Midhurst City Council opposes cycle lane plans

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Midhurst Town Council intends to oppose West Sussex County Council’s proposals for a cycle route through Jubilee Path and South Pond. Photo: Steve Robards SUS-220215-130843001

Gordon McAra of Midhurst Town Council has announced the council’s intention to oppose West Sussex County Council (WSCC) plans for a cycleway.

The proposal would see the sidewalk widened so that wheelchair and mobility scooter users, as well as people on bicycles, can share the path with pedestrians.

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The proposals were made available to the general public on Friday February 4 at the Grange Center in Midhurst, where residents could express their views and opinions on the proposal.

In council’s letter of objection, he wrote: ‘Midhurst Borough Council supports the general concept of cycle lanes as a means of reducing pollution and emissions as well as improving well-being.

“However, it cannot support the proposed WSCC cycle route through Jubilee Path and South Pond in its current form.

“It imposes criteria more suited to a public road rather than a widely used path through a quiet recreation area and will seriously disrupt the use and enjoyment of South Pond.

“South Pond is a popular social space regularly used by young children, families, seniors, including those with mobility scooters.

“It is a regular venue for Chichester District Council’s HeartSmart walks, outdoor exercise groups, education and environmental groups.

The City Council also raised six major focal points in its objection to the proposal:

It read: ‘We welcome a much needed pedestrian crossing at New Road, opposite the western entrance to Jubilee Path.

“We also ask the WSCC to ensure that they have consulted with the fire department on the location next to the fire station and that the department finds the proposal acceptable.

“The route through the Jubilee Path is logical in concept but excessively broad.

“The proposed size creates an urban appearance to a natural environment and is likely contrary to the primary duty of national parks to protect and enhance the landscape of the park (the area is classified as old growth forest, so there should be no intrusion on the side of the creek by the planned path (which was the case in an earlier plan).

“The path should be porous and certainly narrower than the proposed three meters.

“It might be possible to actually create two more modest paths for part of the distance, to separate pedestrians from cyclists.

“Signage should be reduced to a strict minimum because this is a recreational park and not a public road; and at no time shall the WSCC apply Ministry of Transportation regulations to any part of its proposals.

All trees should be carefully replaced, with permission from the tree owners.

This is particularly the case at the orchard, created and well maintained by Midhurst and Petworth Rotary Club.

“We see no justification for running the road on the north side of the pond. We understand the ‘public roads’ arguments in this regard, but we cannot accept the reasons as valid.

“To take the northern route will require a much taller, incongruous and visually intrusive four meter bridge over the creek.

“The cycle path will then directly cross a particularly well-used part of the park, the removal of two benches in the flood zone, endangering the fauna of the area and posing a danger to children and the elderly who also use the pond. for recreational purposes. as trips.

“It is perfectly possible to run the cycle path along the south side of the pond and significantly reduce costs and disturbances.

“Using the southern route it should be acceptable to mark a chicane in the road over the bridge to connect the southern route to Wharf Road, this will give cyclists some protection, with a simple right turn at Wharf Road on a single lane.

“The chicane would give priority to traffic from south to north, so there should be no traffic coming from the south when the cyclist turns right.

“This suggestion will also reduce the speed of traffic on South Street/Chichester Road.

David Coote, chairman of Midhurst City Council’s planning committee, said: ‘We want to encourage cycling, but the problem is the proposed design of the WSCC.

“Midhurst City Council along with other local groups such as the South Pond Group and the Midhurst Society fully support the wider aims, but oppose what is urban design in a largely rural context.

“The path runs alongside old growth forest and a non-porous tarmac roadway three meters wide is not suitable for the location.

“The planned route on the north side passes through a community recreational meeting space away from all traffic, used by mothers and children to bathe in the pond or feed ducks, people of all ages and visitors from the city.

“The current iconic bridge should remain, and the road runs along the south side.

“Appropriate traffic calming measures should then be put in place along Chichester Road and across the bridge.”

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