Minutes of the HDCF meeting 5th April 2016

Attendees: Philip Ayerst, Geoff Bragg, Ruth Fletcher (Chair), Rosemary French OBE (Gatwick Diamond), Pam Goodall, John Nicholas, Stella Sharp, Peter Silburn (Secretary), Peter & Peggy Streamer, Norman Symonds, Mark Treasure, Mark Trimmer (Sussex Safer Roads), Francis Vernon

Apologies: Clive Burley (HDC), Cllr Jonathan Chowen, Greg Collins, Gordon Easden (Crawley Cycle Forum), Geoff Farrell (WSCF), Graham Sitton (Forest NC/Blueprint), Peter Smith (WSCF)

We were especially pleased to welcome Rosemary French OBE, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative.

Approval of previous minutes

Approved unamended.

Matters arising

Cycle parking at the Pavilions

Awaiting a response from Steve Hawker.


Former Novartis site

A developer has not yet been appointed, so there is still time to work with WSCC.

Steering group

Planning application comments

Philip reported progress in that we have received a response to our comments on a recent application and that as a result of our comments there would now be cycle parking at the Brighton Road site.

Peter Streamer expressed frustration that despite commenting on the need for cycle provision in the HDPF public consultation, there was no response from HDC. It was explained that HDC and the Planning Inspector will have been required to consider his responses, along with over 3000 others. The outcome is the new approved Horsham Local Plan. As planning applications (e.g. from Liberty) come forward it will be necessary for both individuals and organisations to submit any objections or comments again from scratch.

Liberty/North of Horsham

The plan is for the business park to be built first (opening 2017). The first planning application for north of Horsham is now expected in the summer. Now is the time for us and others to engage with Liberty to get the right provision.

At the previous meeting Jonathan Chowen took the following actions:

  • Cycle parking at the Pavilions – being involved at the design stage.
  • Former Novartis site – need to plan for cycle access at an early stage.
  • Cycle parking at the Bishopric – need to be involved in the conversation.
  • Removal of “No Cycling” sign on Old Wickhurst Lane – getting the forum involved in access plans for the Quadrant and new leisure centre.

Jonathan responded:

“I have highlighted your issues to officers at HDC and I hope they can be turned into action. Please don’t hesitate to chase me if necessary as I really appreciate the work your team do.”

Responses from Clive Burley, HDC Planning:

Blackhorse Way (HDCF comments on Horsham Blueprint Stickyworld site)

Agree crossing is poor for all users and in very poor condition – ideally needs redesigning for safety and clarity and to provide a more identifiable link from West St to Forum. One of Town Centre Vision’s key sites is Blackhorse Way – I am interested by the suggestion of making it one way East with cycling contra-flow along whole length to Worthing Road rather than via Furneaux Walk. Has this been considered by yourselves and WSCC Transport Planners?


Insufficient/wrong type of cycling parking to Albion Way west side and in Springfield and Worthing Roads noted. Being reviewed as part of an overall scheme (makeover given limited funds) to improve area.


Let me know if you get any movement on TROs from WSCC for contra-flow cycling.

[No further news – Ruth to follow up with Peter Smith and Becky Caney at WSCC.]


Town Centre Vision

Awaiting a reply? I met with Ruth and briefed on work, not sure there are any outstanding information requests. If the Group want a further briefing please let me know. At this stage please note I will be arranging with Horsham Blueprint a Stakeholder Invitation event to include the Cycling Forum to discuss the emerging Vision. I have pencilled in Friday 13 May either an AM or PM session but as yet to be confirmed.

Peter to get back to Clive Burley.


Progress updates and discussions

Kilnwood Vale cycle access/completing the Horsham to Crawley cycle route

Peter Silburn explained that we have been contacted by the travel plan group from Kilnwood Vale due to calls from the residents for a safe cycle route to Horsham and their concerns that there are good cycle connections in and out of the development.

Rosemary French, speaking on behalf of businesses including those in Manor Royal, called for a high quality commuter route between Horsham and Crawley. With almost 100% employment in the area, good access to work is an important way for companies to attract employees. Cycling provides both affordable transport for lower wage employees and is a positive lifestyle choice for others.

She was clear that a direct, flat route alongside the A264 would be the best option for commuting and that West Sussex should not shy away from bold initiatives. The Gatwick Diamond area accounts for 75% of West Sussex business. Major companies such as Elekta and Welland want cycle routes. The new Virgin Leonardo building is a good example of modern business taking cycling seriously with cycle racks and showers for employees – they now need a safe cycle network too.

Peter Streamer’s son works at Elekta and he agreed that the lack of a safe cycle route to Crawley is a real concern.

Money is available through the C2C LEP, Manor Royal and developers for sustainable transport projects such as this.

Ruth Fletcher mentioned that the recent WSCC/Sustrans RATE route assessment shows that the initial scoring (admittedly at this stage fairly crude and subject to adjustment) for routes in and around Horsham are very high with the Horsham to Crawley route right near the top of over 300 potential routes.

Peter Silburn explained that both the Horsham and Crawley forums recognise the potential for an A264 route, but efforts so far have concentrated on the Missing Link/NCN228 route. Although it is less attractive for commuting, it has the advantage that it could be delivered without delay and at much lower cost. It will benefit leisure cycling, improve safe access to the countryside north of the A264 and provide a cycle route to Horsham for the growing population of Kilnwood Vale.

Mark Treasure pointed out (under AOB) that despite dangerous and unpleasant cycling conditions there are already around 60 cycle trips per day made along the A264 route. The traffic data can be viewed here.

Although no data available, forum members were also aware of further commuters who avoid the A264 and use the NCN228 route to Crawley instead – even though it is longer, hillier and is not suitable for regular use in either the wet or the dark.

The steering group supports quick delivery of the Missing Link/NCN228 route – which would be possible through partnership between WSCC, HDC and Liberty (who control the land alongside the railway which is needed to link with Wimland Road) and will support an A264 route if there is a prospect of achieving the high level support needed to deliver it.

Peter to arrange a meeting with the Kilnwood Vale residents and the Crawley Cycle Forum.


Christs Hospital bridleway diversion

The proposed diversion of the bridleway across Christ’s Hospital was discussed (see here for further details).

There was support for the forum’s position on opposing the order to divert/close the rights of way at Christ’s Hospital.

Please send in your objection if you haven’t done so already (copied to info@hdcf.org.uk so we can update you on the next stage).

Steering group to copy Jeremy Quin MP.


Stella Sharp mentioned that completing the railway section of the Downs Link at Christs Hospital station (rather than having to use the on-road diversion past Weston’s Farm) would greatly improve access to the Downs Link. Western access to the bridge under the railway must deal with the steep slope from the old railway bed. No further details are currently available but this route is in the pipeline pending development at the station site.

Rosemary French said that Cranleigh is packed with cyclists bringing business to the area because of the higher quality of surfacing on the Downs Link in Surrey. WSCC could learn from Surrey about the value of better provision for cycling on our bridleways such as the Downs Link and also in towns. Woking is just one example where investing in good quality cycle routes has brought business to the town.

Update on West Sussex Cycle Strategy

Over 360 routes have been entered into the Sustrans RATE tool. Early indications are that routes in Horsham and the surrounding area will score highly because of the large number of potential users. Strong candidates include the Horsham to Crawley cycle route, an all-weather Downs Link path and town-centre improvements.

The timetable for producing a county-wide cycling strategy has slipped. There is concern and disappointment at the limited extent of consultation so far with cycling forums.

Planning applications

Philip provided an update and there was a discussion on the comments to be put forward by the forum on cycle parking at the Fisher Scientific site on the Broadlands Business Campus.

Date of next meeting

7:30pm on Tuesday 7th June 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