Cycle paths in West Sussex

This week a constituent e-mailed me to suggest that there should be a cycle path between Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks. She pointed out that the road between the villages is narrow, congested and dangerous for cyclists, and that it would be good if commuters could easily cycle to Hassocks station and children could safely cycle to school.

I think this is a great idea, and there should be far more dedicated cycle paths between our villages. They are immensely popular, both for recreation and to enable journeys by bicycle that just couldn’t be made safely otherwise. Even our country lanes are now dangerous for cyclists and riders of horses, let alone main roads.

West Sussex County Councillor Derek Whittington has been a tireless champion of cycle paths, for instance working hard to secure the funding and approvals for the route linking the South Coast to the South Downs National Park.

The County Council wants to see more cycling routes and is hosting a West Sussex Cycle Summit 2019 in November. The challenge is to secure both funding and permissions from landowners.

New development can provide the opportunity to capture funding, whether it is from housing or roads. For instance, in the Autumn work will begin on the Lyminster bypass and A259 improvements which will include cycle paths.

The Hickstead to Burgess Hill A2300 will be dualled as part of Northern Arc project, and this will include upgrading cycling lanes.

The re-run of the consultation on routes for the Arundel bypass will begin shortly, and this essential road upgrade should also include sustainable transport measures, including cycle paths. There needs to be one between Arundel and Ford station.

The Local Enterprise Partnership, Coast to Capital, also helps to fund cycle paths. The most recent one was from Bognor to Littlehampton at a cost of £2 million for a shared pedestrian and cycle path.

Villages can also set policies to improve cycle links through their neighbourhood plans, as Hassocks is currently doing. These plans should command more respect from local authorities and developers.

The Government published a £1.2 billion plan two years ago to encourage more cycling and walking, with much of this funding allocated for cycling schemes. We need more of this. I’d like to see an ambitious plan for a new network of cycle paths throughout West Sussex, and I will give this my full support.