Closure heralds a Billy Trail upgrade

Havant Borough Council – acting as agent for Hampshire County Council – is closing the top end of the Billy Trail for three weeks starting on 19th May. That’s so they can lay a new surface over a 250 metre section.

We understand this is the stretch from the car park to the sharp left hand bend (where going right takes you out to the railway signal). We believe the surface will be the same as recently laid at the south end.

The project was kicked-off by Peter Drury’s Hayling Billy 50 project – our congratulations to him.

Obviously we’re pleased that the Billy Trail is getting some attention. But it’s disappointing the upgraded section is so short when so much of the trail needs improvement. We hope the new surface will weather better than the one at the south end which started to cut up almost as soon as it was laid.

More detail from the Havant Borough Council web site.

6 Replies to “Closure heralds a Billy Trail upgrade”

  1. This para from the report made me chuckle rather grimly! “This is now being rectified and during the closure the path will be rebuilt and widened to 2.5 metres, consistent with the rest of the Trail. New drainage will be installed to avoid the mud and puddles which form after even quite light rainfall” Someone seems to have forgotten that the most critical section of the trail i.e. the bridge path crossing is only 2m wide and adjacent to an exposed major carriageway! Additionally, the reference to mud and puddles might describe the main Hayling section of the trail, for which there are no essential upgrade plans.

  2. Thanks again for alerting us to the story behind the announcement. As regular users, we wondered at the money and time spent on doing not much to the bridge crossing when the Trail is in such a state. If it does not happen already, Is there no possibility of having a cyclist on the panel when these projects are discussed and approved – or do we have to wait until it is a fait accompli and content ourselves with being grateful for what we get? As has been said before in connection with other ‘improvements’, a cyclist would have told the committee about the right sort of chippings to ride (or walk) over before they were laid!

    1. Certainly wheeled users (including cyclists, wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility scooters) need better representation if access to the path is to be inclusive. We’ve offered help but it’s not yet been taken up. We’ve also tried to counter the impression that all cyclists want is tarmac – which has been used to dismiss cyclists’ views in the past.

  3. Robert Sebley meets Havant and Hampshire council officers regularly on behalf of Cycle Hayling and CTC, and has a good relationship with them, but I think he would say we are still seen as a minority interest, to be placated more than to be consulted. The key to improving our representation is more supporters, more cyclists, and more lobbying. So get your friends to sign up to Cycle Hayling πŸ™‚

    As to the poor surfaces, both councils are strapped for cash, so their experiments with cheaper surfaces are fully understandable, but as Robert reports, they are barely useable after one winter, and will require far more maintenance, so they’re not even cheaper over more than a couple of years πŸ™

  4. As a ‘tarmac’ cyclist I would encourage a good proportion of your effort could go toward getting the road traffic laws enforced properly on the island. then the experience of myself and the people that eventually will have to leave the trail at HIADS anyway would be considerably enhanced. The 30 limit is great if it is enforced which I personally do not feel confident about, given my experience during my considerable cycling mileage. I think it’s great that you are doing something and I think major benefits could be had by all cyclists on Hayling if it did not feel so intimidating to visit compared with other areas of similar rural or semi rural nature. To counter the perception that cycling on roads is dangerous could increase cycling journeys thus reducing car journeys, making it seem safer to cycle and so on. As an experienced cyclist I regard road cycling as safe, it just feels risky, tackle that conundrum and you will have cracked it.

    1. I agree that people’s perception of safety is a major problem when compared to actual safety, and the health benefits associated with cycling. It’s a shame that the press focuses on the negative aspects.

      The police’s enforcement policies are decided at a very high level so there’s not a great deal we can do to influence them. We have, however, actively campaigned for the 30mph speed limit on the main road down the island and we have supporters that are also members of Hayling Island community speedwatch.

      We’ll continue to press for routes that separate cyclists from traffic.

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