Cycle route through Alexandra Park on the cards?

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Proposals for a cycle route in Alexandra Park will be on the agenda on Monday (January 4).

Hastings Borough Council (HBC) began consulting residents on the shared cycle and pedestrian route through the park, drawing up some initial designs back in the summer at a consultation event.

But the plans have split the opinions of residents and park users. A report by Mike Hepworth, the council’s assistant director for environment and place, said 84 people had voiced objections as opposed to 82 in support.

In his report, Mr Hepworth said: “We received one petition with 63 signatories against the proposal.

“However, instead of stating a single petition statement for signatories to acknowledge and add their signature to, it was essentially a collection of comments against the proposed route.

“The consultation prompted very strong feelings both for and against the details of the proposed route.

“The main concerns from opponents of the route focused on safety, signage and enforcement, as well as opposing cycling in the park as a matter of principle.”

Some of the comments against the proposal cite possible conflict between ‘irresponsible cyclists’ and pedestrians. Others said the park was heavily used by dog walkers, people with disabilities and walkers’ groups, saying cyclists could be a nuisance going too fast.

One objector said the park’s paths were not wide enough to create a shared route for cyclists and pedestrians and the park had too many blind corners.

However, supporters said roads around the park were not safe for cyclists and hoped the proposals would make it a ‘welcome safe zone’ for families.

The borough council said it will be working with East Sussex County Council to ensure safety features are paramount in the final design of the route.

Mr Hepworth’s report, which will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Monday, added: “Cycling is recognised as a key health benefit and provision of cycling facilities is supported by government.

“Hastings Borough Council’s development management plan identifies a number of proposed cycle routes in the town, one of which is the route through Alexandra Park.

“East Sussex County Council is supportive of the route and will fully fund its implementation.

“The county council envisages the route will be constructed mid to late 2016.

“The proposed route follows existing footpaths.

“Cycling will not be allowed on footpaths not designated for cycling and cycling will remain prohibited from the majority of footpaths in the park.”

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