Local Councillors discuss the shortcomings of new cycle routes in town

Bespoke have repeatedly fed-back to East Sussex County Council the short comings of 4 cycle routes they are building in 2022/24. To discuss the problems councillors were invited on Bespoke’s “The Good, Bad and Ugly Cycle Ride”. 4 councillors completed the ride and 1 came to wave the group off.

Afterwards Councillor Murray, Chairman of Planning Committee, stated “I have, for many years known that we should be doing more to encourage cycling in Eastbourne, as the majority of the town is flat it just makes sense. However, we are always being told that we cannot get a connected route across the town, North to South or even East to West. After an informative afternoon with the very knowledgeable Bespoke group, who clearly explained where we could achieve such routes, I am even more convinced that we should stop prevaricating, stop making up excuses as to why we can’t do it and look for the solutions on how we make this work. During Lockdown we all saw the benefits of fresh air and exercise, cycling gives us all that and it is free. “

Here are some examples of what was found on on the ride:-

Good – Everyone was impressed by the Horsey Sewer Cycle Path and could see the logic of extending this ‘shared space’ towards the town centre, across more waste ground and alongside the ESK site

Bad – The new route from the station to the seafront is a long detour along Old Orchard Road to Wilmington Square Gardens. With only painted cycles on the road, vehicles may still continue to ‘close pass’ at 30mph. All the regular cyclists said they would use the shorter alternatives of going up Grove Road and coming back on the 20mph Gildredge Road bus and cycle lane.

Ugly – Due to the lack of cycle infrastructure, in town, most cyclists have to be confident road users. The new route along Ashford Road will have a widened footway, multiple dismount and walking sections, contention with pedestrians, bins, children, disabled and the elderly as well as cars parked in front gardens that partly overhang the path. Most cyclists will continue to use alternatives, through the quieter side streets.

Paul Humphreys, from Eco-Action, said “It was great to see the support for cycling, which is a key element of the council’s 2030 carbon target. This has resulted in town centre residential developments having plenty of cycle parking but almost nothing for cars. So for this to be feasible there has to be safer cycling in and around the town”