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Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

The sea front-station walking/cycling route now proposed (green), and a discarded alternative (red).

Cycling/walking route among proposals for Hastings in new active travel funding round

East Sussex County Council is now preparing proposals for the second round of funding under the government’s active travel fund. Grassroots groups in Hastings are proposing a sea front-station walking/cycling route as well as cycle racks in strategic locations. Nick Terdre reports.

East Sussex County Council has been given a provisional allocation of £1.96 million in the second round of the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund, for which proposals are due to be submitted in August.

More detail is awaited from DfT on how the funding can be used, a county council spokesperson told HOT. “Because [round 1] funding was limited, we will consider schemes that we were unable to include in round 1 in the second round, providing they fit the criteria, and will continue to discuss possible options with district and borough councils and others, as before.”

At short notice Hastings Urban Bikes (HUB) was asked by ESCC to propose locations for 15 five-hoop cycle racks. When it consulted its members it suggested that “Ideal locations would include central and small local shopping areas, seafront, parks and gardens where there are no cycle racks or insufficient capacity.” Proposals were submitted in late June.

HUB and Hastings Greenway Group have also proposed the establishment of a  walking/cycling route between the sea front and the railway station. This goes via Robertson Street, Cambridge Road, Priory Street, across a pedestrian section to Havelock Road and thus to Station Plaza. An alternative proposal via Station Road and Middle Street has been discarded.

“We are going to put as much pressure as possible on ESCC to fund this from the second tranche of Government funding,” HUB’s Ian Sier  told HOT.

Such a route has been under discussion since 2005 but the authorities have latterly shown little appetite for progressing the proposal.

Restarting local transport

The Emergency Active Travel Fund is intended to “help local authorities to restart local transport as part of the Government’s Covid-19 recovery roadmap,” and is aimed at enabling “more people to walk and cycle, replacing bus journeys where possible, and to support safe social distancing in areas where people congregate, such as within town centres, high streets or at transport hubs or bus stops.”

The types of measure called for by the DfT in the first round included road closures, widened footways, pop-up cycle lanes, temporary cycle parking and social distancing signage. The second round is understood to include more permanent measures, to seal the gains made in walking and cycling during the coronavirus lockdown.

In the first round ESCC was awarded a grant of £535,145, up from an initial allocation of £479,000. Local authorities were informed  their grants had been increased ”where their proposals were particularly strong,” ESCC told HOT.

“Over the coming weeks, we’ll be completing designs and, subject to local consultation and advertising traffic orders, the proposed schemes will be implemented where practicable within the eight-week deadline set by the Government.”

The projects to be funded  include, in Hastings and St Leonards, widening of the footpath on the north side of the A259 between Warrior Square and London Road and on the south side of Pelham Place.

In Bexhill the projects comprise footway widening at the junction of Buckhurst Place and Sackville Road; closure of Western Road and of one lane in Devonshire Road; and improved marking in the advisory cycle lane in Cooden Drive. In Rye the High Street will be closed to traffic between 10am and 4pm.

The pavement between Warrior Square and London Road, one of two footways to be widened in Hastings.

Unimpressed

Judging by comments posted on HOT’s report of round one, local residents were less than impressed with the Hastings proposals.

“The proposals for Hastings were underwhelming in comparison to the rest of East Sussex and Brighton,” local resident Russell Hall told HOT. “I believe Hastings has no mandatory cycle lanes on any of its roads. I appreciate time was tight, but it appears several good ideas were not considered or were dismissed without explanation, such as grasping this as an opportunity to regenerate the upper part of Queens Road while making social distancing possible along the road.

“The process was shrouded in mystery, but Hastings now has the chance to show more ambition and inclusivity in its proposals for the second tranche of funding.”

The first round proposals are thought to have originated with Hastings Borough Council, which has not responded to HOT’s request for a comment.

Posted 17:16 Thursday, Jul 2, 2020 In: Home Ground

5 Comments

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  1. R G Claughton

    It needs to be remembered that we are all sometimes pedestrians, and that families with young children, the elderly and disabled in particular need somewhere to stroll safely, without constant fear that any lapse of awareness and ‘lane discipline’ may result in abuse or injury from faster vehicles.
    Just as cyclists are too often harrassed by car and van drivers whose natural speed is faster, so too pedestrians are at the mercy of cyclists reluctant to slow down for children running around or family groups strolling and chatting without concentrating on their surroundings – promenading, as it used to be called.
    Shared walking and cycling areas need to be more thoughtfully planned than has been done on the Promenade if the one group’s security is not to be compromised for the other’s.

    Comment by R G Claughton — Thursday, Jul 9, 2020 @ 09:37

  2. Claire Thomas

    We all want to see more people cycling and walking but where dual use has been introduced many cyclists take advantage by then cycling on nearby pavements where they have no right to be. For example in front of Pelham Crescent between Iceland and George Street you regularly see cyclists on the pavement though the dual use path is on the other side of the road. Bottle Alley has clear no cycling signs but almost ever time one goes down there one has to get out of the way of cyclists speeding along. This isn’t just kids either but adults. Where there is dual use cyclists seem to think that they have right of way and that the pedestrian should get out of the way as quickly as possible.

    Comment by Claire Thomas — Thursday, Jul 9, 2020 @ 08:49

  3. Bryan Fisher

    Whilst it must be accepted that we have less usable space than less populated countries, it would be reasonable to think that HBC could come up with realistic improvements to both cycling and pedestrian routes. I do feel this is almost ‘change for changes sake’ rather than a serious attempt to improve both in a holistic manner.

    Comment by Bryan Fisher — Tuesday, Jul 7, 2020 @ 12:27

  4. Bea

    Once again there is a proposal to put cyclists onto pedestrianised areas, including Robertson Street which at the moment is safe for walking and allows vehicle access before 10am and after 4pm to allow for deliveries. Making streets pedestrianised was achieved with great effort and against strong opposition, and should be defended.
    I note that the proposed route is a devious one and I doubt if many cyclists would use it. Cycle routes should be as direct as possible, and not intrude on pavements, pedestrianised streets or parks.
    I can see a case for dedicated cycle lanes on roads and my suggestion would be to start with the A259 all along the sea front. At the same time the parking provision and enforcement on the seafront road could be reviewed because there is far too much double parking, especially on the north side. This would also resolve the really quite tortuous cycle provision on the prom which has several pinch points and even goes right in front of the Azur’s front door. What genius thought that one up?

    Comment by Bea — Tuesday, Jul 7, 2020 @ 10:38

  5. Chandra Masoliver

    The cycle arrows along the seafront create a wonderful route, but at times it’s imposssible to negotiate, given the amount of people walking in it

    Comment by Chandra Masoliver — Monday, Jul 6, 2020 @ 09:16

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