LETTER: Stop greying our green spaces

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Your report, ‘where is new park greenway?’ reports pressure from some cyclists to speed up the start of installing a cycle route through the length of Alexandra Park, as part of a proposed ‘greenway’.

The concept is well-intentioned but fundamentally flawed.

I used to ride a bike all over London but I hardly ever do in Hastings. Why? Because its layout is so difficult for cycling. There are very few through routes in and out of the town, and lots of very steep hills. What would really help cyclists would be a safe route along Queens Road and London Road, leading to the A2101/ A21, but there is no space for this on the roads, and no realistic alternative route.

The ‘greenway’ gives the illusion of helping cyclists where they don’t really need it, by converting pedestrian-only paths in the park or constructing a new vehicle route across the much-threatened Speckled Wood in Ore. Far from ‘greening’ this is more like ‘greying’ our precious green spaces.

I am pro-cycling, but never at the expense of pedestrians. When I was a local councillor (in London) I put through many cycling improvement measures. But this would never be at the expense of pedestrian space or safety. That should be the principle applied here.

There are also many questions about us having to pay for this through our council tax. I have formally asked Hastings Council to guarantee that none of their funds would be used for this scheme, which is promoted by East Sussex County Council. They could be paying out of the parks budget (itself severely cut) for installing the huge number of signs expected in the park and putting in coloured surfaces to paths so that cyclists can use them (and pedestrians can avoid them) plus ongoing maintenance, insurance and possible changes after the six-month ‘review’ which they have offered.

Weeks later, I am still waiting for a reply on this.

I note that your report, ‘Lack of street lighting an issue’ mentions that approval by English Heritage is required for these proposed changes to our Grade II park. Let’s hope they will safeguard our park even if our councils won’t.

If there is a solution to the real problems of cyclists into and out of the town centre, go for it. If not, stop pretending you are really helping anybody by greying our green spaces.

Bea Rogers

Wellington Square

Hastings

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