WSCC appoints a new Head of Highways

WSCC has appointed Nicola Debnam, who has previously worked for Cambridgeshire County Council, to the post of Director of Highways and Transportation.

We have written to Nicola outlining the key issues for cycling in Horsham.

Dear Nicola,

Welcome to West Sussex! I am writing to introduce the Horsham District Cycling Forum. We were set up under the Community Partnerships and seek to provide a voice for local people who already cycle and for all those who would cycle if the conditions were right. We are available as a source of local knowledge and cycling experience and to be a constructive partner with councils and other organisations in the community.

While KSIs for car users fall, the number of cyclists killed and seriously injured on West Sussex roads is actually rising. In Horsham town and Broadbridge Heath, only about 1% of total journeys were by bike, but 21% of serious/fatal injuries were to cyclists. WSCC’s own Local Transport Plan, LTP3, says the current provision of cycling facilities within Horsham is “not sufficient to support and maintain sustainable travel”. Few children cycle to school. In town, adults are increasingly riding on the pavement and elsewhere the opportunity to cycle is seriously limited because there is no alternative to risking fast and busy roads.

So, there is a long way to go! We look forward to working with you so that Horsham can benefit from your experience of implementing cycling infrastructure in Cambridgeshire. The current key issues in Horsham are explained below.

Horsham: key issues for cycling:

1) Weak cycling policy and delivery: Both LTP3 and the HDPF are very weak on cycling. We lack: cycling officers, cycle-proofing of new highway works and the ability to use planned maintenance to improve cycle infrastructure. The councils are left unable to secure the maximum cycling benefits from developers and from sustainable transport funding. Money is wasted on sub-standard cycling infrastructure. Cycle provision falls into a gap between district and county councils and is ‘tacked on’ afterwards –if at all. Highways provision is not subject to effective scrutiny and there is a lack of effective community consultation.

We feel strongly that WSCC needs a stronger cycling policy with clear objectives, expert personnel and strong leadership. Without better infrastructure, behavioural change initiatives and training are wasting money.

2) North of Horsham strategic development: Up to 2500 houses, business park, schools etc. which can only be reached by crossing the very busy A264 (45,000+ vehicles per day). There was no serious consideration for cycling in the planning framework documents.

On-and off-site cycle provision is core infrastructure that needs to be an integral part of all planning and viability assessments and it needs to be funded and delivered in a timely manner.

The 5 massive new junctions need an urgent rethink to provide safe, direct and convenient crossings (underpasses) for pedestrians and cyclists. See our letter and briefing here: A264 junctions urgent rethink

3) Horsham’s Missing Link: a safe completion of the Horsham-Crawley WSCC/Sustrans cycle route using the railway underpass. This needs to be put back in the Infrastructure Delivery Plans. See our new campaign leaflet and poster: Horsham’s Missing Link

4) Southwater-Horsham cycle links: These two major settlements are only 3 miles apart but there is no safe cycle route. The main road is very dangerous and there is no good alternative. We have put forward suggestions for change in the attached documents: Horsham Southwater Routes and Possible Cycle and Pedestrian Routes

5) Town centre cycle access: The dual carriageway inner ring road and pedestrianised areas mean that it is hard to get into and across the centre of Horsham by bike. Large current developments should be an opportunity to create new cycle links into and across the Bishopric –but this does not seem to be happening. See more detail in the attached document: Joined-up cycling

6) All-weather surfacing of alternative safe routes: There are tens of millions of pounds being spent locally on major roads that are too fast and dangerous for ordinary people to cycle on and have no cycle provision. By contrast, alternative routes like the Downslink and Pedlar’s Way are unusable for utility trips and general leisure trips because they are unsealed and badly maintained. WSCC are currently unwilling to change this.

7) Local Links: There are many possible local links through cul-de-sacs or off-road paths that should be signed and improved to make cycling more direct and attractive compared with using a car. For example, see the attached document: Space for cycling -Quiet Links

8) Broadbridge Heath Quadrant: With the forthcoming redevelopment there are opportunities for good cycle links both within the quadrant and linking it to the A24 cycle/footbridge, West of Horsham, Christ’s Hospital station and to Broadbridge Heath itself.

9) West of Horsham Transport Package: Although this package makes much of the cycling benefits, the major work is to improve vehicle capacity on several large roundabouts. Disappointingly, there is no cycle provision apart from a single cycle crossing which does not appear to form part of a safe, direct, continuous and convenient cycling route.


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