The politics of cycle infrastructure

Why is building cycle paths so hard? Why does it take so long? Is it the councils? Money? Lack of will? Too much regulation?

After 9 years of Cycle Hayling, we’re finally building our own cycle path at Denhill Close (with council money), and we’re finding out the problems for ourselves.

So who is responsible for building cycle paths? Everyone, and no-one. And that’s the problem.
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Saltmarsh Lane cycle path update

The Saltmarsh Lane cycle path will link the West Lane and Saltmarsh Lane to the Billy Trail, by converting the existing footpath.

It’s the west-most leg of Havant Borough Council’s proposed East-West Cycle Route, as first published in 2017 in their Cycling Improvements Feasibility Report, and supported by Cycle Hayling. But the developer contributions from the Halyards (Goldring Close) estate were not enough to fund it.

So Cycle Hayling bid for a CIL grant to cover the council’s estimate of £16,000 for the council to complete it. And we won it!

But we had to overcome some early problems, which have taken us the last year:

  1. The council wasn’t able to take it on, as the price had only been a ballpark estimate, and turned out to be much too low.
    So we decided Cycle Hayling would hire contractors and manage it instead.
  2. We got estimates for different Hampshire County Council approved surfaces, but realised none of them would provide the smooth surfaces we need.
  3. With help from our County Councillor, and a great deal of flexibility from Hampshire Countryside Services, we’ve now found a way forward, using the same surface used on the Langstone section of the Billy Trail, known as Tar and Chip.

This will be the first Tar and Chip cycle path on Hayling, so people can see how it looks, and decide whether they want it on other cycle paths, such as the beach, the old cinder track, and perhaps even one day, a part-width of the Billy Trail itself.

But it’s not just for cyclists. It’s for pushchairs, buggies, wheelchairs, and anyone who’s not steady on their feet.

Unfortunately, the rest of the East-West cycle path will still be the old-style gravel that doesn’t please cyclists or parents or the disabled. For the moment!

We just have two more problems to overcome before we can start:

  1. Legal right of way for cycling. The existing right of way is a footpath only, and requires a legal agreement to upgrade it for cycling. Although the main landowner has always been happy to sign, we have to track down some other landholders, get them to sign legal agreements too. That will take some time.
  2. Money! The extra costs for legal fees and the improved surface mean we need more money, probably another £6,000 to £8,000. Our County Councillor has once again stepped up, and found us another £1,700, and we’re asking others to help, including Southern Water, who use part for a pumping station, and the Hayling Ride. If you have any more ideas, please shout!

We can then go back to our contractors for re-quotes, based on our upgraded specification. But anyway, we can’t do anything during the bird-nesting season, which extends to July/August.

 

Cycle Hayling update – March 2019

Since 2016, we’ve been publishing a monthly Cycle Hayling column in the Hayling Islander to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on (which we now publish on our website for anyone who doesn’t get the Islander).

However, as that’s aimed at the general public, we can’t always speak as freely as we’d like, and so we haven’t kept our supporters or our web site updated as much as we should have.

So here’s a summary of what’s been going on, to save you reading the whole website (which you’ll see we’re gradually updating). A lot has happened, so you can click any heading below to see it in bite-sized chunks ….

Continue reading “Cycle Hayling update – March 2019”


Hayling Islander column February 2019

This is our Hayling Islander column for February (excluding any editing by the Islander, images may differ). 

Cycle Hayling launches our new website and ‘Smooth the Path’ campaign.

Smooth the Path

Does Hayling deserve smooth, all-weather paths that can be used safely by everyone? Not just by cyclists, but by parents walking with buggies, kids with scooters and balance bikes, wheelchairs, disabled buggies, and even people who struggle with balance? Like the ones on the mainland in Havant?

Because Hampshire County Council says we don’t.

And that’s why Cycle Hayling is launching our new 2019 website with our ‘Smooth the Path’ campaign.

Continue reading “Hayling Islander column February 2019”


Havant’s new Cycling and Walking Plan!

Havant Borough Council has announced that it will be starting work on a formal Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan shortly.

This is REALLY important because :

  • A formal plan unlocks much more future government funding
  • Implementing it becomes a formal policy of the whole council, not just the cycling team
  • It forces developers to show how their housing plans fit into OUR bigger plan
  • It forces all of us to plan for the best long term solution, rather than just for quick wins

Continue reading “Havant’s new Cycling and Walking Plan!”


Billy Trail repairs update

We’ve received the following from Steve Mountain, the project manager:

We are running a little late (we originally hoped to have had the work done by now) due to the bad weather over the past weekend. HCC has also asked us to do some additional defence work whilst we are on site.

The expectation is that the Trail should be open to the public by the early part of next week.

We’ll let you know when we hear more.

More on the Billy Trail repairs

We’ve received this from Steve Mountain, the project manager…

The Trail will be closed south of the Oysterbeds / Esso car park for up to 3 weeks to allow repairs to be undertaken to a section of the Trail damaged by storms in 2014.

P T Contractors from Southampton have been appointed to carry out the works which will see 110m of timber revetment built to protect eroding clay banks alongside the popular Trail. After the works are complete, temporary fencing which has been erected to prevent users for getting too close to the sheer drop into the Harbour can be removed. The works are funded by Hampshire County Council.

The closure is to allow heavy lorries and other plant to access the working site safely. Whilst recognising the temporary inconvenience the closure will cause, the public are asked to be patient and to respect the closure which is after all for their protection.

We understand from various sources that the work is due to start on Monday, 16 November.

Repairs on the Billy Trail

We understand that work on repairing the section of the trail that eroded away last year is due to start in early November.

This will seek to restore the trail to the state it was in before the storms. It’s not a permanent fix, however. We can expect erosion to continue until a longer-term solution can be implemented.

The work will involve some lorries on the trail and, therefore, some closures. We’ll let you know if we hear more.

Hayling Cycle Survey

Cycle Hayling is planning to run a number of cycle surveys, to gather information about cycle traffic on the island and usage of the Hayling Billy Trail.

We are seeking volunteers to take part in our initial survey, which will be purely a counting exercise, based at the south of the bridge. A later survey will involve a count and a short questionnaire and will take place on the Hayling Billy Trail.

We plan to run the initial counting survey on Sunday 17th May (8am to 8pm) and Monday 18th May (7am to 7pm). It will essentially involve working in pairs over two-hour slots.

If you can spare two hours on either or both of these days, and would enjoy counting bikes (!), please contact Sue Underwood at sue@cyclehayling.org.uk. Please state your preferred times/days and the number of time slots you can manage. Sue will then contact you with a choice of slots before the end of April. 

If you’d like to help with the survey work but cannot make those dates, please get in touch anyway, as we hope to perform extra counts in May and the HB survey later in the year.

Hampshire County Council has run a number of surveys in the recent past:

Bridge traffic surveys in 2005 and 2011. Please see the recent post “Bridge traffic & cycling stats” with excellent summary from Wilf Forrow, at: http://www.cyclehayling.org.uk/bridge-traffic-cycling-stats

These surveys were based on electronically recorded data. A similar electronic count is currently in progress at the north end of the bridge, and has been running since completion of the west-side cycleway. Our count will help to verify this data but also provide more detailed information on cycle journeys once on the island.

Hayling Billy Trail survey in 2004. Implementing this detailed survey was organised by Paul Fisher (HIRA) on behalf of HCC.

The survey can be accessed here:
http://www.cyclehayling.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Billy-Trail-Survey-2004.pdf   

With the associated appendices at:
http://www.cyclehayling.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Billy-Trail-Survey-Appendices-part1.pdf

The Hayling Billy Trail survey looked at all types of users of the trail: cyclists, walkers, dog-walkers, disabled users, joggers and horse-riders. It included a count survey and a questionnaire survey.

The results showed that the trail was “heavily used, and most popular with cyclists”. In fact 70% of users were cyclists! A telling statement from the questionnaire analysis was that “The majority of people said that they would use the path more if it provided a continuous and safe route to Havant”.