The announcement by the County Council that all the temporary COVID pop-up cycle lanes in West Sussex are to be pulled up was met with mixed reactions. In Worthing there seems to have been widespread (socially distanced) dancing in the streets and not a single constituent has written to me to complain about the Broadwater route. In Shoreham the response has been much more mixed.
Part of the problem was that there was no real consultation with local communities before the lanes were installed as they resulted from the emergency Coronavirus Act legislation. As a result, opportunities to adapt the routes and layout to make them safer for all road users and minimise the impact of people living next to the lanes were missed. This is particularly problematic in Shoreham where the lane runs through a residential street rather than an arterial route into the centre of town and impacts more directly on those trying to access their properties.
Cycle lanes are a good thing and we need to get them right otherwise we risk alienating a large chunk of the population who we need take along with us. Adur Council in particular has been developing an exciting cycling and walking plan for the area and it is likely that further funding opportunities will be available to add more local cycle lanes in future. That is why Shoreham Councillor Kevin Boram and I have launched a comprehensive survey to get everybody’s feedback for what worked well and what didn’t with the Upper Shoreham Road cycle lane and I would urge Adur residents to find it on my website https://www.timloughton.com/cyclesurvey and fill it in.
It is not a raw for or against poll but a genuine intelligence gathering exercise to feed through to future plans by the County Council so we can avoid a lot of the grief that this experience has caused and make sure that we have a growing sustainable network of local cycle lanes that benefit local people without annoying them.
It was good to see the spontaneous Remembrance Day commemorations that popped-up across the constituency on Sunday. I went to Southwick Green intending quietly to lay my House of Commons wreath along with a small group of Southwick Legion members and the Vice Chairman of Adur Council. As it turned out about 200 local residents had a similar idea and naturally spaced themselves out across the Green.
Southwick’s vicar Father Roger turned up and said prayers, the Legion banner was paraded, and a few wreaths laid. I was honoured that the President of the British Legion branch asked me to give the exhortation though the ulterior motive was that if the police decided this was an illegal assembly, I would be the one to get ‘busted.’ All was well. Everyone used their common sense and kept safe and the inevitably shortened impromptu ceremony was rounded off by a particularly touching round of applause. Well done Southwick.