We will oppose damage to Alexandra Park, our beautiful Hastings park

From: Bea Rogers, Wellington Square, Hastings

Monday, 3rd December 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 3:33 am

John Hywels has made some strong points (“New proposals have surfaced,” Letters, 23 November).

The county council’s proposed cycle route – assumed dumped with all the other spending cuts – has been brought back to life with no consultation.

I agree with John that safe provision for cyclists could easily be made along Upper and Lower Park Roads without trashing our beautiful park. It is doubtful whether this would help much in any case because the cycle route simply feeds onto a difficult roundabout and then the cycling nightmare of Queens Road.

This is also not a safe route for the cyclists themselves: there are dangerous choke-points at bridges across the streams, steep inclines going round blind bends and ending up in the Harmers Lane car park, and conflict with residents of the sheltered housing at the top end of the park who often use the lane leading into the park.

We do not yet have the final scheme, and there is no sign of the safety audit that should precede any changes in the park. Yet Hastings Council have refused to give this any proper scrutiny and have even claimed that it does not need a planning application, even though this would do quite a lot of damage to the landscape of this Grade II* listed park.

I am all for good, safe cycle routes. Unfortunately, Hastings is particularly unsuited to this because of the steep hills and channelling of traffic on a few major roads which are also too narrow for cycle lanes.

Putting pedestrians at risk is not the answer to this problem, and yet this is what the two councils are proposing to do. Even though it is illegal under the park by-laws, the cycling groups have told people that they can now ride through the park and many are now doing this at excessive speeds and around blind corners.

There have been many near-misses, confrontations and actual collisions with people who were simply enjoying the park as a traffic-free green space where children can run around and so can dogs (on long leads in the lower park).

People with disabilities are particularly at risk.

The Friends of Alexandra Park have been strongly opposed to this scheme and will continue to challenge any damage to the park, and risks to people using it.