The campaign to get North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to remove their ban on cycling, scooting and skating along Cromer promenade needs your support one more time.
The council is reintroducing the ban, barely a year after they were pressured into removing it. Once again, they have chosen to act with a total lack of regard for the views of the community.
Please take a few minutes to read this update, and then follow the guidelines below in order to remind NNDC of their responsibility to listen to the opinions of those who actually use the promenade.
Your support is crucial. Thank you.
It is now more than eighteen months since NNDC first banned all cycles, skates and scooters from Cromer promenade. They did so without any community consultation, and by stealth – making no public announcement of the ban, and choosing to erect the signage during the winter, presumably in the hope that nobody would notice.
But we did notice. By July 2013, when a copy of the online petition was delivered to NNDC in it had been signed by more than 350 supporters.
NNDC had been caught out. They backed down, but gradually, and by degrees. They tinkered with the wording on the signage. They even denied on local television news that there had ever been a ban in the first place. It took some time, but eventually all the signs were removed.
There followed almost a year of silence.
But then, on 31 July 2014, NNDC wrote to the campaign, announcing that the ban was being reintroduced and that new signage would be erected.
Over the lifetime of the campaign, NNDC has repeatedly ignored calls for wider consultation. Once again, they have chosen to act without consulting the community.
It gets worse. NNDC deputy leader Rhodri Oliver had assured Cromer Town Council that they would be included in a process of consultation before any action was taken. This did not occur. Consequently, the town council’s Planning Committee plans is inviting Mr Oliver to address a forthcoming meeting, in order to discuss this turn of events.
It seems that the only justification for the decision to reintroduce the ban is a so-called risk assessment report. However, this bears little resemblance to any risk assessment reports you may have seen previously. It contains no data, no citations, no concrete evidence of any kind to support its conclusions. In total, it is less than one page in length. It is hard to see it as anything other than an afterthought, a report designed retrospectively to support a position that had already been adopted.
The campaign urges everybody who signed the petition to send an email to NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick, asking why the council has again decided to bring in the ban, and why they have again chosen to do so without any consultation.
Please send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may of course write in your own words. Alternatively, you can use the draft letter below as the basis for your email. You should feel free to personalise the email according to your own experiences and opinions. Add and subtract to your heart’s content, but, whatever you write, please be polite.
As a signatory of the petition, you will be kept informed of any developments.
Thank you for your time, and for your continuing support of the campaign.
Dear Mr Fitzpatrick,
BAN ON CYCLING, SKATING AND SCOOTING ON CROMER PROMENADE
I write to express my disappointment that North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has decided to reintroduce a ban on cycling, skating and scooting on Cromer promenade, in the absence of any consultation, and despite significant opposition among both residents and visitors.
Why has NNDC chosen to take this course of action? There are many arguments to support the promenade remaining available for all to use and enjoy. Of these, I would draw to your attention the following:
• For the second time in as many years, this ban is being imposed in the absence of any community consultation.
• The ban was first imposed in 2013, some 15 years after the introduction of the bylaw under which it is being activated. NNDC has presented no evidence to suggest that cycling, scooting or skating ever presented a problem to users of the promenade during the preceding 15 years.
• NNDC is ‘cherry picking’ from the bylaw upon which this ban is being imposed. If it wished to be consistent, then skates and scooters would be permitted, as these are not mentioned in the bylaw. Cycles would be prohibited, but then so too would all motor vehicles. The bylaw is clearly no longer appropriate, if ever it was, and needs to be completely overhauled.
• NNDC has no plans in place to police the ban. Any law or regulation that cannot or will not be enforced is, by definition, a bad one.
• Rules and regulations prohibiting antisocial behaviour already exist. We do not require another rule solely for the purposes of prohibiting antisocial behaviour by people using cycles, scooters and skates on the promenade.
• The promenade offers great opportunities for us to share our public resources responsibly and respectfully, and to teach our children a vital lesson by showing them how to do likewise. The ban denies us these opportunities.
• Cromer is already notorious as the town that wishes its young people were invisible. The ongoing and protracted struggle to establish a skate park is testament to the low priority afforded to the needs of the town’s youth. This ban restricts yet further the very limited opportunities available to young people in Cromer.
• There is a growing crisis in this country with respect to obesity and health. The use of public spaces such as the promenade can and should play a vital role in encouraging the pursuit of more healthy lifestyles.
• People across the country are increasingly of the opinion that our public spaces ought to be accessible to all. Here in Norfolk, cycling bans on the esplanades at Gorleston and Great Yarmouth have been overturned in the last year. The decision to impose the ban in the first place, let alone for a second time, is seriously out of step with public feeling.
• The risk assessment report upon which this decision is purported to have been based is patently unfit for purpose. It cites no data to support its many claims, and makes no reference to towns where such schemes have been successfully implemented. It assumes ‘inherent dangers and impracticability’ in all respect of all options requiring monitoring and management, but maintains that such difficulties do not apply in respect of motor vehicles because their access to the promenade is ‘strictly controlled’.
• In July 2013, a petition calling for the ban to be overturned and containing some 350 names, mine included, was delivered to North Norfolk District Council. This appears to have been completely ignored during the decision-making process.
I believe that the council should rethink its actions.
I call upon NNDC to reverse its decision to impose the ban. I ask instead that they instigate an open process of community consultation, at which these and other pertinent issues may be discussed, and arising from which a solution may be sought that is acceptable to all.
I look forward to your response with great interest.