Bespoke has written to East Sussex County Council to formally object to the proposed Eastbourne Town Centre Improvement Scheme Phase 2a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). This TRO will include a Prohibition of Pedal Cycles on Terminus Road between Cornfield Road and Langney Road. This will effectively ban cyclists from using what is currently a permitted cycle route offering access to the town centre shops and that is also the most direct, comfortable, and attractive route to cyclists travelling though the town centre to the seafront. No alternative safe and direct routes for cyclists that are compliant with Local Transport Note 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design Guidance have been outlined or proposed as part of the TRO.
This proposed step backwards for cycling provision in Eastbourne comes at a time when national policy (The Gear Change Plan, Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy 2) sets out ambitious targets to increase the percentage of short journeys in towns and cities that are walked or cycled to 46% by 2025, and 50% by 2030, and at a time when Eastbourne Borough Council has declared a climate emergency and aim to meet an ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. New guidance for Highways Agencies also clearly states that “Reallocating space to walking and cycling… is imperative to ensure the objectives in Gear Change and elsewhere are met. Local authorities should continue to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians and to maintain the changes they have already made.”
Despite national and local policy seeking to encourage modal shift, and Department for Transport reporting showing that cycling numbers across East Sussex remain as the second worst in the South East (18th out of 19 LAs), East Sussex County Council appears to be committing to a scheme that actively makes cycling provision in Eastbourne town centre worse. The official reasoning for the proposed ban, “to enable to safe passage of pedestrians within the town centre shopping precinct”, is provided despite having been no recorded collisions (Crash/Stats19) between pedestrians and cyclists in this area.
Bespoke has already made clear their disappointment at the lack of consultation with disabled cycling groups such as Wheels for Wellbeing as part of the Eastbourne Town Centre Improvement Scheme. The proposed TRO will actively discriminate against disabled cyclists, who would be required to dismount on Terminus Road, despite this being physically impossible for some. Whilst input from disability groups at the consultation stage was provided through Disability Involvement Group, this group contains organisations who are actively opposed to cyclists and delivering cycling schemes.
In recent years, improvements to cycling infrastructure in Eastbourne have been few and far between. The recent failure of East Sussex County Council to receive any active travel funding as part of Tranche 3 of the active travel fund, and the failure to deliver any temporary cycling schemes in Eastbourne as part of the Emergency Active Travel fund during the Covid-19 pandemic, clearly demonstrate this. Despite this, East Sussex County Council now appears committed to actively making cycling provision worse in the town. Bespoke will continue to object to any attempts to restrict cycling access in Eastbourne.
Please consider writing your own objection to the TRO. You can do so by email to TROs@eastsussex.gov.uk or to the address below, quoting TRO/456, to arrive no later than 29 July:
Communities, Economy & Transport, Parking
B Floor, West Block
East Sussex County Council
St Anne’s Crescent
Lewes BN7 1UE
Update: We have provided some example wording for your objection email.