Minutes of the Open Forum meeting 20th July 2015

Attendees: Richard Bates (CTC), Geoff Bragg, Ken Broomfield, Phillip Burroughs (Sustrans), Neil Clarke (HDCF), Andrew Cooke (Horsham Blueprint), Nick Cooke, Cllr Val Court (Chair, Nuthurst PC), Cllr Leonard Crosbie (Trafalgar), Ian Dance, Terry Edwards, Ruth Fletcher (HDCF), Michael Gimber, Peter Golds, Nigel Hillpaul (Denne NC), Doug Ralph, Dave Scott (Horsham Cycling), Peter Silburn (HDCF), Mark Treasure (HDCF), Denys Vaughan, Francis Vernon (HDCF), Katharine Webbe, Steve White, Colin Young.

Apologies: Jane Apostolou (HTCP), Andy Brown, Greg Collins, Pam Goodall, Cllr Simon Oakley (Chichester, Task & Finish Group), Graham Sitton, Cllr David Skipp (Roffey North), Cllr Brad Watson (Southwater).

What’s been happening since the Cycling Summit

Ruth Fletcher outlined what’s been happening since the Cycling Summit the previous week. There was a good article about the Summit in the WSCT. In a subsequent discussion Claire Vickers (HDC cabinet member for planning) has stated that although she was interested to hear the concerns of the Forum, officers were satisfied with the current processes and there is no need for changes to the consultation mechanism or for an SPD (Special Planning Document). We are continuing to talk to her and other HDC and WSCC councillors.

There was a general discussion about the purpose of the Forum now being to engage with the community and to work to achieve better conditions for cycling. There is clearly a widespread feeling within the Horsham area that conditions for cycling are unsatisfactory and that change is needed.

The Forum has been in contact with HYPER (local youth parliament).

HDC have sent out a consultation document outlining the possibilities of CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) and the Forum have been asked for an infrastructure wishlist by the 31st July. [This has now been extended to 14th August.]

How the Forum operates in the future

Wider engagement

The emphasis is now moving towards reaching out to more individuals and groups so we can effectively represent the wider community and be accepted by the councils as a legitimate voice.

Ruth Fletcher has produced some business cards to hand out to people. These have already proved effective since several of the newcomers at the meeting had come as a result of receiving a card.

Further suggestions included: questionnaires using Survey Monkey, a petition, Colin Young mentioned more use of social media, asking local bike shops to attach a Forum card to bikes that they sell or repair, cards for local bike shops and Stan’s Bike Shack, contacting the FSB (Ann Swain), Chamber of Commerce, neighbourhood watch groups, community police and parking enforcement officers, a poll for the Horsham Facebook page, asking Bill’s if they would include the Forum’s contact details on their promotional saddle covers, engaging with local schools using Phil Burroughs’ contacts, additional useful contacts within the councils, contacting the Horsham Association of Parish Councils, a template to help Forum members who want to lobby their councillors.

Colin Young, Steering Group

Phil Burroughs said that the BikeIt scheme has been highly successful in Horsham schools, especially Heron Way (where 50% of children cycled or scooted to school) and St Johns Primary Schools, and Holbrook is also keen, but the funding ends on the 31st July. Unused s106 money could be used to continue the scheme, as happens in Crawley. In Chichester funding is continuing with DEFRA money. Mark Treasure noted that the LSTF route passes very close to St John’s, but has not been designed to link with it.

Richard Bates suggested that if the Forum asked enough questions, the council would have to have an office to deal with cycling. In Crawley, the Borough Council pay for a part-time admin role to channel cycle forum matters through to the appropriate officers. He suggested our open letter say that we must have Forum contacts in HDC and WSCC. Richard suggested 4% of the Highways budget to be used for cycling.

Task & Finish Group

The Task & Finish Group is looking at WSCC’s cycling and walking strategy and will report by December.

HDCF, along with the West Sussex Cycle Forum, will be putting the case for better cycling infrastructure.

We have been arguing for stronger leadership on cycling and putting a case for WSCC needing a cycling officer.

The lack of maintenance of existing cycle routes was raised.

Near misses are a significant contributory factor in deterring people from cycling yet these go largely unreported (see Rachel Aldred’s Near Miss project). Geoff Bragg asked about recording near misses. This would need considerable effort to record and analyse data.

Geoff Bragg

Steve White mentioned videos he has recorded (using a helmet cam?) which we can post on our You Tube channel. Phillip Burroughs (and others) stressed that these should not scare people off cycling but rather highlight the unsafe conditions.

Steve White

Brad Watson (Chair of the CLC) and Morwen Millson are due to meet Louise Goldsmith (Leader, WSCC) next month as we requested to talk about how cycling money is used.

Ideas for action

Open letter

The steering group will write an open letter and start to gather signatures.

Peter Silburn, Ruth Fletcher

Safe cycle route from Monks Gate/Mannings Heath

Val Court explained that there has a been long-standing desire to get a safe cycle route into Horsham and this is included in the Neighbourhood Plan.

It has taken many years simply to get the pavement widened and cleared, although it still has a poor surface in places. Any cycle route needs to be a direct route into and out of Horsham (i.e. follow the route of the A281). Val will contact us to arrange a date to jointly walk/cycle the route.

Val Court

Southwater cycle route

A safe and convenient cycle route between Horsham and Southwater has been raised as a major concern by many people. Attendees from Southwater are keen to see progress on this and, with Ruth, will discuss the current situation and ideas for getting the Parish Council involved and committed. Ruth will contact Forum members from Southwater.

Ruth Fletcher

Raising awareness

The idea of organising a mass ride around Horsham to raise awareness of the issues facing people on bikes was popular.

Infrastructure safari on the LSTF east-west cycle route

The steering group will organise an “infrastructure safari” on the LSTF east-west cycle route (Broadbridge Heath to Forest School) to document the effectiveness of the changes. Monday August 3rd August.

Steering Group


Some residents have been receiving a questionnaire, possibly as part of the monitoring of the LSTF scheme, about cycling (where are the danger points? How many bikes do you have?). Ian Dance will scan a copy and forward to the group.

Ian Dance

There was a suggestion that we could invite an expert on Dutch infrastructure to come and talk to the Forum. David Hembrow (an ex-pat Englishman living in the Netherlands who is the recognised authority on Dutch cycle infrastructure in the UK context) is the obvious choice. Mark Treasure to raise with David Hembrow (since he is meeting him later in the week).

Leonard Crosbie drew the meeting to a close with the following observations:

  • Since the election in May there are 14 new councillors and now is the time to engage with them while they are new to the job.
  • Remember that cycling is a relatively minor concern (it comes under ‘miscellaneous’) in Highways. Current serious budget cuts mean there is generally ‘no plan’ and ‘no funding’ for any highways projects. Councillor support is important.
  • HDC is the planning authority, not the Highways authority and councillors are as frustrated as we are at the difficulties faced in communication over highways issues for new developments.
  • He will try to get the Cycle Forum made a consultee (the Forum is entitled to have influence and impact, as demonstrated by the large turnout tonight).
  • Cycling groups need to work together in seeking change. When presenting to councillors don’t get into too much technical detail.
  • As a motorist, cyclists in the dark are terrifying – perhaps publicity could include hi-viz as this would get schools and others interested.

Next meeting

Steering Group meeting at 7:45pm on Monday 7th September at 30 Ashleigh Road, Horsham, RH12 2LF.

CORRECTION: The Steering Group meeting on the 7th September will now take place in the Parham Room, County Hall North, WSCC, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham. The meeting will commence at 7:30pm.


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