Cam Drive, to serve a development of some 1,200 houses which will be built over the next 20 years.

Last week, the county council unveiled its plans for the school for the first time and it is set to feature a purpose built after-school club, 52-place early years facility, outdoor classrooms and sports fields.

Architects Frank Shaw Associates, which put the plans together, labelled them “inspirational”. Up to 130 cycle spaces will be installed but the campaign says that the plans will only encourage people to use their cars, and not to cycle.

The group said: “There are drop-off points all around the school and pedestrians and cyclists have to take their chances in between. Just like pretty much any other school where most people drop their kids off by car because it’s too dangerous to let them walk or cycle.”

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The group also said the plans lack detail about how proposed cycle routes will link with the rest of Ely.

It said: “We have a new school which will be on a major access road to a 3,000-house development, surrounded by car parking drop-off points. No pedestrian crossings, no details of cycle paths connected some non-existant cycle routes.

“Anyone want to predict how most people will take their children to this new school?”

The campaign has proposed that all car drop-off points near the entrance to the school be moved, better segregation be made between cars, pedestrians and cyclists, and more cycle parking spaces be installed along with safe crossing points.

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