Concerns over cycle routes

May I raise concerns about two cycle routes proposed to intersect and run the length and breadth of Alexandra Park?

According to maps published in the Hastings Walking and Cycling Strategy, cycle route 2 (Combe Valley to Silverhill) and route 3 (Silverhill to Conquest Hospital) will be designed for mixed-use (cyclists one side and pedestrians the other) on existing narrow paths within the park.

I heartily support a strategy to deliver a better and more comprehensive network of cycle routes for Hastings and St Leonards. I believe in encouraging healthier lifestyles and supporting a cleaner environment.

However, after my experience of using numerous urban parks where such mixed-use routes have been adopted and misused, nothing will convince me that this is a suitable option for Hastings’ jewel in the crown (Grade ll listed) Alexandra Park.

If the current proposals go ahead I imagine there will be all sorts of accidents and confrontations between cyclists, dog walkers, disabled people and children. The problem will be made worse by steep slopes – some cyclists will be going fast downhill and walkers won’t necessarily see or hear them before it is too late. The tranquil haven of this glorious park will be lost forever.

I understand that Hastings Borough Council agreed the strategy (Shaping Hastings Newsletter May 2014), with the proviso that there would be an extensive consultation process with ‘interested parties’ but I have yet to see any evidence of this: park users I have spoken to are simply not aware of it.

Surely it is urgent that the public are given the chance to be consulted and make comments before it is too late and the routes are simply imposed upon the park?

John Hywel Williams

Hillside Road