We are pleased to note that ESCC is inching towards providing for a more sustainable transport system and endorse the vision and objectives set out in the Local Transport Plan. We also recognise that an efficient sustainable transport system has the potential to improve the local economy and ease the impact of predicted steady price increases in fuel costs over the period to 2026.
Whilst we support the vision and objectives we do have some specific views on the Implementation Plan that are summarised below:
- Future needs. It is too short term. Whilst there is a need to deliver discrete projects in the short term a majority of schemes need to be part of a longer term plan, not just “local fixes”
- Programme of works in priority order. In our view the Implementation Plan should contain a list of works in priority order that will be undertaken as money becomes available. Currently the scheme prioritisation scheme is used on all outstanding schemes after a sum of money has been allocated each year. This approach will inevitably result in a preoccupation with the immediate needs and demands. We therefore suggest that a substantial proportion of funding each year is allocated towards the achievement of strategic, longer term improvements.
- Priority schemes. Our list of priority schemes is:
- Safe cycle routes north from Seaford/Newhaven to Alfriston and Lewes.
- Completion of NC2 between Newhaven and Seaford, through Seaford and between Seaford and Exceat.
- Safe cycle route from Peacehaven to Lewes, via Hoddern farm. This could join the proposed flat route cycle route along the Lower Ouse .
- Shared pedestrian/cycle access on Seaford promenade
- Improved cycle routes to schools
- 20mph speed limits in all central urban areas and at school locations
- Coherent cycle routes and improved cycle parking within both Seaford and Newhaven
- Scheme Prioritisation. We understand a new appraisal scheme is to be used in future to decide on priorities for funding. This scheme is not part of your consultation but we know that the weighting system that must be attached to the various factors will have a decisive impact upon the results. We should therefore welcome the opportunity to look at the mechanism for this. Once we have been able to do so, we will almost certainly wish to comment, if, for example, the health benefits of active travel are not adequately recognised
- Direct routes between communities. Cycling has the ability to provide a real alternative form of transport for many more people, not just within the community in which they live but between communities. Therefore good, direct, utility cycle routes between communities should be a priority. For example in the Cycle Seahaven immediate area we would mention cycle links from Newhaven to Lewes and from Seaford to Eastbourne .
- Cycle routes. Cycle links need to be us all year around and suitable for all cycles, including road only machines. As mentioned before, for utility use, the routes should be as direct as possible. Where separate provision from motorised transport is not possible in the immediate future, minor low cost improvements to improve cycle safety should be undertaken whenever maintenance work or minor works are undertaken. For example this may be as simple as in the form of extra signage to warn of cyclists (and pedestrians and equestrians) on bends
- South Downs National Park (SDNP). Lewes and Newhaven are mentioned as gateways to the National Park. We would also like to see Seaford recognised as a major gateway for the SDNP, providing direct access to the Eastern Downs (North to Firle and Alfriston and Eastwards to Seaford Head and the Seven Sisters). Seaford is also the main access point for Friston Forest , in its own right one of the South East’s major off-road cycling venues, and the Cuckmere Estuary. Ideally placed as the rail terminus for this part of the SDNP, recognition as a gateway would also accord with the District Council’s strategy to develop the tourist potential of Seaford .
Cycle strategy. Finally we understand that you would find it helpful to have a cycle strategy for the local area. We are happy to draft such a document and look forward to working with you to set the context for our priorities for cycling and its relationship with other forms of transport.
The transport plan can be found here: http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/localtransportplan/default.htm
If you have any further comments to add then please contact us via our contacts page http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/contact/ with the subject “LTP3”