A cycling group is calling for a section of seafront parking to be replaced with a cycle lane.
Members of Bespoke Cycle Group are proposing that the area from the pier to the Redoubt Fortress be transformed to a two-way traffic-free cycleway.
Robert McGowan, of Bespoke, thinks this will encourage more people to cycle in the town and bring more trade to seafront businesses.
He said, “What sort of town does Eastbourne want to be? We’re campaigning to make it a safer place for people on bicycles.
“Cycling along that road is quite hostile because it’s so narrow it feels unsafe.
“Lots of businesses would benefit from a cycle lane in front of them.
“Hotels could rent out bikes, and there are several bike shops in town that could benefit from increased trade.
“As would places like Fusciardis – people would stop and buy an ice cream.
“People on bikes spend more in local shops than people in cars because they can stop.”
He added, “I know the hotels will be up in arms. But there’s lots of alternative parking spaces and spaces in front of the hotels.
“Also, a lot of tourists come by coach and there is a dedicated coach parking area.
“I think this proposal would be a major change to the town.
“The council is always talking about the importance of being healthy but it doesn’t just happen on its own – you have to do something.”
Bespoke is hoping groups will back the idea, and it has already had support from organisations like Eastbourne Friends of the Earth, bicycle groups and Eastbourne Design Review Panel.
Simon Barker, chair of the Panel said, “The Panel strongly supports an in-depth and serious consideration of this proposal.
“We are keen to see a solution that allows both for cycling along the seafront – which is long overdue – and generally for urban design solutions that improve permeability of the seafront between town and beach.
“We feel that the parking area under discussion here works badly at present in urban design terms and that this part of the seafront generally needs to be looked at from a fresh perspective.
“Given that there is an acceptance that healthier lifestyle options should be encouraged, and that Eastbourne suffers from poor air quality, it seems to us beyond doubt that the encouragement of cycling is of more value than a few poorly functioning car parking spaces in this location.”
Ray Blakebrough, of Afoot, which campaigns for pedestrian safety in the town, said, “Having a dedicated route is fine. But cyclists need to have their own route along the promenade.
“Pedestrians, including the 20,000 disabled people in Eastbourne, should feel comfortable in their own space. They stop using the space when they feel they aren’t.
“You need at least three metres for a two-way cycle lane. Parts of the prom are more narrow than that.
“People have less and less space to feel safe. It’s dangerous in summer when the promenade is heaving.”
Mr Blakeborough also suggested town centre roads could become cycling routes, with Grove Road, South Street and Terminus Road all having the potential for a dedicated cycle lane.
For more information about the Bespoke proposal, visit www.bespokecyclegroup.org.uk/2017/02/14/case-two-way-traffic-free-cycleway-eastbourne-pier-redoubt-fortress