Minutes of HDCF meeting 5th December 2017

Attendees: Philip Ayerst, Thea Breadie, Ruth Fletcher (Chair), Martin Read (District Post), Graham Sitton (Forest NC), Mark Treasure, Francis Vernon

Apologies: Richard Bates, Geoff Bragg, Derek Hardman, Peter Silburn (Secretary), Matthew Wing (Wheels for All)


Worthing Road footway

Martin Read reported that WSCC has not followed up on the promised footway improvement at Tower Hill and will chase them up.

North of Horsham

Discussion on latest developments. Andrew Baldwin has been actively following this up with HDC and Chris Lyons has confirmed in writing that HDC will get a qualified third-party to advise them on the cycling plan that Liberty will be required to submit for North of Horsham.

WSCC has won 60 days of government support to develop Local Cycling and Walking Investment Plans (LCWIPs) in the county and Horsham is expected to receive about 15 days of consultancy time. It is not clear to what extent the North of Horsham work and the LCWIP work will overlap. We will continue to liaise with all parties.

Horsham Town Centre contraflows and Joined-up cycling

The cycle forum suggestions for Joined-up cycling including the Lynd Cross, Carfax, Piries Place and various contraflow locations were chosen by WSCC as one of the first three projects under their new cycling strategy and there is £100,000 of funding. Some parts of the project e.g. a cycle contraflow for Park Terrace East are straightforward and look likely to go ahead without trouble. Barrington Road is also cheap, technically easy and is potentially popular when properly explained. However, we are seriously concerned that the lack of joint working between the highways and planning authorities means the proposals for the Lynd Cross, Carfax and Piries Place will be watered down so much as to be ineffective.

Meanwhile the Horsham Town Vision and associated planning developments pay no attention to cycling and – if current proposals go ahead unaltered – the opportunity for cycling into and across the town centre will be lost for a generation. Ruth spoke about the need for high level joint working at the Cabinet meeting on 23 November. Ruth, Philip and Francis are continuing to communicate with HDC/WSCC.

Horsham tourism

HDC wants more tourism and Thea and Ruth have continued to attend the meetings: a Partnership and Forum have now been launched. As a result of our input, the need for better cycle infrastructure to support cycle tourism has been noted as a potential priority for development. The owner of Sumners Ponds is very aware of the potential and needs a short length of safe, good quality cycle path to link between his site and the Downs Link.

In addition, 2019 will be the Horsham Year of Culture. Thea is working on making the Shelley bike ride a permanent feature with the potential to include a guided tour app and bike hire from stations. She has submitted a bid for funding for this.

The opportunity for cycle tourism to boost the local economy is significant – and better quality infrastructure on a strategic network is key. The core of this network is the Downs Link, its associated feeder routes and the Horsham-Crawley cycle route (which links to the London-Brighton route and the Avenue Verte to Paris).

There are a number of people looking at improvements and different funding pots along the various sections of this, but no one is leading and bringing it all together. [E.g.  the Christs Hospital Missing Link is after decades finally programmed for a £300,000 delivery project next financial year, WSCC are looking at bidding for annual investment in the Downs Link, there is an opportunity to get early delivery of the Horsham Missing Link, improvements are being considered on the Surrey section of the Downs Link, the HDC visitor economy work, the success of Stan’s Bike Shack, the Shelley project, the potential for disability cycle trails, the WSCC Beautiful Outdoors programme]. Ruth has spoken with Deborah Urquhart and will provide her with further details.

It was noted that Christs Hospital Station has no disabled access for the southern platform and that the Missing Link work is an opportunity to provide access via the disused platforms and on the new path under the track.

Wheels for All

This is an excellent initiative to enable people with disabilities and their families to find the cycle which works for them and ride for fun and health. The friendly group meets at Broadbridge Heath athletics track on Fridays in the summer and ran a successful charity ride on the Downs Link in the summer. Their riders are now keen to cycle beyond the confines of the track!

Ruth and Thea are in touch with Ed Clark and Paul Taylor to set up a joint event with cargo and family bikes on Wed 30th May, during half term. We hope families with young children will be able to find the right cycle for taking the family to school or going shopping. Ruth and Thea to try out the suitability of three potential short routes for the day; -these are limited by traffic danger and the unsuitability of some local cycle paths/bridges etc. for non-standard cycles and for young riders.

A gazebo (apparently Dean Pocock has one) for a display/handing out flyers etc. in the Carfax could be a good way to advertise the event.

Cycling for Health

Ruth and Thea are in contact with Ed Clark (WSCC), Paul Taylor, Chatter Cheema and Ian Ford (HDC) over plans to extend the current Walking for Health scheme to include Cycling for Health. The council will train ride leaders and provide bikes for those who need them. Other forum members may well be interested in joining or leading groups.

Horsham Blueprint

Philip, Francis and Ruth met to agree a framework for the Blueprint cycle strategy submission. It is hoped this will inform further work towards the LCWIP and a cycling Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).

Graham said the next Blueprint meeting is 18th Dec. Ruth to write-up an initial draft for then.

National guidance

The good news is that it has been announced that LTN2/08 will be updated. The timescale is not yet known, but this is potentially a big step forward – especially if WSCC formally adopt it into local requirements.

The Wheels for Wellbeing Guide for Inclusive Cycling has been launched. The Equality Act gives it more teeth than non-statutory, general guidance and it is a very good broad-brush guide. Infrastructure which is fit for disabled people and adapted cycles needs to be high quality and is thus fit for us all. We have given the guide to WSCC officers and cabinet members.

Christs Hospital bridleway

The cycle forum is objecting to the proposal to close/divert this important section of the cycle network. We anticipate a planning enquiry in the New Year. Philip is preparing our statement of case with the support of the Open Spaces Society (this is an important legal case which may set a precedent for other cases).

Kings Road resurfacing

We were very pleased that WSCC Highways contacted Andy Mouland of WSCC to ask our opinion on the options for reinstatement of the current grossly inadequate (<70cm) downhill cycle lane.

In future cases like this, the WSCC cycling team and WSCC Highways need to plan ahead so that upgrading cycle provision to meet current standards can be coordinated with the Highways maintenance programme and we have been told that Andy Ekinsmyth will now be having talks about this. Kings Road is a residential street with a large primary school and homes for older people; as such, it should not be a rat run, especially when additional traffic comes on stream from the North of Horsham development. We suggest that a bus gate combined with a diversion: local (Redkiln Way) or, ideally, wider (Harwood Road relief road) and a 20mph speed limit is the preferred long term solution.

Meanwhile we have suggested a 1.2m advisory cycle lane on the opposite (uphill) side of the road where it is more useful and is also out of the “door zone”. The extra width is gained by reducing the width of the running lanes to 2x3m (for the two-way bus route). Although 1.2m is still seriously below the minimum width, we felt that it would be wrong to remove an existing visible cycle route at this stage as that would be likely to lead to even worse provision in future.

Initial feedback is that WSCC are minded to take up our suggestion.

[We considered the option of reducing the running lane widths to provide the recommended cycle lane width of 2m – vehicles would move into the cycle lane to avoid oncoming traffic – but the current traffic levels of around 8000vpd are too high for this.]

Piries Place car park re-development

Despite all the previous discussion, comments and agreement with the principles, the planning application for the replacement Piries Place car park has no cycle parking provision and no cycle crossing past the entrance/exit to enable people to get safely to the planned Sheffield stands (a “tiger crossing” would be the obvious solution). Philip has submitted a strongly worded objection.

Highwood Boulevard bridge closure

This access has just been blocked off to prevent rat-running between the A24 and Hills Farm Lane. The temporary gates completely block all cycle access which is contrary to the original design objective: encouraging residents to use this route to access the town without needing to drive. It also blocks the Horsham East-West cycle route which was built with an LSTF government grant made for the purpose of enabling residents to cycle from this new development into Horsham.

We are in touch with HDC, WSCC and Berkeley to seek an urgent resolution and to get a redesign of the poor plans that have been submitted for the permanent closure.

Date of next meeting

7:30pm on Tuesday 6th February in the Bodiam Room, County Hall North, WSCC, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham.

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

Speak Your Mind