A joint pathway for cycling and walking along Eastbourne seafront is at least another year away.
The comprehensive cycling and walking strategy will need to be put in place before cycling will be permitted on the promenade and a plan is due to be published in autumn this year.
The news comes in the week that more than 200 people took part in the mass bike ride and march for a safe traffic-free cycle path along Eastbourne seafront.
Bespoke, the cycling campaign group, organised the event which saw people ride and walk from the Towner Art Gallery along the seafront to Pavilion Gardens by the Redoubt.
Bespoke says people are fed up with waiting for action on a practical solution after a four year stand off with both Eastbourne and East Sussex councils.
Thousands of pounds were spent on a consultation as to whether to deliver a shared cycling and walking route on the seafront but when it was supported and an application to amend the byelaw to allow it was submitted to the government in 2015, it was subsequently refused.
It means, says Bespoke, that Eastbourne is now one of the only seaside towns without a family friendly, traffic-free cycleway along the seafront and such a facility would improve health and wellbeing, avert climate breakdown and make the town a “cleaner, greener and nicer place to be”.
A Bespoke spokesperson said, “Evidence from seaside towns that allow cycling on their promenades show the safety fears of some are unfounded. There is concern the promenade between the pier to the Pavilion tearooms is too narrow to accommodate both people on foot and on bicycles. Bespoke is therefore proposing to make space for a protected cycleway on Marine Parade. Beautiful planters could be used as barriers. This would mean less space for car storage on the road itself, but luckily there are plenty of options for motorists in nearby purpose-built car parks. A safe, traffic-free cycleway would be a powerful symbol of Eastbourne’s intent to embrace a cleaner, greener and healthier future. The world’s scientists say we have 12 years to take action to avert climate breakdown. This is a properly practical proposal – and one that Bespoke has been campaigning for since 2007.”
A spokesperson at Eastbourne council said, “A response from the Department of Communities and Local Government recommended a comprehensive cycling and walking strategy be put in place before cycling is permitted on the promenade.
“East Sussex County Council is currently preparing a local cycling and walking investment plan that it is proposed to be published in autumn 2019.
“While the plan will look at connectivity between the town centre, seafront and principal residential areas in Eastbourne, all routes being considered will be subject to future full design in accordance with latest national and best practice guidance, consultation and safety audit. Clearly, they will also be dependent on securing the necessary funding to deliver them.”