Walk the walk for the Ore Valley Greenway
Funding is available for walking and cycling routes in Hastings and Bexhill – and supporters of the Ore Valley Greenway route would like to have some of it. They have organised a walk along the route today in support of their initiative, as they explain.
On Saturday 21 January 2017 we are inviting everyone to join us for a walk along the Ore Valley Greenway route. We will be meeting at 1:30pm at Ore Station. The walk is around three miles long and some of the terrain is uneven and muddy so please wear suitable footwear. Also, the weather forecast looks like it’ll be somewhat chilly, so warm clothes are essential!
The reason for this organised walk is because East Sussex County Council has managed to secure £6 million Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funding to implement walking and cycling routes for Hastings and Bexhill. Hastings Greenway Group, supported by Ore Community Land Trust (CLT), The Ramblers, and Hastings Urban Bikes, not to mention many others, are asking for £1 million to be given for the Ore Valley Greenway route. This would link both sides of the valley and traverse the length of the valley floor from The Ridge to Ore Station and eventually down to Hastings Station.
As it stands, the authority is wanting to favour on-road routes. Imagine a cycle lane up Mount Pleasant Road (which is what they are proposing)! So, why is the Ore Valley Greenway so important?
High levels of deprivation
In Hastings 30% of wards are in the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country, and the Hastings Borough Council area is ranked 13th most deprived out of all 326 local authorities in England. Baird and Tressell wards are among the 1% most deprived wards in the entire country, with 75% of children in Baird ward living in families affected by deprivation, as well as almost half of all people aged 60 and over in both wards. Therefore they deserve infrastructure investment more than any other parts of the Borough.
Car ownership is very low in this area, with most people walking or using public transport. Therefore this will provide valuable connections from one side of the valley to the other, and also to the bottom of the valley and Ore Station, as well as the College Annex, Schools and Hastings Academy, Ivy House Industrial Estate, and Ore Village shops. Currently there is very poor travel connection from one side of the valley to the other. Being able to walk quickly to a destination would cut down on travel costs for many people.
Safe cycle routes would be created that avoid steep hills, circuitous routes and dangerous roads. This would allow many people who won’t risk cycling on the roads in Hastings to start cycling again, including children getting to and from school and less able and confident cyclists.
It would enable access to green spaces and connection for people with disabilities. Currently there is no disabled access to areas such as Speckled Wood or easy to traverse/non-circuitous routes in this hilly area. The Greenway will provide a suitable surface and decent sized pathway for everyone to use.
There would be significant environmental benefits in reducing car/bus use and appreciation of the natural environment. The health benefits of walking and being in nature are numerous. Physical health and mobility are improved, as is mental health, as has been proven in many studies. In fact, this activity can prevent and alleviate many conditions, improve recovery rates from illness and operations, increase social contact and reduce isolation, reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and improve children’s well-being into adulthood.
Most of the land is publicly owned and therefore available and the green corridors exist and should be used. There has been a failure of Ore Valley Millennium Regeneration project and the Greenway will provide environmentally friendly travel options that the regeneration project should have provided.
There is considerable community support for the Ore Valley Greenway and the detailed design project for the Speckled Wood section of the Ore Valley Greenway demonstrates that the route is viable and construction costs are quite reasonable (approx £100,000).
Other sections of the Ore Valley Greenway are no more demanding and therefore very likely to have comparable costs. This should allow a £1 million investment from the LEP fund to cover all of the Greenway sections in Ore Valley. Local groups will adopt and help to maintain the routes – Ore CLT, Heart of Hastings CLT, etc. This will also improve community cohesion.
Therefore please come along and join us on our walk on Saturday 21 January. We look forward to meeting you!
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