Decision made on controversial cycle route through Hastings park

Proposals to create a new cycle path in Hastings have been given the go-ahead.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 2:34 pm
Updated Monday, 28th September 2020, 2:48 pm
Alexandra Park in Hastings

Cllr Claire Dowling, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for transport and environment, approved proposals on Monday (September 28) to create a new cycle route passing through Alexandra Park and around the Shornden Reservoir into Silverhill.

The proposals would see existing footpaths within the park converted into shared cycle and walking routes. 

Two crossing points on Dordrecht Way – a short road which intersects Alexandra Park – are also to become cycle crossings under the proposals.

This had seen objections from some residents, mainly focused on concerns about the safety of pedestrians using the crossing. 

In a letter read at the meeting, local resident Barbara Rogers said: “This particular junction between Dordrecht Way and the A2101 is quite a complex one and if the cycle route is created so close to the junction it creates a risk of collisions between drivers, pedestrians and cyclists themselves.” 

Mrs Rogers also raised concerns about increased traffic in the area, should vehicles need to wait longer at the junction. 

Officers refuted the safety concerns, saying a road safety audit had been carried out on the proposed crossing.

There would also be signs and surface markings to warn cyclists of the approaching junction, as well as signage to warn vehicles using Dordrecht Way.

Ward councillor Godfrey Daniel (Lab) said: “I recognise those concerns that were articulated … in that letter. There is an element of truth to most of that, but I think we are where we are in terms of this particular project.

“One thing I am not happy about is the suggestion that the borough council would monitor what is happening. I don’t think they’ve got the staff or the capacity to do so.

“That isn’t an attack on any particular individual, but to my knowledge – and I was on the borough council for many, many years – our park ranger team is very, very small and very limited in these respects.”

Cllr Daniel also asked for assurances that the other footpaths within the park would be marked as non-cycling routes. 

Officers said this would be unlikely as Historic England had expressed a desire not to “litter” the park with the cycle routes’ design.

They also confirmed the borough council had been discussed about the monitoring of the arrangements.

Funding for the scheme comes from various sources, including: Local Growth Fund monies secured through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP); the county council’s capital programme for local transport improvements; and development contributions.

The plan sparked deabte on the Hastings Observer Facebook page:

Adrian Cload said: “Why not make one footpath on one side of the road for bikes and the footpath the other side of the road for pedestrians and keep bikes out of the park? Bikes have no place in the park.”

Rose Mason said: “If people showed consideration for each other instead we could all move along nicely.”

Peter Hopgood said: “Stupid idea, shared paths are the worst of both worlds. Make the footpath on the east side of Upper and Lower Park Road cycle only and let people use the park for relaxation and leisure.”
But Linda Moon said: “Bikes should be allowed in parks. I’m quite careful and respectful when riding. I don’t fly by like a maniac.”

Jan Goldsmith said: “The walkways are only just wide enough to allow pedestrians to pass each other when obeying social distancing. Having to avoid cyclists is going to be a nightmare”