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Update from Harborough Transport Action




Our latest news – September 2023



PROGRESS WITH THE LOCAL CYCLING & WALKING INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN (LCWIP) FOR MARKET HARBOROUGH

A meeting was held at the Harborough District Council offices on 21st August with representatives of Leicestershire County Council (LCC, who are leading the LCWIP process for the whole County); Harborough District Council; and the Welland, Arden and Little Bowden Neighbourhood Forums, including three members of HTA: Bob Bellm, Simon Hobbs and Steve Jones.

The meeting was very positive; LCC welcomed our input, including any engagement we have with stakeholders such as schools and businesses. The whole process of preparing the Market Harborough LCWIP is expected to take about 18 months.

The next event is LCC’s Active Travel Forum meeting on 13th September 2023, 6-8pm at County Hall and online. Questions can be submitted in advance, and LCC Active Travel team will answer a selection.

What do you think about local cycling and walking infrastructure?

ON THE BUSES

Leicestershire County Council Passenger Transport Users Group

The County Council has established a Passenger Transport Users Group (PTUG), to replace and expand its former Bus Users Group. Steve Jones from HTA attended its 2nd meeting, online on 7th September, which considered the Government’s Bus Strategy for England (‘Bus Back Better’) plus the County Council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and its Bus Passengers’ Charter. Also discussed were the use and viability of both subsidised and commercial bus services; coordination of timetables between operators; the trade-off between serving villages off the main roads, and end-to-end journey times; unreliability; buses linking with other transport, especially rail; and demand-responsive transport (DRT – flexible dial-a-ride minibus services in rural areas).

PTUG meets twice a year, about two weeks before the County’s Enhanced Partnership Forum meetings for officers, professionals and representatives of passenger transport interest groups. HTA will be represented at the next Enhanced Partnership Forum meeting, on 21st September. The next PTUG meeting is due in March 2024.

Do you use the local buses? Have you used them more since the £2 maximum fare was introduced? Let us have your views on local bus services at harboroughtransportaction@gmail.com.


CATCHING THE TRAIN

Ticket Office Closures

There has been much controversy over the Government-led proposals to close nearly all station ticket offices across England, including ours at Market Harborough. HTA submitted a response to the consultation, run by national watchdog organisation Transport Focus, expressing concern about reduced staffing at the station, the availability of the full range of tickets and other services currently available through the ticket office, possible disadvantage to the elderly and disabled, and the possible reduction in availability to other facilities such as the waiting rooms, toilets and footbridge lifts. Over 500,000 responses have been submitted nationally to the consultation! We now await the outcome.


Withdrawal of the London Day Travelcard

We are also concerned about the announcement on 21st July by Transport for London that it intends to withdraw from the Day Travelcard arrangement with train operators including EMR at Market Harborough. The London Day Travelcard is one of Market Harborough station’s best-selling tickets, giving unlimited tube, bus and tram travel throughout Greater London plus return train from Market Harborough, with no evening peak time restriction. It is popular with day trippers and part-time commuters alike and withdrawing it is a big loss. We agreed to write to Neil O’Brien MP calling for this decision to be reversed.

Do you use London Day Travelcards? Would you be disadvantaged if they were no longer available? If so, please write to our MP, Mr Neil O’Brien OBE, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA, or email neil.obrien.mp@parliament.uk


Electrification

We also agreed to write to Neil O’Brien calling for the full electrification of the main line through to Nottingham and Sheffield to be authorised and funded. Good progress is being made with electrifying the line through Market Harborough, but the present stage will only go as far as Wigston. Though the new bi-mode diesel + electric trains can operate on non-electrified lines, the full benefits of cleaner, greener, quieter and more efficient power can only be realised with full electrification. It has been talked about for decades; it’s time to get it done! Please make your voice heard too.

OTHER

Neighbourhood Forums

We have close links including direct representation on the new Neighbourhood Forums around the town. We have been working with the Little Bowden Neighbourhood Forum on its cycle route survey and we shall undertake similar work with the other Forums as they progress.

Planning Applications

We continue to seek improved cycling and walking provision at two major developments currently going through the planning process. These are the new primary school at the Airfield Farm housing development, which has now been approved, and the proposed Aldi supermarket on the timber yard site between Gores Lane and Rockingham Road.

Liaison with Lutterworth

HTA member Bob Bellm has contacted the Cycling UK rep in Lutterworth. We intend to meet to discuss matters of common interest between the two main towns in Harborough District.

OUR NEXT MEETING

Our next monthly meeting is on Sunday evening 8th October in Harborough.

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