Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 6th October 2015

Attendees: Jane Apostolou (HTCP), Geoff Bragg, Neil Clarke (HDCF), Cllr Val Court (Nuthurst PC), Ruth Fletcher (HDCF), David Scott (Horsham Cycling), Peter Silburn (HDCF), Graham Sitton (Forest NC/Blueprint), Chris Stark (WSCC), Mark Treasure (HDCF), Denys Vaughan, Francis Vernon (HDCF), Ronald Vimpany

Apologies: Richard Bates (CTC), Greg Collins, Geoff Farrell (WSCF), Steve Gledhill (Cycling Companions), Nigel Hillpaul (Denne NC)

Welcome to Chris Stark, WSCC Highways Manager for the Horsham area

Chris manages the Horsham Area Highways Team and is based at the Broadbridge Heath Depot and at Clapham. His team consists of:

  • A Highways Engineer who acts as the contact with Balfour Beatty, the maintenance contractor.
  • A  Traffic Officer who deals with matters such as TROs.
  • Four Stewards who deal with queries, carry out the statutory inspections of highways, liaise with parishes, deal with flooding and overgrown vegetation, vehicle crossover applications and work with communities on minor schemes which have funding.

His team does not deliver new schemes (this is done by Highways Engineering at Chichester) but has responsibility for future maintenance issues. Other functions carried out at County are: signals, structures and surfaces, traffic management and streetworks management, safe and sustainable transport (including school crossings) and accident investigation.

To report specific problems on the roads, Chris recommends we use the Love West Sussex website:

We will create a link to this on our website.


There is no specific programme of maintenance: everything is done on a “needs basis”. Minor roads are inspected yearly, major roads and busy pedestrian areas are inspected monthly. Shared-use cycleways are inspected as per the pedestrian inspection regime in that place. There is no specific cycleway inspection regime. Street cleaning is done by the District Council.

Overhanging vegetation is the responsibility of the landowner. A letter is sent to the landowner/householder giving them 14-21 days to cut it back. If this has not happened after a reminder, WSCC will cut it and backcharge if appropriate.

Chris will check what the intervention parameters are for overhanging vegetation so that Forum members know what action can be expected if they report overhanging vegetation.

Chris Stark

Geoff Bragg raised the general issue that because cyclists ride towards the kerb, they are put at risk by poor surfaces which would not be an issue for cars. He asked how WSCC took account of this, citing the uphill section of Worthing Road towards the Boar’s Head as an example of this. To be raised on the Love West Sussex website.

Geoff, Ruth

Ruth asked how the Forum could work with Chris’s team on proposed minor schemes such as removing pinch points on North Parade or the northern Horsham cul-de-sacs. Chris replied that this could only happen if we had secured funding for our proposals because there is no funding for new projects beyond this financial year. Capital projects have traditionally been funded by government grant. In contrast, maintenance funding comes from revenue income. Capital funding is currently a major issue and there is a WSCC Task & Finish group looking into this.

Graham Sitton said that Forest NC had been asked to identify locations for new traffic lights and asked if Chris knew about the funding for this. Chris replied that WSCC prefers signalised pedestrian crossings over zebras because they offer more control and have better safety ratings. Zebras may be possible in very low traffic, low speed settings.

Ruth asked how we could work together to implement upgrades to the cycling infrastructure during planned maintenance works. Chris suggested this was outside his remit and that we write to the Cabinet Member/Director. Graham suggested also talking to Blueprint.

Steering group to discuss

Gritting is subcontracted to Balfour Beatty. Chris will find out what the policy is on cycle path gritting (using the Tanbridge House/A24 bridge cycleway as one example).

Chris Stark

Ronald Vimpany said how pleased he was that Chris Stark was here and how useful his frank replies were, and hoped he would return and that many more officers would also attend on occasion. He said there is a void of knowledge about cycling within the organisation. Evidence for this included the LSTF route: “The route on Saturday was a complete and utter joke and I cannot imagine anyone would want to use it”. “WSCC should get assistance from someone who knows about cycling.”

In reply to David Scott, Chris said that generally Balfour Beatty self-certify their work. WSCC make a small number of checks and, within a short timeframe, it is possible to “defect” a piece of work and get it redone. Larger schemes are checked by WSCC and there is a completion certificate. This should have happened for the LSTF route.

Chris agreed that it will be useful for officers to attend the Forum. Ruth suggested it would be very helpful to have someone from Strategic Planning to come along in the near future. Chris will talk to officers at WSCC about the Forum and ask them.

Ronald and Val Court raised concerns that piles of grit left for long periods by the side of road (especially on country lanes) cause a hazard for cycling. This is usually unswept excess gravel from surface dressing which builds up along the edge of the road.

It was noted that the Forum covers Horsham District, although it is currently stronger in the town and surrounding villages. As we build a working relationship with the council it will become easier to attract more active members representing the rest of the District.

Riding the LSTF route

We had 25 people for Saturday’s ride, including three councillors. Riders expressed surprise at how bad the route was. Peter to produce a ride report for publication on the website.


The CLC has committed to a “lessons learned” meeting with a Highways officer and both District and County Councillors.

We have been asked by WSCC to produce a “snagging list” of minor issues (missing signs, poor surfacing etc.) which need resolving. If you have anything you would like to see added to the list please let me know on info@hdcf.org.uk.


Mark will ask Alex and Charlie (attendees from London) to send us their comments.


Riverside Walk Project Stage 2 – Jane Apostolou

Jane outlined the history of the Horsham Town Community Partnership (now a limited company) and the Riverside Walk, its first major project, which is now entering Stage 2. The earlier plan to bid for £400,000 of Heritage Lottery funding has been altered and this stage will instead be divided into four smaller packages, each costing up to £30,000 (keeping them under the limit where additional procurement rules apply). These are:

  • Health and wellbeing (including making it more cycle friendly and enabling wheelchair use)
  • Surface and footpath
  • Heritage
  • Biodiversity

Each team will have a project manager and terms of reference. They are working in partnership with Mark Pritchard, Performance and Commissioning Manager at HDC. They will seek, and have already secured, some s106 funding and have consulted with the Forum and Horsham Cycling Club.

The path will be made cycle-friendly where possible, which also accommodates wheelchairs, mobility buggies etc. It would be useful to clearly indicate on the ground where cycling is permitted and provide waymarking for links with other routes.

They have been advised that to allow cycling, sections will have to be upgraded to bridleway. Ruth queried this since although bridleway status offers a permanent right of way for cycling, it will also require the surface to be maintained for horses. There is a potential conflict here as those cycling and using wheelchairs will benefit from a firmer, smoother surface than horses. Clarification on the options for bridleway and permissive agreements is needed.

There was a discussion about the benefits of a wide sealed path (room for users to pass without conflict, durability, low maintenance, smoother and cleaner for disabled and cycling) with a surface finish to blend in with the surroundings.

It will be useful for the Forum to work more closely with the Riverside Walk team and sit on the project team.

Jane Apostolou, Steering Group

Jane mentioned that the HTCP is able to write letters of support for the Forum where appropriate.

There was a discussion of the options for changing the route of the Riverside Walk around the Warnham Nature Reserve and golf course.

Ruth suggested that it may be possible for the Riverside Walk team to bid for some of the LEP sustainable transport money and for this to include payment for professional project management.

Louise Goldsmith may also be interested in ways that the Riverside Walk aligns with her “Five Bold Ideas” for attracting visitors and future high wage earners to West Sussex.

Mannings Heath cycle route

Peter to produce a report on the route.


Southwater cycle route

No update.

Dutchells Copse foot/cycle path

Francis explained this came about through Councillor Andrew Baldwin’s support using s106 money from the Novartis site redevelopment and has already been built. Although only 2m wide (it should have been a minimum of 3m to meet guidance) the path has been transformed. It is now easy to ride, even uphill.

Francis is waiting to hear back from Councillor Baldwin about progress on the promised dropped kerbs and signage.


Task & Finish group

No update.

WSCF meeting

This Thursday in Horsham (guest speaker Roger Geffen CTC). Ruth, Peter and Mark will be attending.

North of Horsham

Ruth and Peter attended the Reference Group meeting on Movement. Following our campaign, much of the meeting was given over to a PR job on cycling. Underpasses were painted in a bad light and there were very weak explanations as to why they would not be possible – the key reason was that WSCC has simply not asked for them. Liberty seemed to be unaware of the weaknesses in their approach to cycling infrastructure generally.

Councillors questioned the congestion issues – but without details of the further transport assessments (Liberty will not make them public until the planning application) it was hard to challenge Liberty and WSCC’s reassurances that everything would be OK.

The Missing Link railway underpass is now part of the plan – but without a direct link to Wimland Road, instead looping back along the footpath to Bush Lane. There is a proposal for a bridge at the Rusper Road roundabout, but its exact location and how it will avoid damage to the motte and bailey castle is not clear.

We were given the opportunity to raise further questions with Claire Vickers.

Ruth, Peter 

Jane Apostolou has written about the underpass and will give us a copy of the letter.

Jane Apostolou

Election of officers

Neil Clarke has stood down as Chair due to increased work commitments and the post of Secretary has been vacant for some time.

Ruth Fletcher was proposed by Peter Silburn and seconded by Ronald Vimpany and elected as Chair.

Peter Silburn was proposed by Ruth Fletcher, seconded by Ronald Vimpany and elected as Secretary.

Ronald Vimpany agreed to join the existing members of the Steering Group (Ruth, Peter, Francis, Neil, Mark, David Algar and Philip Ayerst).

Any other business

The issue of obstructive phone signs at the Parsonage Road level crossing has been raised with Network Rail.

Geoff suggested a Forum-branded sign (T-shirt? backpack cover?) to wear saying thank you to motorists for passing safely. Peter can provide copies of the “upright bike” logo.


Ronald brought along a copy of the Forty Plus Cycling Club newsletter where there is a comment on the Horsham bike rack debacle. Peter to circulate.


Jane Apostolou suggested making more use of Neighbourhood Councils when raising problems with potholes etc.

Date of next meeting

7:30pm on Tuesday 3rd November in the Parham Room, County Hall North, WSCC, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham.

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

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