CYCLISTS in Chichester have voiced their concern over the dangers of cycling around the city centre.
At a parish meeting of the city of Chichester on Tuesday evening, resident John Newman, of Maplehurst Road, said he felt more should be done over safety for cyclists as there are places which are dangerous in the city.
He also said that the cycling route between Oaklands Park and Oaklands Way was not completed and there was no crossing place.
He said: “Last night, I was coming home through The Hornet and turning right into St Pancras and then I wanted to go left, up New Park Road. I’d like to know what the safest way to do that is.
“Another place that worries me is the roundabout at the end of Oaklands Way and I’ve had a couple of scares and I speak as a very experienced cyclist.”
Cllr Martyn Bell, chairing the meeting, said: “On cycling safety, we can only pressurise. My dream would be for the whole of The Hornet to be pedestrianised.
“I’m a cyclist myself and I’m very aware of the Oaklands roundabout. I understood there would be a cycling route and a cycling and pedestrian crossing, which hasn’t happened.”
Graylingwell Park housing developers had agreed to build a cycle route.But county councillor Jeremy Hunt said he did not think this would happen because of opposition from Chichester Festival Theatre and Chichester District Council.
He said: “As you know, it took us quite a lot time to get the agreement to widen the footpaths. The sticking point was when we got to the entrance point of the theatre.”
“We wanted to go round the theatre, and through the car park unfortunately none of the proposals were agreeable by the district council or the theatre, particularly the council who would not let us put the designated lane through the car park as they thought it was too dangerous.
“In the end we were at complete stagnation and as I understand it, it was agreed at that point that the section 106 would be agreed and signed off at the entrance to the theatre.”
Planning obligations, also known as Section 106 agreements are private agreements made between local authorities and developers and can be attached to a planning permission to make acceptable development which would otherwise be unacceptable in planning terms.
A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “As part of the Graylingwell Park development on the former Graylingwell Hospital site, the developers are obliged in a S106 Agreement to pay a financial contribution towards a cycle route between Oaklands Park and Oaklands Way.
“The first part of the scheme has been delivered (between Wellington Road and the Broyle Road entrance to the Festival and Minerva Theatres) and the money secured is towards the second part which the county and/or district council will look to deliver. At the time of writing, no preferred route has been identified.”
Brian and Rosemary Hebblethwaite, Chichester district forum members said of the news: “This would have been an essential part of a cycle route from the north of Chichester to the city.
“It is so important to develop off-road routes to enable families to cycle safely.
“These issues have been raised by the Cycle Forum for some years and the response from the local authority has been disappointing.”
ChiCyle co-ordinator, Sarah Sharp said: “We have always said that new development needs proper links and road crossings as well as safe, segregated routes to allow people to leave their cars at home and feel safe while cycling into the city or crossing the road. New developments go in, but somehow it seems that developers and the council officers are unable to deliver the promised cycle and walking infrastructure. ”
Chichester District Council said: “As part of a legal agreement running with the outline planning permission at Graylingwell Park, a toucan crossing has to be provided across Oaklands Way from Northgate car park.
“This needs to be provided by the time that the 450th dwelling on the site is occupied. The developer, Linden Homes, has not yet reached that level of occupancy for the site, but we are monitoring this to ensure that the crossing is delivered as required in the legal agreement.
“In addition, the Section 106 agreement requires a suitable link from the Northgate car park (or other suitable location to be agreed with West Sussex County Council) via the new toucan crossing to Franklin Place, then westwards to North Street including all signs, signals, marking and any Traffic Regulation Orders.”