Haylink: a North-South Hayling Cycle Link

Cyclists wanting to travel from the north of Hayling Island to the south have no easy route. All of the schools and shops and other amenities of south Hayling can only be reached by using the main A3023 Havant Road between Yew Tree Road and Kings Road. This section of the A3023 is very busy, especially during peak hours, and therefore intimidating to all but the most experienced and confident cyclists. As a consequence very few bike riders attempt this journey. The result is that many of the cyclist community in the Northney area are virtually cut off from South Hayling. Additionally any cyclists using this part of this main thoroughfare cause traffic tailbacks, as a result:

  • Motorists crawl at the cyclist’s speed until they can pass safely
  • Motorists attempt to pass unsafely, risking a collision with the cyclist or on-coming traffic
  • Cyclists resort to using pavements illegally, risking collisions with pedestrians

Hayling needs Haylink, a North-South Cycle Link separating cyclists from motorists and acting as a vital stepping stone for developing cycling routes around the rest of the Island.

The links below explore the benefits and issues of a North-South off-road cycle link.

If you would like to know more, please contact Robert Sebley at robert@cyclehayling.org.uk or Wilf Forrow at Wilf@cyclehayling.org.uk.

Benefits:

Segregating vulnerable road users from the rest means they are kept out of harm’s way. Motorists won’t be so frustrated by slow-moving traffic and will be less tempted to try dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. More residents and island visitors will use bicycles and traffic congestion, road noise and exhaust fumes pollution would all be reduced.

The consequences of a collision between a cyclist and a vehicle can be extremely serious for the cyclist and traumatic for the motorist.

Many cyclists are worried about cycling on the road, especially one with heavy traffic volumes such as the A2023, and so they resort – illegally – to cycling on the pavement.

Some pedestrians are intimidated by pavement-cycling and some of their comments echo cyclists feelings about motorists. It is therefore important to do what we can to reduce pressures to cycle on pavements. A North-South off-road cycle link would help a great deal.

A better North-South cycle link would encourage more people to cycle to work. That will mean less cars on the road at busy times.

That’s particularly welcome as new house building on the island increases pressure on the already busy North-South roads.

Current Council policy is to restrict parking at work to encourage alternate means of travel, including cycling. As a result, there is a lot of parking in side streets around offices such as Langstone Technology Park and Penner Road.

A North-South cycle route would encourage more people to cycle to work resulting in less side street parking.

But:

Cycle Hayling have been investigating alternative off road routes to bypass this section of the main road as described below. The three possible schemes which could provide an off-road cycle link between Yew Tree Road and Kings Road, avoiding the A3023 main road are:

  • Convert an existing footpath to dual use. This footpath runs to the west of the A3023 from just south of the Maypole Pub down to the A3023 near the junction withChurch Road. There would be a need to then link up this cycle route to the junction of Daw Lane/Yew Tree Road. This could be along a dual use pavement or by creating a cycleway around the back of the Maypole Pub and up to Daw Lane. A crossing would be required at the south end of this route for cyclists to cross the A3023 and link up with Kings Road (perhaps a Toucan crossing?)
  • Widen and convert to dual use the pavements which run up the east side of the A3023 betweenYew Tree Road and Kings Road.
  • A private Registered Riders path has been created for horse riders which goes from the field entrance just north of the Mill Rythe Campus and ends at the Fleet Farm Camping and Caravan site off Yew Tree Road. There is a possibility that the Registered Riders and landowners could be persuaded to have a durable surface installed to allow dual use.

The conversion of footpaths to dual use is generally a much lower cost than road schemes. The reported cost, at £855K, of the recent (Autumn 2012) resurfacing the main road (A2023), when compared to around £100K for an equivalent length of cycle track illustrates the relative costs.

Most cycling infrastructure is funded from developer contributions.

It’s commonly said that cyclists don’t use the existing cycle lanes, so why should we build them?

In fact, cyclists do use the cycle lanes but those that don’t are highly visible because of the effect they have on traffic.

It’s unrealistic to expect all cyclists to use the cycle lanes – especially when there is no legal requirement – but a well-designed and constructed route will be popular with most types of cyclist. We accept that groups like ours should encourage all cyclists to use the available facilities.

Both Havant and Hampshire councils have objectives to reduce road traffic by encouraging sustainable forms of travel – including cycling. Public health concerns (obesity) and carbon reduction targets are all part of the pressure on governments and local authorities to get the general public to adopt ‘Active Travel’ options.

Compared to other road developments, cycle lanes are relatively inexpensive. Groups like Cycle Hayling can make a real difference when it comes to negotiating with landowners – removing a significant obstacle from the process.

Inevitably, councils face many demands on available time and money. Sustained encouragement from groups like Cycle Hayling is needed to ensure cycling infrastructure developments get done but there are plenty of examples of recent successes:

  • Extensions of the cycle route North of the Hayling bridge
  • The Broadmarsh cycle route linking Langstone and Eastern Road
  • New school-oriented routes in Emsworth
  • Park Lane Cycle track between Waterlooville and Leigh Park.

If you want to support our efforts, please subscribe to the supporters’ newsletter.


Progress to date

The politics of cycle infrastructure

Posted on: August 9, 2019 by: Wilf

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.

Havant Brough Council (HBC)

is the local lead player, because it has the local knowledge, the contacts, and the expertise, and has been delegated the task by Hampshire County Council (HCC).

Hampshire County Council (HCC)

retains project and financial control. Every project has to work through the HCC gateway process, which is incredibly time-consuming and expensive. Because that’s designed for big projects, HCC insists on batching smaller projects to get economies of scale, but that makes each project bigger and more cumbersome, so the inevitable delay to one project delays them all. So weeks become months, and months become years. HBC is as frustrated with this micromanagement as we are.

Highways authorities

need to approve anything near their roads. Highways England manage the trunk network, including the A27 and the Havant roundabout, and they want bikes as far away from their roads as possible.

Hampshire Highways manage the smaller roads, including Hayling’s A3023, and again, they’re flat out trying to keep traffic flowing, so bikes are low priority, and even lower in the queue for money.

Public Rights of Way

are where most of Hayling’s potential cycleways run, including our planned Denhill Close cycle path. Rights of Way are managed by HCC Countryside Services (HCS). The clue’s in the name, they promote ‘countryside’, so they insist on ‘natural’ (i.e. rough) surfaces, even when the landowner doesn’t. HCS policy is that any ‘sealed’ surfaces must be handed over to Hampshire Highways (HH), but HH is refusing to accept any new ones, on budget grounds.

At Denhill, we’ve finally convinced HCS to accept that rough surfaces don’t work for cyclists, or pushchairs, or for the disabled, and to allow tar and chip, like the Langstone Billy Trail, but it’s taken a year. That will set our standard for all new cycle paths,

The environment

is playing an ever bigger role (rightly so, with climate change, etc). That’s why the Hayling Park cycle path widening was delayed for two years, because the council tree officers wouldn’t permit hard surfaces over tree roots, and HCC don’t allow flexible surfaces. It’s finally scheduled for 2020.

And why the Northney road shore path is on permanent hold, putting people at serious risk walking on a dangerous road at night with no street lights. And even if Natural England do eventually permit it, it will only be wide enough for a footpath not a cycleway, and not high enough to stop the regular road flooding that will only increase with climate change and sea level rise. Considering the widespread environmental abuse elsewhere, it’s difficult to see that we’ve got the right balance yet.

Landowner permission

is needed for any new cycle path, of course, which is a big ask, with land so scarce and so valuable. Cycle Hayling has found some Hayling landowners to be brilliant, some less so.

It’s worse if the land has prospects for future development, as cycle paths might reduce the number of houses that could be built, and therefore the value. Planning permission gives councils some leverage to push for cycle paths, but it’s limited. If no other solution can be found, councils do have powers of compulsory purchase, but they’re almost never used.

Planning permission

is needed to create a cycle path, unless you can persuade the council that it falls under their very limited ‘permitted development’ powers. That’s what we’ve managed to do at Denhill Close.

Legal agreements

need to be signed for landowner permission, new rights of way, and for contractors to be allowed to work, which all take time and money.

Regulations around cycle paths

are set by the Department of Transport (DfT), but they were already out of date 20 years ago. Big cities like London and Manchester have rejected them, and developed their own, based on world class experience from Holland and Germany, but Havant are still obliged to follow them. For example, they force cyclists to stop at every minor entrance, instead of having the same priority as the road they’re next to.

And finally, it all comes down to money!

Cycle infrastructure is incredibly cheap beside every other form of transport, and provides a massive return on investment. But there is no transport budget to pay for it.

Just about the only funding available locally is CIL, or Community Infrastructure Levy, which is a levy on all new developments over about 10 houses. However, most of the nearly £half million from the Bellway ‘Halyards’ development will be consumed by two minor road improvements, with minimal benefit to cars or pedestrians, and none to cycling. That half million could have paid for Haylink, our proposed traffic-free cycle path from the Lidl roundabout to the bridge

This sounds like a ‘council of despair’

I find all this incredibly frustrating, as I’m sure you must do. But we can fix it.

The government needs to :
  • Backup their Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy with a mandatory percentage of the transport budget, and clear national and local responsibilities for delivering it.
  • Update and simplify the Highway Code, road traffic laws and cycle infrastructure regulations to promote cycling and make cyclists feel safer.
  • In most of Europe, cyclists have to be given minimum passing distances by law, vehicles in cycle accidents are assumed to be at fault unless they can show otherwise, and cycle paths get the same priority as cars at junctions and roundabouts.
And locally :
  • We need an ambitious plan for cycling across the whole region, and with Havant’s proposed LCWIP (Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan).
  • Hampshire needs to coordinate, not micro-manage, and let Havant get on with the job.
  • Havant must determine the cycle paths we need, and then use all its powers to build them. As a bare minimum, we need Haylink, a direct, traffic-free, all-weather route to the bridge.
  • Until the DfT updates it’s obsolete infrastructure guidance, Havant must demand to be allowed to follow the modern cycling design standards used in London and the big cities.

So I hope you can see that we’re not dealing with a single entity, “The Council”, that just blocks everything, but a complex set of fiefdoms and constraints, in permanent conflict with each other. Often, it’s a lot easier for any of them to say “No” than to get all parties to say “Yes”.

BUT! There is huge goodwill amongst councillors and council officers, in Havant and Hampshire. We need to keep lobbying them to ‘do the right thing’, and build Hayling a cycle infrastructure for the future, for active travel and for a greener planet.

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Cycle Hayling update – March 2019

Posted on: March 9, 2019 by: Wilf

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 ….

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Havant’s new Cycling and Walking Plan!

Posted on: January 23, 2019 by: Wilf

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 →

Cycle Hayling update July 2018

Posted on: July 26, 2018 by: AdminWilf

Thank you for supporting Cycle Hayling in our efforts to make Hayling more cycle-friendly. When you read on, you’ll realise we will need your support more than ever.

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New signage for the Mill Rythe path

Posted on: May 22, 2016 by: Andy Henderson

We’ve now installed permanent signage at the north and south ends of the new section of shared cycle path going north from the Mill Rythe roundabout.

Our thanks are due to Wilf Forrow who contributed his time, effort and money to install the new signs (I stood around and offered the all-important encouraging words).

You’ll also see that, compared to how the path was last year, it is much improved through the efforts of our supporters, the Registered Riders Scheme and Andrea and Simon Walter (the land owners). The track along the middle of the path is encouraging evidence that the path is being used.

North end of the path

South end of the path

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Proposal to reduce the speed limit on the Northney route

Posted on: February 21, 2016 by: Sue Underwood

Consultation is now open on the council proposal to reduce the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph on the section of road between the Stoke end of Copse Lane and Northney village. Details of the proposal, ref. number AS/TRO/298, can be found at www.havant.gov.uk/tro

This is a route used by many cyclists to get on and off the island, so Cycle Hayling supporters may like to submit their views to the consultation, which is open until Friday 11th March 2016. Formal comments can be made via one of the following methods:

  • Using the online response form at the above web address
  • By email to tro@havant.gov.uk
  • In writing to the acting solicitor to the council :
    Sara Bryan
    Acting Solicitor to the Council
    Public Service Plaza
    Civic Centre Road
    Havant PO9 2AX
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New section of path is cycle-able

Posted on: July 10, 2015 by: Andy Henderson

After a fantastic effort from supporters yesterday, the new section of path on the east side of the main road going north from the Mill Rythe roundabout can now be cycled. I know because this is me riding it!

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Cycle survey results

Posted on: July 3, 2015 by: Sue Underwood

Summary of cycle surveys carried out in Spring 2015

Sunday 17th May Monday 1st June
Total number of cyclists northbound on bridge 304 81
Total number of cyclists southbound on bridge 367 97
Total number of cyclists E to W
(not crossing bridge)
41 9
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New section of cycle path on Hayling

Posted on: June 19, 2015 by: Andy Henderson

We are pleased to announce a new section of cycle path alongside the main road out of Hayling.

It goes from the Mill Rythe roundabout to a little over half-way to the boat yard…

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Bridge traffic & cycling stats

Posted on: March 19, 2015 by: Wilf

Did you know how much traffic uses the bridge, and what proportion are cyclists? Hampshire County Council ran traffic surveys in 2005 and again in 2011 to find out. The raw results are pretty complicated, but Cycle Hayling has done some hard work so you don’t have to.

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