Minutes of the HDCF meeting 2nd Feb 2016

Attendees: Philip Ayerst, Geoff Bragg, Cllr Jonathan Chowen (Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead), Ruth Fletcher (Chair), Peter Silburn (Secretary), Graham Sitton (Forest NC/Blueprint), Paul Taylor, Francis Vernon

Apologies: Greg Collins, Chris Moon (Sussex Police), Neil Worth (HDC Community Safety)

We were especially pleased to welcome Cllr Jonathan Chowen, Deputy Leader of HDC and Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture.

Approval of previous minutes

Approved unamended.

Progress updates and discussions

ASL butterfly loops not detecting cyclists

We have contacted the council but we had an unsatisfactory reply with no action being taken. Peter to contact again about adjusting the sensors to better detect bikes.


Riverside Walk

Need to follow up re offer of a committee place.


Comptons Lane crossing

We have forwarded our initial comments and are awaiting a response from Morwen Millson.


Cycle parking at County Hall North

Andy Mouland has confirmed that there will be covered visitor parking at County Hall North, although probably not under the undercroft. There is currently additional cycle parking at the side of CHN through the metal gates (ask security for access).


Cycle parking at the Pavilions

No further response received. Jonathan Chowen confirmed that with the ongoing capacity issues and the new high ropes course, a redesign of the landscaping/car parking is likely to be taking place very soon, so this is an opportune moment.

We outlined our ideas about increasing cycle parking capacity (urgently needed) and how improving cycle access into the car park and onwards into the park itself could get more families cycling and walking to the park, freeing up parking space and increasing total footfall for the Pavilions, Conservatory Café and other attractions. We asked to have the opportunity to be involved in the design discussions. Jonathan will come back to us.

Black Horse Way

Horsham Blueprint are asking for ideas on the future of Black Horse Way via their Stickyworld interactive portal. Francis has made some comments and Peter has collated and sent further comments from the steering group.

Hilliers cycle parking

Francis has been in touch with regard to their new parking plans and their intention to improve the current (non-existent) cycle parking. They have been sent a copy of our briefing document.

Former Novartis site

Initial plans for combined use as a science park and housing were published in the press. Parking, traffic movements and cycle links between the site and the town centre, railway station, Collyers etc. need consideration and comment. This is potentially an opportunity to get a new crossing over the railway and a traffic-free route to the station; it may also link in with redevelopment of Hurst Road. All comments welcome.

Steering group

Philip emphasised the need to plan for cycle access at a very early stage and asked for informal consultation on this. Jonathan agreed to come back to us.

Sunday car parking charges

HDC are planning to introduce Sunday car parking charges. A petition against this has been raised. The steering group has stated that it does not support the petition: the priority must be to improve conditions so that cycling and walking into the town centre are made more attractive options.

Cycle parking at the Bishopric

Paul Taylor had previously contacted us with his concerns about the lack of cycle parking now that the railings have been removed for the new crossing. We have passed these on to HDC and have now been invited to contribute our suggestions.  A suitable location for 3 or 4 new Sheffield-type stands on the west side of Albion Way was agreed. It was agreed that the total cycle parking within the pedestrianised area needs to be doubled. The exact locations will depend on major landscaping work that is due soon. The forum believes this needs to include proper cycle access across the Lynd Cross area bringing more trade to the shops and providing north-south and east-west cycle access for the town centre (as outlined in our briefing document Joined-up cycling).

Jonathan Chowen will try to get the forum into the conversation. Peter to contact Clive Burley about the immediate cycle parking need.


Parsonage Road cycle lanes

Despite good publicity in the WSCT and support from several councillors, the response from WSCC and HDC has been disappointing. We are continuing to ask for the Stage 2 Safety Audit and other documents. It is still possible to improve the road layout.

This is an important example of the systemic problems we are facing: even with a willing developer and no space or money constraints, WSCC and HDC have failed to meet their promises to improve conditions for cycling with the result that we have ended up with something which is less safe than it was before. If no documents are forthcoming soon, we will put in a FoI request.

Ruth, Peter

Removal of  “No Cycling” sign on Old Wickhurst Lane

We have succeeded in getting the illegal “No cycling” sign removed from the top end of Old Wickhurst Lane. Further down the road is still a private road/public footpath. There is still no access to the Downs Link and residents are still not permitted to cycle along it from their houses to Tesco/Broadbridge Heath.

Jonathan Chowen is aware of discussions within the parish of issues here. He explained that negotiations for the quadrant have been slow and frustrating. The meeting discussed the need for cycle routes to be planned in at the beginning of the process and that the NPPF contains requirements for prioritising sustainable transport, including cycling, which HDC could make more effective use of in their discussions with developers and the Highways authority. The forum will welcome any opportunity to be involved in access plans for the Quadrant and new leisure centre. Jonathan will get back to us.

LSTF route

We have eventually received the snagging list (although not a defect list) from WSCC. Despite our by now very low expectations this is still extremely disappointing. It contains almost nothing of substance and does not address the items which were previously agreed with Nigel Bird.

There was a discussion about whether or not to continue “banging our heads against a brick wall”. We had excellent support from forum members and others for our Ride the Route day last October. Despite our continued efforts however, it seems that no lessons have been learned from this disastrous project which failed to deliver a meaningful cycle route and squandered scarce cycle funding.

TROs for Carfax and Wickhurst Lane cycle contraflows

Despite being agreed as part of the LSTF work, neither of these TROs have been completed due to a failure by the LSTF team to erect the correct signage. WSCC Legal Services have assured us that they still expect the TROs to go ahead. Peter to follow up with Peter Smith. Philip to follow up with Chris Stark. Ruth to follow up with Becky Caney if no further action.

Additional crossing on Albion Way opposite Waitrose

This is apparently going ahead. Philip to pass on the planning details.


“Horsham Town Vision”

HDC is producing plans for the town centre and Hurst Road although the details are sketchy. We have contacted Clive Burley for more details and are awaiting a reply.

Blueprint event

Horsham Blueprint are organising a public engagement event in Swan Walk on the 8th – 10th April. Ruth, Peter, Graham to attend, more volunteers needed.

Ruth, Peter

Horsham Association of Local Councils (HALC)

We have been given a 10 min slot on Mon 25th April. Ruth, Peter to attend, more volunteers needed.

Ruth, Peter

Cycling in Southwater parish

The forum was happy to agree to a request to meet to discuss the forum’s ideas on cycling in Southwater. Unfortunately the meeting has had to been postponed due to illness.

The results of the Southwater Neighbourhood Plan Questionnaire are now available online:

  • 82% said cycling is important or very important (NB more than were concerned about traffic jams at the A24 roundabouts).
  • There is support for traffic-free routes, on-road provision and 20mph, especially outside schools.
  • 35% mention poor surface on the Downs Link as a problem.
  • 163 people say they walk to Christ’s Hospital station and over 300 that they walk to other destinations at Christ’s Hospital (strong evidence for the need to retain and improve the bridleway which is under threat of closure).

It is disappointing that there was nothing specifically on improving the Red Routes, that the questions lumped walking and cycling together and that there were no questions on the desire to have a safe cycle route to Horsham or other destinations outside the village.

WSCC’s Task and Finish Group

The “RATE” software tool developed by Sustrans is now available. We will need to input our wish list of routes. There is a WSCF meeting at Chichester 2pm on 5th Feb to work through any issues.

Steering group members and Geoff will try out the tool and discuss. We will meet again next week to ensure that we get our proposed routes correctly added into RATE.

Ruth, Geoff

We expect to add the routes listed in our response submitted to HDC’s request for improvements to the Infrastructure Delivery Plan. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for additional routes that should be included.

Chichester Infrastructure Workshop

The Cycling Infrastructure Design Workshop originally planned for March has been postponed until the autumn due to the organiser being knocked off her bike.

Comments on planning applications

Philip has submitted comments on application in Storrington, Hop Oast roundabout, 4 Brighton Rd and Landmark House in North Street.

The process is still bedding down and further work is needed on developing the “kit of parts”.

Philip, Ruth

Discussion on the future direction of the forum

We have had a busy twelve months with the Missing Link protest in February, the Cycling Summit in June, riding the LSTF route in October and the Parsonage Road protest in December which was organised at very short notice.

All of these events have generated considerable media coverage resulting in raising our profile and increasing our support base. Meanwhile we have continued to chip away behind the scenes at meetings as well as sending countless emails!

Becoming more effective

We are however continuing to spread ourselves very thinly, and with little tangible progress it is difficult to sustain enthusiasm. To continue to be effective we are therefore proposing to focus on three key areas:

  • Tackling systemic problems

This will build on the ongoing work of forging greater engagement with councils, parishes, Blueprint etc., as well as working with the West Sussex Cycle Forum at county level.

  • Creating a “headline” campaign which is achievable in the medium term, one which brings tangible benefits and galvanises wide support.

There are several possible candidates such as surfacing the Downs Link.

  • Creating a clear vision that compliments and provides a context to the library of briefing documents and guidance document on the website.

We will continue our “reactive” activities such as responding to issues as they arise (whether major issues such as the North of Horsham development or issues raised by members of the public) as well as commenting on planning applications.

Downs Link surfacing

This is a long established and very popular route which is flat and direct and goes between places people want to get to (towns, villages and the seaside). It is popular precisely because it provides an attractive place for the whole family to ride in safety away from heavy traffic. With a sealed all-weather surface and good quality links to Horsham and other population areas it could become a “gateway” route along the lines of the Two Tunnels route near Bath.

If offers the potential to link up with other routes to form part of a larger network of longer distance routes (e.g. the Cuckoo Trail/Avenue Verte).

Change to bi-monthly meetings

To enable us to focus more effectively we are considering making the regular forum meetings bi-monthly. The steering group would continue to meet informally between meetings to keep the momentum going.


Paul Taylor raised the issue of poor design of road junctions for cyclists on the A264/A24.

Date of next meeting

7:30pm on Tuesday 5th April in the Bodiam Room, County Hall North, WSCC, Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham. Please enter by the side entrance. Cycle parking is available.

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