The Eastbourne Herald for 19th September has various cycling items, the biggest being news of the Tour of Britain passing through Eastbourne last week.
There is a good piece on the Tour of Britain, mentioning Bespoke, but mainly about the hard work put into supporting the tour’s visit to town by other cycling groups around town. There are also two pages of fantastic pictures of the race sent in by excited readers. These pictures show the crowds and high level of support there was for the race in Eastbourne. We hope they visit again!
The letters page has three cycling related entries.
The first is very disappointing and comes from Ray Blakeborough of The Piazza in Sovereign Harbour, and it specifically singles out Bespoke for criticism.
Mr Blakeborough points to a report by NICE stating that councils should develop safe walking and cycling strategies to encourage safe walking and cycling strategies. This is true, and something that Bespoke supports.
He also points out that by 2016 it is hoped to have £600 million available to support these strategies. We believe this is just what MP’s are asking for, and have criticised David Cameron for not delivering on.
Mention is made of a multi-million pound pedestrian area from the station to shopping centre in Lewes being built, this isn’t quite true. The scheme mentioned is actually a slight widening of the very narrow pavement up Station Street. It is actually part of the same LSTF funding that is being shared with Eastbourne developing our cycle routes. Here’s a view of the current road from Google, as you can see, it’s very narrow and needs safety work carried out.
Bespoke are accused of taking the promenade away from walkers from 2015 and this isn’t the case. Bespoke have asked for a safe seafront route, as it’s the one most people ask us about. East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council both have ambitions to provide a route here in line with the Eastbourne Cycling Strategy. The route chosen by East Sussex County Council to develop is using the top prom where possible, and making this shared space. The lower prom next to the sea from the Pier to Holywell will remain off limits to those on bicycles. There will be widening work carried out in places where ESCC think the route is too narrow for both cyclists and pedestrians. Dedicated cycle lanes would be great, but ESCC believe the shared space approach is safest and best for all users.
Bespoke are also accused of targeting the tranquillity of Sovereign Harbour’s walkways for cycling. Some members were told they can’t cycle there with children, but after we investigated we believe the prom and quaysides (apart from the private ones such as The Waterfront) do actually allow cycling. We have asked ESCC as the Highways Authority to confirm this, and we hope to hear back soon. In the meantime we have withdrawn our map showing the harbour as allowing cycling as a gesture of goodwill as we don’t want to encourage anyone to break the law. Once the situation has been clarified by ESCC, we will update our advice accordingly. We’re not asking for a change in status, just what their current status actually is.
Finally claiming Bespoke has no sense of community is wrong. We are actively trying to boost well being across Eastbourne with improved cycling and pedestrian facilities. Just take a look at the Old Town Cycleway section of website. Over 1,500 people have signed our petition to create a cycleway that will provide safer access to 10 different schools for children along it’s proposed route.
Paul Humphreys of Chichester Close writes in to support Bespoke (thank you Paul) and confirms that our local councils are not just caving into Bespoke pressure, but are following their own Transport Plan.
Finally regular writer Andy Adams of Trossach Close writes about the Tour of Britain. Oh dear!