I am somewhat bemused by all the recent coverage regarding the proposed, and recently approved, shared bicycle and pedestrian path in Meads, which will extend along parts of Duke’s Drive and King Edward’s Parade.
So what’s new about that? From my experience, any pedestrian choosing to walk along Eastbourne’s seafront promenade between Holywell and Langney Point is already using a de facto shared pathway and having to dodge all manner of high-speed dangers posed by cyclists (usually without any warning bell being rung, and despite the many ‘No Cycling ‘signs), rollerskaters, rollerbladers, skateboarders, two-wheeled scooters, electric mobility scooters, and joggers aplenty.
In addition to these, motor cars may also be encountered on the section between the Redoubt and Fisherman’s Green (I have no problem with the Dotto Trains, which travel at a safe speed and always ring their bells to warn pedestrians of their approach).
I see that implementing the new shared pathway in Meads will necessitate widening the existing footpath, so wasn’t it convenient the beautiful hedge screening Helen Gardens from the main road and its traffic was suddenly diagnosed to have an incurable infestation and was summarily chopped down, with no warning to local residents, thereby removing the only obstacle to widening the footpath.
It was home to birds and other creatures but its eventual replacement, parallel but nearer the sea, will take time to become established, if it is ever planted.
Eastbourne Borough Council carried out a public consultation regarding the shared cycle and pedestrian path, but, as in the case of the proposed skateboard park in Manor Gardens (which was also recently approved), I fear those consultations were nothing more than box-ticking exercises because, in both these cases, I suspect the decision to proceed had already been taken.
That’s local government for you. It’s not democracy!