Category Listing: Campaign update

Updates on campaigns we are involved with. Note that some articles and news about campaign developments are published only in the members’ area of the site. To see more log in to the site.

Please sign this petition to open up more cycle paths

Please sign this petition to open up more English footpaths for cycling, as is being done in Wales.

This aims to set a default for public rights of way to become multi-use for cycling or horse-riding, EXCEPT where it could be shown to be harmful to people, nature, historic features or ancient monuments.

On Hayling Island we have several under-used public footpaths that are desperately needed as cycle paths to make safer cycling, but the landowners won't allow it.

One is the only alternative to the very narrow, 100 year old A3023 with around 25,000 vehicle movements a day. Walkers are few and far between, but the landowner, a farmer, just “doesn’t want” it opened up.

Another is a wide farm track, but the farmer claims it would be dangerous for cyclists, “because of the heavy agricultural vehicle movements”. As if walkers weren’t also at risk (again, not that there are many)!

As I understand it, when rights of way were put on the definitive maps in the 1950’s and 60’s, the decision to make them a footpath or bridleway was pretty arbitrary, and largely unimportant, because you could cycle by road quicker and perfectly safely. Now that traffic is 10 or 20 times busier, it really does matter.

I’m sure any legislation would insert safeguards to protect walkers. But there should be a stronger presumption of cycle access where it is needed for transport and active travel, or to link existing cycle paths, and perhaps less where pure leisure riding would disadvantage existing walkers, or where there are cycling alternatives.

Please get your friends to sign the petition too!

Campaign report February 2022

Here are the campaign updates for February from Mike and Wilf:

Mike Ashton reports:

  • Centurion Way 5k extension: SDNPA issued a stakeholder update on 4th February, which we've published to the PCTC member’s area. A large proportion of our members are stakeholders in this project. I would add that the statement is very welcome and the project is moving ahead faster than anticipated. Members should be reminded that on 10th March there is a Portsmouth CTC Zoom meeting with Alister Linton Crook of SDNPA as the guest speaker. Alister is well placed to respond to questions on this project.
  • Havant Thicket Reservoir Project: Portsmouth CTC has representation on the stakeholders & access groups. Most elements of the planning permission have been granted. Most accesses & routes for cycling & walking through the site have been defined. Funding has been identified for the site access from Middle Park Way via Staunton County Park. Work is being undertaken to remove trees from the reservoir area & the access routes. The northern access route is being designed. For the first time PWC have raised the issue of the possibility of a cycling access route from the north. Papers on local authority planning web sites provide many of the details.
  • Havant Railway Station: The issues of security & weather proofing of cycle storage at the station and of the condition of the footbridge to the west of the station were raised with East Hampshire Community Rail Partnership. EHCPR included these issues in an outstanding audit that has now been conducted. They agreed with the views I expressed. The problems have been forwarded to the railway companies.
  • Park Lane Bridleway between Cowplain & Leigh Park has been allowed to decay into a very poor state of repair. Based on the considerable numbers of cyclists & walkers that used the route when it was in a good state it could be one of the best used non-motorised routes in the borough. Large populations reside at each end but it still seems to be low priority for improvement.
  • Access from Cott Street to Meon Valley Trail in Soberton. British Horse Society are campaigning for an access to MVT at this location. I’ve made HCC Countryside Service aware of the advantages of including cycle access at this location especially for those from the Waterlooville area who might be interested in including part of MVT in a ride.

Wilf Forrow reports:

  • Petersfield Rd / Leigh Rd improvements look to be going ahead, as Hampshire has just announced £650,000 has been approved. We submitted this feedback to the consultation via Sustrans, on top of all our comments on the online map. Thank you to everyone that contributed.
  • As does the Havant College to Station cycle route to the very latest LTN 1/20 specifications. The full cycle route into the town centre, by replacing the old railway footbridge didn't get approved in the original scheme, but the bridge is now rusting away and only being held up by scaffolding, so we hope the negotiations will continue between the councils and National Rail.
  • LTP4 draft is now viewable - Hampshire County Council's draft Local Transport Plan version 4, which will radically change transport in Hampshire over the next 30 years. It's a massive rush to decarbonise transport and make it sustainable, so not surprisingly, cycling and active travel get a huge part. It's huge and complex, and if the 14th Feb meeting approves it, it will be put out for a 12 week consultation. You can see the draft here, scroll down to page 15.
  • Hayling Island's two new cycle paths appear to be as completed as they're going to be - the East-West path from St Mary's Church to Manor Rd, and Mengham Lane to Selsmore Lane, but both with disappointing surfaces and signage. Also, slightly wider paths in Hayling Park, but still no signage or removal of barriers. All very underwhelming and unlikely to encourage everyday cycling. We're chasing.
  • Barriers and signage are now recognised as hindrances to wider cycling, so Hampshire County Council consulted to set future policy in removing barriers to cycling and improving signage across the whole county. You can see the submission I sent in here. Thanks again to everyone that contributed.
  • Sustrans is doing a nationwide barrier audit, and actively removing all physical barriers from the NCN. Joy is using their very impressive barrier audit app on her phone to help out. It's currently only NCN barriers, but it begs the question of whether we can use it to highlight barriers elsewhere too.
  • Hampshire's 20 mph zone policy to refuse future zones was widely condemned, and the council has now set up a working group to review it over the next 6 months. We're trying to make sure we get input.
  • The Highway Code changes have attracted some media controversy, but Cycling UK, Sustrans, Andy and many others have used the publicity to calm and re-educate drivers, hopefully quashing some of the myths, and resulting in more respectful road use.
  • Secure parking in Havant centre - Havant Borough Council have asked us about a secure parking initiative, so thank you for all your thoughts.
  • Gary Hughes is quite influential as a County and Havant Borough Councillor, and is on the HCC Economy, Transport and Environment Select Committee, so when The Portsmouth News reports his objection to Hampshire's proposed £10m budget for cycling, Tim Pickering and I wrote to him and got our own letter published. He thinks cycling is only for leisure and shouldn't be subsidised, whereas we say utility cycling would pay for itself in reducing other traffic and health benefits. But of course, leisure cycling, which makes our lives more pleasant, will get the benefits for free, too.

Secure cycle parking

Havant’s Councillor Tim Pike has asked me for our views on secure bike parking in Havant town centre. And in particular, would it encourage more utility cycling, to work, to shops or for leisure and social.

Stats from London suggest that bike theft deters about a quarter of the population, and about a third of bike thefts put people off riding, temporarily or permanently. And with the growing number of expensive e-bikes, we need to do something about it.

One suggestion Havant is considering is a secure room at the Meridian Centre, accessible from outside, access controlled by a key fob or SmartPhone app.  

You'd still have to lock the bike, but with controlled access and CCTV, it would be much, much more secure (and dry!). The initial target market might be workers in or near the Meridian, more than occasional shoppers, but getting regular commuters out of cars is our best hope of reducing traffic, pollution and CO2 emissions. And if it works, we can expand it.

Cycle Hub at Waltham Forest
Cycle Hub at Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest now has 7 such Cycle Hubs, and nearer here, there's also one at Worthing Cycle Hub. They currently charge around £30 a year per bike to cover the CCTV, key fobs and other admin costs, but for regular commuters, that's still peanuts beside rail fares or car commuting and parking. Havant hope to do introductory offers and/or employer sponsorship to make it even more attractive. And hopefully costs will come down over time, as it moves from relatively expensive key fobs to smartphones, and it will be possible to 'pay as you go' without the annual commitment.

So, we'd like to know what you think:

  • Would people use it, especially people who currently drive?
  • How much do you think people would be prepared to pay?
  • Would they be prepared to pay an annual up-front cost?
  • Does it matter whether it's a key fob or a smartphone app?
  • How important is it to cater for trikes, cargo bikes and trailers (early ones didn't)?
  • Or do you think Havant would be better to just spend the money on lots more Sheffield stands?

PLease give us your thoughts at the bottom, or email Wilf9@forrow.com.

Hampshire consultation on staggered barriers

Very many thanks to everyone who contributed so brilliantly on Hampshire's staggered barriers consultation, below or separately. You can see the submission I sent in here. I also included previous documents on anti-motorbike barriers that only keep out legitimate users, and about the Lethal Bollards on NCN22 at Farlington Marsh, which we haven't been able to remove yet. Apologies if I missed yours. Continue reading

Havant Thicket Reservoir - planning applications

Portsmouth Water has submitted its planning applications to Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council. See here and here for the reservoir applications and here for the pipeline application.

Click here to see glossy overviews of the plan prepared by Portsmouth Water. It's clearly a major undertaking with the potential to deliver considerable benefits to the area.

I recently recce'd the area's 'circular' bike route for a possible U3A ride and found it an unpleasant experience, so I was looking forward to some good news.

Unfortunately, as this outline plan shows there's no circular bike route in the plan. I couldn't find the document that describes the cycle path and crest path surfaces (let me know if you spot it - there are a lot of documents) but I fear there will not be a suitable circular route for any wheeled users. That's at least one major missed opportunity.

You can submit comments via the links above. Please submit them directly - the more people that respond in their own words, the better. You have until 4th December for HBC, and 14th December for EHDC.

Gear change for cycling and walking!

Well the government has blown me away with the latest announcements on cycling! The Gear Change for cycling and walking is not so much a Gear Changer - more of a Game Changer. It's far and away the most radical leap forward in my lifetime.

And it has the full political backing of Boris Johnson, who has form on cycling from his time as London Mayor, and has realised that his near-death Covid-19 experience was made far worse by his weight and lack of exercise.

Here are just some of the highlights (and there are a lot) :

  1. Gear Change: The master document here. Recommended reading!
  2. A new Highway Code, including a hierarchy of users, cycle priority at junctions, safe passing distances.
  3. Radical new Design Standards (LTN 1/20), which will be expected to be used by Local Authorities and developers, regardless of public funding or not, and no public money on schemes which don't comply.
  4. Shared paths to be banned, except where there is absolutely no other solution.
  5. Active Travel England as enforcement 'with teeth', headed by a new Cycling and Walking Commissioner.
  6. Health, environment and community benefits to be given full weight when judging schemes.
  7. Long-term cycling & walking programme with significant budget, like the roads programme and budget.
  8. All new local and strategic A road schemes will provide for cycling.
  9. All new housing and business developments to prioritise sustainable travel.
  10. Local authorities to get more traffic control powers, including fines.
  11. Less rat-running and more low-traffic neighbourhoods.
  12. More School Streets to protect children.
  13. Hard, smooth, level all-weather surfaces as standard.
  14. Action on bike theft, more bike parking.
  15. Bike training for every child and adult that wants it.
  16. E-Bike support programme, including loans and subsidies.
  17. Higher safety standards for lorries.
  18. Improve and extend the National Cycle Network.
  19. Mini-Hollands to be funded for 12 local authorities.
  20. Create at least one zero-emission city.

The best write-up I've seen on it so far has been from the legendary Carlton Reid here.

When will the Havant area see any of the benefits? Well even under the accelerated timescales being proposed, it might take months or years to put in new cycle paths, which won't be easy. But we'll see £50 fix your bike vouchers as soon as their website stops crashing, and training for kids and adults fairly soon.

Game Changer is the only way to describe it.

Appeal for CycleWatchers

Appeal for CycleWatchers, anywhere, but especially around Gosport and Fareham.

Could you be at Bridgemary around at 11am on Tuesday 2nd July? There’s a stakeholder viewing for the Eclipse Busway extension between Tichborne Way and Rowner Road, and our Right to Ride reps can’t make it.

[Update: 11-12 is a preview for stakeholder groups like us, but it’s also open to the public from 1pm to 7pm if that’s easier for you. The more people that turn up, of course, the better.]

All you have to do is turn up, say you’re from Cycling UK, ask how it will improve cycling, so they know we’re watching, then report back.

We particularly need more CycleWatch support in the Gosport and Fareham area, and without more cyclists pushing the councils, they could de-prioritise cycling even more than they do now.

So what’s a CycleWatcher? It’s someone who wants to see better cycle infrastructure, but isn’t ready to become a full cycle campaigner. They just watch out for issues affecting everyday cycling where they are, and report them to Mike Ashton or me, Wilf Forrow. They can do as much or as little as they want.

Some examples of useful things CycleWatchers could do:

  • Tell us if cycle paths need attention, or vegetation cutting back.
  • Highlight improvements needed, to routes, signage, parking, etc.
  • Watch out for local road ‘improvements’ or planning applications that might affect cycling.
  • Estimate numbers of cyclists, count bikes parked at shops, etc.
  • Chivvy their councillors to better support cycling.
  • Ask for cycle parking at local businesses, shops, health centres, dentists, etc.
  • Spread the message about everyday cycling!

If you think you might be able to help, in Gosport or Fareham, or anywhere, let me know.

Thanks, Wilf

Havant's new Cycling and Walking Plan!

Havant Borough Council has announced that it will be starting work on a formal Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan shortly.

This is REALLY important because :

  • A formal plan unlocks much more future government funding
  • Implementing it becomes a formal policy of the whole council, not just the cycling team
  • It forces developers to show how their housing plans fit into OUR bigger plan
  • It forces all of us to plan for the best long term solution, rather than just for quick wins

Continue reading