Minutes of the HDCF meeting 3rd November 2015

Attendees: Philip Ayerst, Geoff Bragg, Andrew Cooke, Ruth Fletcher (Chair), Nigel Hillpaul (Denne NC), Trudie Mitchell (Denne NC), Peter Silburn (Secretary), Graham Sitton (Forest NC/Blueprint), Francis Vernon, Ronald Vimpany, Nigel Weston (HDC).

Apologies: Jane Apostolou (HTCP), Neal Clarke, Val Court (Nuthurst NC), Geoff Farrell (WSCF), Louise Goldsmith (Leader, WSCC), Chris Stark (WSCC Highways).

The forum was especially pleased to welcome Nigel Weston from HDC.

Minutes of previous meeting

Approved with the amendment that Graham Sitton is representing Horsham Blueprint as well as Forest NC.

Matters arising

Reporting highways issues

There is now a link on the HDCF website to the Love West Sussex page for reporting of highways issues.

Response from Chris Stark

Following questions raised at the previous meeting, Chris Stark sent this response by email:

“Vegetation should be overhanging a cycleway by 2.3m (footway – 2.1m) or lower or blocking at least 33% of the available width [before WSCC will intervene].

Report issue to WSCC, preferably through LoveWestSussex.

If highway vegetation [intervention] will either be 28 day action to remove, or if a danger / blocking safe passage likely to be 5 days.

If private vegetation, a letter is sent to landowner requiring cut back in 14 days.  If unactioned, further letter sent advising 7 further days. If still no action WSCC undertake work and recharge landowner.”

On gritting of cycleways:

“There is no specific programme for gritting / salting of cyclepaths. Those alongside the carriageway may benefit from overspray of carriageway gritting but currently no proposals to grit off road cycle routes.”

Those present at the meeting felt that this is an issue for locations including the shared-use path on the LSTF route between Hills Farm Lane and the cycle bridge over the A24.

Chris confirmed that WSCC officers are willing to attend HDCF meetings when invited to discuss specific issues. The forum agreed to ask an officer from Strategic Planning to attend to explain their role and how the cycle forum can most effectively work with them, and to specifically consider the North of Horsham development.


Worthing Road surface near Boar’s Head

There is poor surfacing on the edge of the road. Ruth to discuss action for this with Geoff Bragg.

Ruth, Geoff

Christ’s Hospital – Diversion of bridleway BP1642

Bridleway BP1642 (which passes through Christ’s Hospital playing fields) forms part of a well-used and direct cycle route to Christs Hospital station. Paul Brown of the Open Spaces Society spoke on behalf of the forum at the WSCC Rights of Way Committee on the 20th October to object to a proposal to divert the bridleway. Despite valid arguments, a majority of the committee voted to implement the proposals.

Philip Ayerst, Paul Brown and Ruth Fletcher made a site visit on the 29th October. Philip explained the arguments for the cycle forum making and sustaining an objection. Ruth has received further details on the process from Paul and the forum has agreed to object to the change.

WSCC will advertise the orders in the local press and at both ends of the diversion (including on the Downs Link) at some point over the coming months. We will need to object formally within 28 days of this. All members to watch out for the notices please and tell Philip, who will lead on preparing the objection.

All, Philip

LSTF east-west route

The public ride along the route was well-supported and successful with three councillors attending. The general feeling from those who had not previously ridden the route was surprise at how bad it was. There is a full ride report on the website and the WSCT ran a two-page Special Investigation.

The forum asked for a “lessons learned” meeting with councillors from WSCC and HDC, officers and forum members so that WSCC can learn from this for future projects. Despite repeated promises, including from the CLC, WSCC has now refused this.

Instead Ruth and Peter met Nigel Bird, the WSCC LSTF Programme Manager, who agreed to take up snagging issues with Balfour Beatty and defect/design issues with C2MHill. A copy of the snagging list can be viewed here.

Nigel Dennis and Brad Watson from the CLC met John O’Brien, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, on the 30th October where they raised some of the wider issues with him.

There was a discussion about WSCC’s response to the problems of the LSTF route, the lack of willingness to engage directly with individual cycle forums and whether WSCC had properly specified and managed the work of the designers.

Ronald Vimpany questioned why WSCC are so defensive and unwilling to engage on this. He also asked whether WSCC was aware quite how bad the LSTF route is. It was suggested that it would be useful to use a FOI request to find out further details of the work WSCC contracted out to C2MHill. Nigel Bird has already offered to pass the forum a copy of the invitation to tender for the contract so it should not be necessary to raise a FOI request. We will follow this up with Nigel’s successor, Peter Smith.

Ruth, Peter

Trudie Mitchell (Denne NC) contacted the forum with Denne Neighbourhood Council’s concerns about pedestrian and child safety on the shared-use path past Tanbridge School and up to the A24 cycle/footbridge. Ruth and Peter met with Trudie for a joint site visit. They agreed with Trudie that the design was poor (blind corners, vegetation planted too close to the path, play area opens directly onto the path etc.).

These were all problems with the original design of the diverted path, which should have been picked up and dealt with by the LSTF team. There is now no LSTF money left to rectify these issues (unless they are agreed to be a design defect). Denne NC has asked David Sheldon to follow this up.

The railway subway (also in Denne neighbourhood) was discussed. Nigel Weston said that plans have now been drawn up to create a smooth ramp from the path up to the northern station car park. HDC is waiting for agreement from Network Rail (as the landowner) on the extent of works that will be permitted.

Nigel confirmed that there is currently no proposal to create a foot/cycle path along the waste strip of land at the edge of the car park and said that earlier ideas to create direct access all the way to the station had been rejected.

Open letter

A letter has been drafted (and discussed in previous meetings) and a list of potential signatories drawn up but this needs someone to take on and drive forward. There was a discussion about whether to continue with this as there has been no progress. Any letter must strike a balance between demanding effective action whilst remaining positive. The key issue is the work required to contact potential signatories.

Nationally a similar open letter to George Osborne from major employers asking for funded cycle infrastructure has had a high profile. The forum agreed to Ronald Vimpany’s suggestion that we should meet and consider how to best make use of the national letter locally.

Ronald, Ruth, Peter

Planning applications

There has been a real step forward as we are now receiving the weekly planning lists – although Trudie has alerted us to an issue where applications received on Fridays are not being included in the lists.

Philip is reviewing the applications and passing on the details for those of potential interest. He would like to create a “kit of parts” that can be quoted to help build a case where we decide to object.

Despite this we are not yet acting effectively and key applications are slipping through without comment – for example the conversion of the HDC offices to flats.

The meeting agreed that the steering group would meet to work out how to respond more effectively. Trudie agreed to attend and offer her expertise.

Steering group, Trudie

Cycle parking

Philip continues to chase the issue of cycle parking provision at the Pavilions.

No further news on additional parking at County Hall North.

Nigel Bird had told Ruth and Peter that councillors will be asked to consider whether to pay more to upgrade the new two-tier LSTF racks (with additional locking loops) or to scrap them altogether.

Ruth confirmed that she and Peter had strongly recommended to Nigel Bird that the council should avoid throwing more good money after bad and that the forum would support scrapping of the racks as they are the wrong design in the wrong locations and we are still concerned about safety (see for example this video).

Nigel Weston commented that the Park Place racks are causing water to be shed into the plant room and he would like them removed from that location.

After discussion the forum’s position is that we support the scrapping of the racks. We would like to see the council get its money back from the supplier (although we recognise that, since purchase was arranged via Peter Hayward this may not be practical). The shelters could be relocated to positions where they would be better used.


WSCC’s Cycling and Walking Task & Finish Group

There was another meeting on the 27th October with Peter Smith represented the West Sussex Cycle Forum. He was able to table comments, including some from HDCF on the LSTF and on the lack of consultation on Rights of Way changes in the Horsham area.

WSCC Capital Programme

The forum contacted members of the CLC, encouraging them to consider the lack of any specific budget for cycling before voting for the capital programme on the 30th October. Cycling is included in a sum of £3.7m which also includes all road safety, rail, bus and pedestrian capital schemes with no indication of any specific allocation for cycling.

Someone passed this on to Nicola Debnam who has replied directly by email:

“You will note that it is proposed to increase the level of investment in integrated transport schemes which includes cycling and walking schemes.

I think this demonstrates that we are putting in place the right approach to make the best use of any funding streams that are announced.

The breakdown of the £3.7m is currently being considered and the detail will be contained within our Integrated Works Programme. A draft of this programme will shortly be available.”

There was a discussion about how the forum can best engage with the councils and parishes on local cycling infrastructure schemes, especially now that Sustrans will be contacting them as stakeholders as it develops the list of cycling schemes for WSCC.

It was agreed that the forum will contact those in the north of Horsham District to give them a “heads up” on the Sustrans consultation and to offer to work together. The forum’s Infrastructure Requirements List is a good starting point and we hope to develop it further with input from other stakeholders including the neighbourhood councils, parishes and Blueprint.

Ruth, Peter

Update on West Sussex Cycle Forum

The CTC‘s Campaigns Director, Roger Geffen MBE, was a guest of the WSCF on the 12th October and gave an excellent briefing on the national position with regard to cycle funding.

He advised the forums that visual representations are the most powerful way to get our messages across. He suggested a map of routes (see here for a good example), visualisations of the changes we want to see (such as the London Cycling Campaign’s plans for north of Blackfriars Bridge) and taking councillors on an “infrastructure safari” to see good cycling provision in places such as Brighton or London.

There was a discussion on the possibility of arranging to take councillors and officers to see good infrastructure. Since highways is a WSCC responsibility, it would obviously be good to do this in conjunction with WSCF.


North of Horsham

The Planning Inspector has found the Horsham District Planning Framework, including North of Horsham, to be sound. HDC will hold an Extraordinary Council Meeting to vote on adopting it on the 19th November. Forum members may wish to attend. Concern was expressed about the safety and problems of crossing the bypass.

[Two days before the meeting a pedestrian was killed after he was hit by a car on the A264 at the junction with Old Holbrook. The is the fourth fatality since 1993 involving a pedestian/cyclist on the northern bypass.]

Winter Social Ride on 12th December

Everyone is welcome to join us for a family-friendly, leisurely ride to Southwater and back – with plenty of cake stops!

We will meet at 10:00 am by the bandstand near the Conservatory Café in Horsham Park and ride to the café at Southwater Country Park, where we hope some of our Southwater supporters will join us for a refreshment stop. We will then return to the Conservatory Café for a post-ride discussion (and more cake).


Riverside Walk

We will arrange a date to meet the Riverside Walk team.


New Albion Way crossing

The new “single phase” crossing is now open. This has received some criticism in the press, and forum members have been along to have a look. Ruth reported that over 75% of pedestrians are starting to cross on red – many of them in frustration or confusion in part because of the lack of a far-side light.

Many pedestrians are getting stranded on the central island. Some are completely missing the short (7 second) green man phase and few people reach the central island before the green man has gone out, and if they push the call button on the island the red man lights up.

From a cycling perspective, there is a higher risk of people on bikes (especially youngsters) riding onto the crossing from the pavement on red and being hit. This type of collision is common and already occurred at the old crossing.

Nigel Weston confirmed that the cycle time for the lights is 1 minute 37 seconds, including the 7 second time for pedestrians. He confirmed that HDC requested far-side lights with a pedestrian countdown, but these were rejected. Nigel commented that he would like to see a far-side light for pedestrians as is already in use in places like London. There are no ASLs in this scheme, despite funding having been granted under the LSTF project.

Mannings Heath cycle route

There was a brief discussion. Peter will write up a report.


Southwater cycle route

No update but the social ride on the 12th December should serve to kick-start discussion. See Southwater to Horsham cycle routes for background information.

Dutchells Copse link path

The new link path between the Riverside Walk and Dutchells Copse is now open. Although it is disappointing that it is only 2m wide (guidance is for 3m minimum), this is a big improvement. Francis Vernon has received confirmation that the dropped kerbs (on both sides of Dutchells Copse) that the forum requested will be installed.

Forum members felt that shared-use signage will aid cyclists, reduce conflict with pedestrians and can be done cheaply without any intrusive visual impact. Although Evan Giles initially rejected this, he has indicated that, since the Riverside Walk team are now looking at signage, he will review this.


WSCC ECSSC meeting

WSCC’s Environmental & Community Services Select Committee is due to meet on the 18th November in Chichester to discuss the county’s “Sustainability Strategy”.

Date of next meeting

7:30pm on Tuesday 1st December in the Parham Room, County Hall North, WSCC, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham.

Please enter by the side entrance. Cycle parking is available.

Mince pies will be provided!

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