A rethink needed on cycling scheme

Regarding the cycling strategy being considered by our councillors, I draw attention to the correspondence I have had with Councillor Wallis regarding the matter as I am of the opinion Eastbourne will not get what it deserves unless we members of the public are made fully aware of the way matters are being considered, as well as the apparent attitude of the county councillors involved.

For about 40 years the possibility of a cycle route away from the fumes and risk of traffic between Hampden Park and Eastbourne has been ‘on the shelf.’ It seems there has never been seen a right time for it – cashflow mainly being the excuse given.

During that time we have had the Route 21 between Polegate and Hampden Park appear but no equally useful and pleasant extension of it between Hampden Park and Eastbourne.

I find the strategy of the council to be faulted. It contains an indication of ‘make do and mend’ rather than the foresight necessary to provide for the town’s future pedestrian and cycling inhabitants, including of course, invalids. Particularly, I noted the route for pedestrians and cyclists between Hampden Park and Eastbourne seems to be considered not worth a mention.

The understanding that should be in the minds of all is the necessity to look positively at the future and consider provision for the needs of our local population as the use of the motor vehicle has inexorably spread throughout the town.

White lines on roads with vehicle fume-laden air and risk from accident is not an answer; nor is the provision of cycle lanes along the seafront an encouragement for cycling to work or to simply enjoy outdoor air – first, you have to ride to the seafront! Likewise, pedestrians, including invalids, have a need or wish for both recreational and necessary activity apart from the motor vehicle.

Priority should be the watchword and singular strength of effort should be applied to the route I suggest with far less thought being applied to a patchy system of white lines on roads laden with vehicular traffic and its fumes.

The cabinet seems not to realise the need to be adequately creative and forward thinking for the purposes of the future; and I suggest it starts all over with the idea that its ‘make do and mend’ strategy being put for consultation with stakeholders between September and November be rethought.

The strategy contains little to do with “A Healthy Cycling Plan For Eastbourne” nor the “County Council’s Cycling Strategy,” both of which are a mile apart from creating a pedestrian/cycling strategy which in particular would satisfy an ability to move between Hampden Park and Eastbourne.

Our invalid and elderly population is an important section of the community which needs a share in a future with an entire absence of vehicles. Provision for cyclists should also always include pedestrians where practical.

Of course the two routes receiving much support are deserving. The Horsey Sewer and King Edward’s Parade routes are obvious favourites but was the Hampden Park to Eastbourne idea promoted and has it been actively pursued? If it was put to those who have such strong interests in cycling or pedestrian activities it would be happily received.

Finally, while providing for the Hampden Park to Eastburne route may well be a more difficult financial path to tread, the way matters change over time indicate it will be even more difficult as time goes by until maybe in the future it will no longer be viable and an excellent opportunity will have been lost.

In this respect I hope those stakeholders are aware of my comments, even if, generally, they are not agreed with in cabinet.

Ron Spicer

Meadowlands Avenue