There has been lots of discussion on social media about Skelton Grange Bridge. The problem is the Trans Pennnine cycling trail is effectively blocked at the bridge because of the need to climb up and down a set of steep narrow steps. This makes it difficult for many cyclists and families with buggies and near to impossible for some others such as wheelchair users. At busy times it even means that long queues form as people wait to cross.
Local people have also contacted me directly about the problem. I didn’t want to say much on the social media discussions as I knew that Labour councillor Peter Carlill has been working for a long time to try to solve the problem and I wanted to be able to provide a proper update about what is actually happening rather than just agreeing that it needed sorting out.
I’ve talked to Peter about how complicated an issue it is to solve. One problem is that the bridge is privately owned so organisations like the council or the Canals & Rivers Trust which you’d expect to fix the problem can’t do it on their own.
Last Friday Peter held yet another meeting with the many organisations involved and the good news is there is now light at the end of the tunnel – or at least a way along the trail!
The most likely plan is to create a new safe route through the Thwaite Mills museum site. This would give better access than the alternative solution of a new pedestrian and cycling bridge. The tow-path is currently blocked as it is actually part of the Thwaite Mills museum site, so finding a way to open this up could be the solution.
I’m eager to see this solved as opening up the trail will not only be great for people wanting to use it for leisure and exercise, but also provides a safe cycling route for people who want to commute into the city centre. The steep steps are particularly difficult for electric bike users as these are much heavier than ordinary cycles, but are often favoured by people who want to commute by bike. This is something people have been asking me about, especially those who live in Woodlesford who have easy access to the trail.
I’ll continue to talk with my Labour colleague Cllr Peter Carlill and provide updates as to how close we are to solving it.
Picture courtesy of Leeds Cycling Campaign.