Is the government’s road building division constructing cycle paths?
Yes, it looks as though at last some sensible projects are coming out from this multibillion pound government department which is awash with money. Highways England have a series of ‘ring fenced’ funds designed to address a range of issues beyond the traditional focus of road investment including one for cycling and safety.
Over the last 4 years I have been trying to get ESCC to fund safety improvements for the C7 but as you will see from the background notes below the ESCC cuts have prevented the allocation of funds. However, I’ve been looking at alternative sources of funding and strangely enough there is a possibility of gaining significant funding from Highways England. They have ‘designated funds’ which are designed to provide landscaping, footpaths and cycle paths near trunk roads and motorways. In 2016 I attended a southeast regional Highways England workshop and asked them to allocate some of their designated funds to our local area. In 2017, I was contacted by Highways England who said they were looking at the possibility of providing a cycle route between Newhaven and Lewes. Of course, I suggested that such a provision could be made in conjunction with the safety and traffic calming proposals for the C7!
Currently I understand there are internal negotiations going on in Highways England to select a few new cycle routes in this corner of the southeast. The C7 could be one of them. However HE requires the support of the County Council insofar as they would not object or obstruct a detailed engineering survey which is the forerunner to formal estimates being prepared for final approval. I have met with Nick Bennett, the Lead Member for Transport at the County Council, and I have asked him to ensure that his officers will not object to the preparation of these estimates and surveys.
Highways England has been allocated billions of pounds by the government to build motorways and dual carriageways. I’m hoping that a few crumbs will fall from the table to provide cycle and footpath provision near the A27 in our area in conjunction with their environmental fund. What happens next? I hope that Highways England will approve monies for our area and if you want to support this. Please contact them:
Highways England: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or write to:
National Traffic Operations Centre
Quinton Business Park
No joy from ESCC
For some time a number of us have been trying to improve safety along the C7 between Lewes and Newhaven. Shortly after I was elected in 2015 I was optimistic having had feedback from the County Council. They seemed to be cooperating and were happy to work with myself and other volunteers in Polo (parishes of the Lower Ouse) to assemble a list of low cost to higher cost improvements for the C7 road.
The work continued into 2016 but then we were told that the officers working on this project with us would no longer be able to help us as they had to prioritise urgent road safety improvements elsewhere in the county where there had been recent deaths. No doubt this decision was associated with County Council cuts.
Unfortunately, as many of us would have seen in the press, the County Council announced severe cuts in their services earlier in 2018. They have announced a regression to core services, in other words this means those that are the minimum that they would legally need to provide. All this is very depressing.
POLO initiative for the C7
Personally, I was very upset when we heard that the ESCC couldn’t provide funds for the C7 but luckily a new volunteer had appeared on the scene, Joe Atwood, and he was prepared to develop a ‘Vision for the C7’ for safety and traffic calming. He produced an excellent document which has been circulated to the parishes and it has been adopted as a POLO initiative. He has potentially secured a grant for turning out more detailed design work, which is excellent.