Cornwall Council will be investing in vital road safety works in Launceston over the next two years. These will include a new crossing for pedestrians somewhere between St Thomas Road and Newport Square, safety works on Dutson Road and a new crossing on Western Road.
This is great news and reflects the hard work put in by local campaigners including the town council.
One of the key debates at today's full council meeting was on the new Local Transport Plan. At around 200 pages, it was certainly the lengthiest item on today's agenda.
A local transport plan is a requirement from the Government and the main document looks at the next 30 years or so. As such, it does tend to a bit of the 'motherhood and apple pie' tendency in that anything is possible in the next 30 years and it is possible to promise the earth knowing that it will be someone else who has to take the rap for failure to deliver.
But the document is nonetheless welcome. It is accompanied by an implementation plan which covers the next five years and is very cautious. It says that most improvements have to be concentrated in areas to the West and have to make best use of Convergence Funding. But there are still a few bits of good news for Launceston including those detailed above.
The safety works on 'Newport Road' (by which I assume and hope they mean the lower end of Dutson Road) are scheduled for the new financial year. So too is the new pedestrian crossing at Newport. This could simply mean including a pedestrian phase at the current Newport traffic lights or it could mean a completely new crossing close to it. The Western Road crossing is scheduled for a year later - in 2012/13 - and will complete the improvements necessary to allow pedestrians to get from Ridgegrove or St Stephens to the centre of town safely.
The new plan is not perfect, however. There is no mention of the Kensey Valley Relief Road or the by-pass needed to take traffic away from Newport altogether. There is also a pledge to invest £600,000 in electric vehicle infrastructure at a time when the technology doesn't allow an electric car to go from Launceston to Truro and back without an 8 hour recharge. I think this sort of thing is better delayed a few years so that the money can be spent on more immediate priorities.
But the overall plan is a good one and I'd like to thank Cabinet Member Cllr Graeme Hicks who came to Launceston to see the problems for himself and has acted on them.