52.1 The Lead Member considered a report by the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport together with written comments by Councillor Sorrell Marlow-Eastwood submitted prior to the meeting.
52.2 Mr David Taylor, the Lead Petitioner for the petition calling on the County Council to remove their support for a shared cycle / pedestrian pathway through Alexandra Park, spoke to highlight safety and enforcement concerns.
52.3 Mr Ian Sier, the Lead Petitioner for the petition calling on the County Council to continue with the route construction when the reference to the Secretary of State has been resolved, spoke to highlight the importance of the route in terms of the overall walking and cycling network in Hastings.
52.4 The Lead Member RESOLVED to:
(1) Advise the petitioners that the separate requests ‘to remove the proposed section of the shared pedestrian and cycling route from the lower section of Alexandra Park’ and for ‘East Sussex County Council to Support the Cycleway and Walking & Cycling 'Greenway' link through Alexandra Park’ have been considered; and
(2) As the proposed shared pedestrian and cycle route running through Alexandra Park meets the wider County Council objectives as set out in section 1 of the report, and that the proposed route has historically been subject to public and stakeholder consultation, further design review, road safety audits and an Equality Impact Assessment, the proposal will progress to implementation as part of the Capital Programme for Transport Improvements 2022/23.
52.5 The 2014 Hastings Cycling Strategy and latterly the East Sussex Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, approved in September 2020, identifies the route through Alexandra Park as a priority for delivery and an integral part of a network of cycle routes for the town, linking to the proposed route between Silverhill and Queensway in western Hastings and future eastern routes to the Hastings town centre and seafront as well as Conquest hospital.
52.6 Following Lead Member approval in June 2018 to progress the scheme to detailed design and construction, there has been significant and careful consideration given to ensuring any potential risks to pedestrians and cyclists using the proposed cycle route through both the Upper and Lower sections of Alexandra Park are mitigated and incorporated into the design of the scheme. This process has included independent road safety audits at preliminary and detailed design stages to consider the overall safety of the scheme, and identify any recommended changes, as well as assessing the equalities impacts of the scheme on those groups with protected characteristics. Throughout this process, Hastings Borough Council have remained supportive of the scheme and have agreed to monitor the operation of the route through the park, educate users and where necessary undertake enforcement. Officers agreed to explore a Service Level Agreement with Hastings Borough Council regarding resources for enforcement.
52.7 Despite looking at alternative on road routes, which have been discounted for technical feasibility reasons, the recommended route through the lower section of Alexandra Park remains the most practicable solution for providing for cyclists in this part of Hastings and would support the Council’s strategies and objectives relating to reducing carbon emissions, supporting economic recovery and growth, and improving health and wellbeing.
52.8 The County Council will progress with the delivery of the proposal as per the current alignment, through both the Upper and Lower sections of Alexandra Park, subject to the outcome of the Hastings Borough Council Byelaw consultation in June 2022.