MP sees cycle hire project in Hassocks
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert visited Hassocks Community Cycle Hire on Friday (25 October) to see how they are encouraging cycling in the South Downs National Park.
Hassocks Community Cycle Hire (HCCH) is located next to the railway station in the car park of the Hassocks Hotel. The project was set up by the Hassocks Community Partnership, driven by Colin Wilsdon and supported by a team of staff and volunteers. They provide cycle hire, cycle maintenance, and promote local environmental tourism in the National Park.
The MP's visit was made during a month long Autumn promotion by the South Downs National Park which is encouraging people to consider how they travel inside the Park. ‘Discover Another Way' is connecting cyclists with the park by offering discounts and incentives.
In August the Government announced plans to make roads safer for those on two wheels. Through a substantial grant scheme they have made money available to improve paths for existing cyclists. It is also hoped that this will encourage new cyclists and increase the number of journeys made by bike.
West Sussex County Council was already reviewing the area's cycle paths when the new funding was announced. With ‘shovel ready' plans already in place they have been able to bid early for the money that has been made available. A total of £5.1 million will be invested into cycling routes in and around the South Downs National Park. The money will pay for 35 miles of new cycle paths which are expected to be completed by March 2015.
Colin Wilsdon, who runs the Hassocks Community Bike Hire, hopes to see more routes placed within easy reach of the local railway station. He said: "It was great to show Nick our bike hire and servicing community enterprise. HCCH's (Hassocks Community Cycle Hire) business has steadily increased over the last two years and we are now working with Southern Rail to develop a new hire building at Hassocks Station."
Colin's son Toby, who also volunteers for HCCH, said: "This is an inspiring project providing a service both for locals and visitors to our area. It also provides employment, training and volunteering opportunities for local people and encourages green and healthy living. We are delighted that Nick wishes to see it succeed."
Nick Herbert MP said: "I think this is a great scheme which encourages people to cycle and to visit Hassocks and the South Downs. Colin and his team have done a terrific job in getting this going, and I hope that HCCH are able to attract more funding and customers to be able to expand their service. Cycling is growing in popularity and we have a wonderful offer to make of visits to the beautiful South Downs."
- More information about Hassocks Community Cycle Hire can be found at their website: www.hassockscommunitycyclehire.com.
- More information on West Sussex County Council cycle routes can be found on their website: http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure/walking_cycling_horseriding/cycling.aspx.
- To read the news release from the Prime Minister and Department of Transport ‘Government shifts cycling up a gear' from 12 August 2013, please follow the link https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-shifts-cycling-up-a-gear
- To read Nick's column about cycling published in the West Sussex County Times see: http://www.nickherbert.com/media_centre.php/636/cycling.
- For more information on the South Downs National Park ‘Discover Another Way' Autumn campaign see: http://www.southdowns.gov.uk/enjoying/discover-another-way-to-visit-the-south-downs.