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Help us complete that Missing Link!

We need your input – creating a more accessible road network in the National Park

Help us complete that Missing Link!  Do you know of a missing road link that is deterring you from walking or cycling in the National Park? If you do read on……….

The Friends of the South Downs (South Downs Society), along with organisations such as CPRE Sussex, Transport Action Network and the Sussex Wildlife Trust support an alliance which aims to persuade local councils, the National Park and the Government to develop safe and sustainable transport as well as better land use in planning. This organisation is titled: SCATE (South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment).  

Click this image to go to the 2015 report ‘Roads in the South Downs’by the SDNPA

The Friends of the South Downs and SCATE held a very positive meeting with the National Park Authority in the early autumn about the need to promote safe and sustainable transport within and to the Park. The Park echoed our concerns and were enthusiastic about our idea that a survey should be made of road routes that need action to provide for sustainable transport; primarily for cycling, but can include walking (crossing major roads), bus routes and links to train stations.  With the help of volunteers our Society and SCATE will draw up a target list of routes that need attention. When complete we will then present this to the Park Authority who have agreed to create an official map. This can then be used as a basis for negotiating with councils and government to obtain the necessary investment.  It will also be useful to help guide investment via a ‘Section 106 agreement’ and ‘Community Infrastructure Levy’. In this later phase we will continue to work with the National Park to achieve change where we can. We hope also the survey will also contribute to the ongoing work related to the South Downs National Park Partnership Management Plan and to an update to the Park’s Roads in the National Park document.

The Friends of the South Downs  have agreed to coordinate the survey information. So if you know of a missing link that is deterring you, or is very unpleasant or dangerous to use, please let us know (you can tell us about as many as you like).  For example, if you live in Lewes you might want to nominate the A273 going out of Lewes through Offham – it’s a fast and busy road and a barrier to people cycling out to Hamsey, or the quiet lanes around Cooksbridge.

Please email Vic Ient our Policy Officer via our Enquires email address: enquiries@southdownssociety.org.uk  with your suggestions.  Chris Todd of Transport Action Network is leading the campaign. You can also contact him on chris@transportactionnetwork.org.uk

Please name the road and specify the section where you feel something needs to be done.  If possible say what the main issues are and what would make it feel safer and more pleasant to use the route: suggestions could include:

  • segregated cycle lanes
  • off-road cycle track
  • lower speed limit
  • green lane implementation (changing the feel of the road to one where walking and cycling are to be expected)
  • better road crossing (walkers, horse riders and cycists)
  • any other suggestions you have

If you feel a particular location or road should have a bus service (and isn’t currently served) let us know about it and any other infrastructure needed, such as bus stops.  If a place is currently served by bus but poorly and needs improvements, let us know where these are too and what could be improved. Finally, any trains stations which need better links to the National Park – what deters you or others from using them?

Many thanks in advance – please share with others who might have suggestions and maybe quiz people who drive too to get a sense of what stops them from leaving their car at home.

We hope this initial survey will be completed by the end of January 2020.

 

14 thoughts on “Help us complete that Missing Link!

  1. FRIENDS OF THE SOUTH DOWNS MISSING LINKS SURVEY.

    Comments from Selborne Parish Council
    January 2020.

    1. B3006 through Selborne

    Pressures of development from Bordon and Alton in particular have led to increased traffic on the B3006 through Selborne.

    The Ham Barn roundabout on the A3 creates an easy commuter route via the historic village of Selborne for traffic between the A3 and routes to the north and west.

    Selborne has very narrow pavements. Residents and visitors to the Gilbert White museum as well as walkers on the long distance Regional Trail ‘Hangers Way’ find it dangerous and unpleasant to walk through the village.

    Until recently, horse riders used to be able to make a circuit from Selborne to Newton Valence. Because of the massively increased volume of traffic on the B3006, its speed, and its close proximity to the horses, this is now unsafe.

    Possible solutions:

    Hampshire County Council commissioned a report that came up with a way forward (WS Atkins Report) for the area close to Selborne School on the B3006 that involved widening the pavements and altering the pinch point. The proposals were overwhelmingly supported by local residents but there is no money to install them. Could the National Park include Selborne in its Pilot Project for traffic calming in villages? And could the National Park also persuade HCC to implement the outcome of the Atkins Report?

    Ham Barn is the only roundabout between London and Portsmouth on the A3. Highways England seems to be resistant to involving the local Parish Councils in consultation and decisions. We would welcome being involved with the future of the roundabout but to date we have been shut out. Could the National Park assist in ensuring that Highways England consultations include the Parish Councils at an early stage?

    Could the National Park work with SatNav companies to help lorry drivers, including foreign ones in particular, to appreciate that the B3006 carries a 7.5 tonne weight limit? Some of the SatNavs show the B3006 to be a ‘red’ road and this needs to be changed so that traffic is directed to A roads instead.

    2. Pre-Roman sunken lanes surrounding Selborne.

    The historic sunken lanes go back to Saxon times and provide an exceptional habitat for flora and fauna. They are narrow country lanes and their banks, sometimes 20 feet high, are nowadays being undercut and destroyed by lorries and by rat-running commuters. The speed, volume, width and weight of modern traffic puts cyclists, walkers and horse riders in severe danger.

    Possible solution:

    Could the National Park ask the Highway Authority to install some physical narrowing near each end of these lanes, to deter and slow down vehicles? We envisage this to be sympathetically designed long pinch-points that enforce a single track entrance/exit.

    3. BOATs.

    Serious problems are caused by vehicles, including motorbikes, quad bikes and other 4x4s, that use the BOATs. There is conflict between walkers and horse riders and the off-road vehicles. Who should give way to whom on a narrow track when there is no escape route?

    BOATs exist for historical reasons that are now outdated. There is no speed limit on these tracks and some vehicles travel very fast and dangerously. The damage done to the surfaces too often makes the tracks impassable for other recreational users. The depth of mud that is churned up creates deep ruts and presents extreme danger for walkers and also for horses’ legs. 4x4s, quad bikes and motorbikes are extremely noisy and inappropriate in a protected landscape: these vehicles ruin the peace and tranquillity of the rural path network.

    Possible solution:

    Could the National Park put pressure on the County Councils to recognise that BOATs have had their day and are no longer appropriate? The sharing of BOATs between vehicles and other recreational users is extremely dangerous. If the BOATs were to be changed to Footpath or Bridleway status then the second National Park purpose could more readily be achieved. It may be possible to offer the 4×4 users and motorcyclists alternative areas for their sport.

    4. Bus services

    The bus service along the B3006 through Selborne has been cut a number of times over the last few years. In May 2019 it was cut even further. This makes living in a rural village unsustainable without a car, and it deters visitors from accessing the Park.

    Possible solution:

    Could the National Park please put pressure on Stagecoach and on Hampshire County Council to improve the bus service through Selborne?

    Thank you for consulting us.

    Selborne Parish Council
    29 January 2020.

    1. Dear Cllr Minette, Thank you for your detailed response. A very good summation of the situation under your various headings.

      Regarding your items 1 and 2 (1. B3006 through Selborne and 2. Pre-Roman sunken lanes surrounding Selborne)
      We can include these points in our ‘Missing Links’ submission to the National Park. However it would be helpful to have a sketch map or an extract from an OS map to define the exact length of the road you are referring to. Please would you send this to me at: vic.ient@southdownssociety.org.uk

      Regarding the other points which you raise:
      3. BOATs. As you will know these routes are normally marked “byways” and are open to motorists, bicyclists, horseriders, motorcyclists and pedestrians. As with public tarmac road networks, motorists must ensure that they are legally authorised to use BOATs (i.e. registered, taxed, insured and MoT’d). Therefore on the face of it there seems little one can do. However a case could be put forward to the highways authority (possibly with the support of the National Park) asking for these to be converted to ‘Restricted Byways’ Restricted Byways are created under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. They are open to the traffic mentioned above, but exclude motor vehicles and motorcycles. If you want to go down this route I suggest your parish formerly writes to the highways authority (Hampshire County Council) and copy our Society in (please use my email). We will raise the matter with the appropriate national park team and fully support you.

      Also you could contact the National Park Local Access Forum and ask to attend one of their meetings and present your case. See: https://www.southdowns.gov.uk/national-park-authority/commitees-meetings/local-access-forum/ Their next meeting is on Monday 20th April 2020; 10.30 – 1pm

      4. Bus services – We support you and agree it’s a pretty desperate situation in rural areas. Government cuts to county council transport budgets continue to bite. However I recommend you raising the plight of your local community directly with Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for transport whilst copying in your local MP. If the UK is to meet the government’s legal target for zero carbon emissions by 2050 public transport will need to be improved significantly to persuade people to get out of their cars and use buses especially in areas where there are no rail stations.

      Also: I recommend joining
      a)the Campaign for Better Transport (https://bettertransport.org.uk/future-buses)
      b)and locally across the south here SCATE: https://scate.org.uk/about-us/how-to-join/ our society are members of SCATE which brings together a whole host of campaigning groups and local organisations to bring pressure on the government locally and nationally to support a move to sustainable transport.
      c) finally why not become a member of the Friends of the South Downs (South Downs Society: https://friendsofthesouthdowns.org.uk/support-us/join-us/ The cost is very little and we need members and member organisations in Hampshire to help us continue our campaign

      Best Wishes

      Victor S Ient, MSc.,
      Policy Officer
      T: 07788720929
      vic.ient@southdownssociety.org.uk

  2. The problem is lack of parking for horseboxes and general access to South downs for riders

    1. Dear Valerie, If you have any specific suggestions please do email them in via: https://friendsofthesouthdowns.org.uk/contact-us/

  3. The Battlefield Walk in Hampshire starts at the Hinton Arms pub and passes the National Trust property towards a left turn off to continue the walk. This first, quite short, part of the walk is extremely dangerous as it goes along the busy A272.

    1. Hi Jan, Thank you. Good information. We take it that the location is just below No, 10 on the NT map: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner/trails/battle-of-cheriton-walk

  4. South Downs National Park full of historic drove and bridleways yet apparently horse riders only deserve a mention in crossing roads?
    You could include horse riders in all proposed improvements- not treat them like second or third class citizens! Please address this. Thank you.

    1. Julie, Thanks you. Apologies for our oversight. Fully agree with you. If you are not already a member please join us and help us cover all users. Your expertise would be very welcome!

  5. I do get annoyed that there is not a more “joined” up path system. I also get annoyed because the emphasis seems to be on pedestrians and bikes. What about the oldest users of droveways and bridlepaths, horses. It is beyond believe that some bridlepaths start coming off a main road (where there is no parking for trailers) and where no-one would want to end up at on a horse, not being able to carry on anywhere. Then there are the bridleways that suddenly turn into footpaths and again, you can’t carry on without negotiating a busy main road to continue

    Can we have an all inclusive pathway system that allows EVERYONE to use it/them and that make a continuous journey?

    1. Dear Cate Agreed about the path system. Agreed about provision for Horses. Apologies for our oversight – the post should have included horseriders. If you are not already a member please join us and help us cover all users. Your expertise would be very welcome!

  6. Is it possible to revise the crossing of Ditchling Road from the Upper Lodges car park? On a horse it is impossible both to see and negotiate the gate in either direction and extremely bad if there is more than one rider.
    There is an alternative via the car park entrance, across the road, with a clearer sight of traffic and then via the gate set well back from the road. The crossing is not marked as a bridlepath for either users or traffic. Making access around the north of Brighton opens up vast circular routes for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

    1. Dear Gill, Good suggestion! Can you send use a sketch re Ditching of your proposal? It would help greatly. My email address is: vic.ient@southdownssociety.org.uk

  7. Ditchling Road/Ditchling Beacon is heavily used by both leisure and commuter cyclists (not me) and owing to the excess speeds of motorists is dangerous. I have been told that it is not possible to downgrade the de-restricted speed owing to no houses being visible! The limit one end is 40mph and the other 30mph! A dedicated, well surfaced (for road bike riders) cycle path away from cars would make it safe for everyone.

    1. Dear Gill, The County Council can be somewhat intransigent on changing speed limits. Cars speeding on country roads is a problem. Again please send us a sketch if you can. my email address is: vic.ient@southdownssociety.org.uk

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