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the public walk along the Ore Valley Greenway route attracted nearly 70.

The public walk along the Ore Valley Greenway route attracted nearly 70.

Greenway group calls open evening

Hastings Greenway Group is holding an open evening on Thursday 2 February with the aim of moving their campaign for a safe walking and cycling network into a higher gear. On the agenda will be possible funding for the Ore Valley stretch of greenway and the formation of a sustainable transport forum for the town. Nick Terdre reports. Photos by Tony Polain.

The idea of the Hastings Greenway has been around for 20 years but in the face of a lack of political will, and despite widespread public support, it has made little progress towards becoming reality, say Hastings Greenway Group (HGG).

They are now turning words into action, with the recent holding of a well-attended public walk over the proposed route of the Ore Valley Greenway and the upcoming open evening on Thursday 2 February at the White Rock Hotel.

Funding opportunity

A key item on the agenda at this meeting will be the possibility of funding for the Ore Valley stretch from the £6 million pot which East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has secured from the Local Enterprise Partnership to implement walking and cycling routes in Hastings and Bexhill. HGG reckons that £1 million would be sufficient to make this section a reality.

ESCC has shown little appetite for the proposal. According to HGG, it is backing a route along Mount Pleasant Road which the group says is inappropriate, unsafe and unsuitable for people with disabilities. HGG has asked all eight of the county councillors for Hastings to intercede and help arrange a meeting but none has responded. Hastings Borough Council generally supports the greenway initiative but has not so far done anything to implement it.

walk 2

From the public walk.

So a further item on Thursday’s agenda will be the question of relationships with local authorities. “We would like ESCC and HBC to negotiate, consult and engage with us. How can we make this happen?” HGG says.

They also want to discuss how progress can be made towards making the Town Centre Greenway hub a reality.

Sustainable transport forum needed

The difficulty in bridging the gap between concept and reality for the Hastings Greenway shows the need for a sustainable transport forum similar to Rother’s, and would hopefully provide a mechanism for holding authorities such as ESCC to account. Such a body is one of the local Labour Party’s manifesto pledges, though it has slipped down its list of priorities due to budgetary constraints.

ESCC have, according to the group, refused point-blank to engage with local groups on these issues, HGG says, despite having a statutory duty to do so. They have turned down an invitation to attend the open evening despite being informed by HBC leader Cllr Peter Chowney that they were expected to attend. “It may be necessary to take them to the Local Ombudsman to prompt them to honour their statutory duties,” HGG says.

Well-attended public walk

A public walk over the proposed Ore Valley Greenway route in late January was a great success, according to HGG, attracting nearly 70 people. The route links both sides of the valley, from the Ridge to Ore station. The greenway would provide a safe walking and cycling route in an area where travel connections are poor, and set an important marker for extending greenway routes across Hastings.

There are many positives to the greenway concept, such as health benefits for the walkers and cyclists, and environmental benefits in reducing car use. The Hastings Greenway project enjoys widespread support from both the public and a range of other community bodies, such as Ore Community Land Trust, Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust, the Ramblers, Hastings Urban Bikes and Hastings Voluntary Action, who were involved with HGG in organising the open evening.

 

Hastings Greenway Open Evening Thursday 2 February, 19.00pm, at White Rock Hotel, 1-10 White Rock, Hastings TN34. All welcome.

See also Walk the walk for the Ore Valley Greenway

walk 3 600

This article was amended by Nick Terdre on 31 January 2017.

Posted 18:38 Monday, Jan 30, 2017 In: Campaigns

2 Comments


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  1. ken davis

    Firstly it is important to say that parts of The Greenway have already been built but secondly my personal view is that it is long past the time that local authorities can be expected to fund such projects. This is because a) central gov. budget cuts and b) they are still stuck in the past with regard to more sustainable means of transport. In other words the politicians have no vision for such change. The answer however is under our feet, or rather alongside the feet that will walk or cycle Greenways and that is to use the development value of the many vehicular inaccessible areas in Hastings which are ideal for Greenways but not good for cars to reach. However, to realise the value of such land for small scale, infill, affordable, sustainable houses/places of work required a small change in our absurd planning legislation and, if there were enough political will (and intelligence I suspect) it would be easy to do. Here is how. We just need a policy to support such infill (a sustainability brief could be set) to permit development without car parking. I can expand on this if needed.

    Comment by ken davis — Wednesday, Feb 1, 2017 @ 20:45

  2. Julia Hilton

    It is shocking that there is money to spend on acessible cycling and walking routes but no interest from the Conservative Lead Member for Transport, Councillor Carl Maynard, in listening to the local expertise and wishes for the location of routes.

    Our county councillors should be raising this issue with Carl Maynard and the relevant officers in ESCC as a matter of urgency.

    Any initiative that helps get us out of our cars and walking and cycling safely should be a priority for transport spending.

    Julia Hilton
    Secretary – Hastings Green Party

    Comment by Julia Hilton — Wednesday, Feb 1, 2017 @ 15:00

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