Opposition has grown to share sidewalks from different community groups including Residents, Chi Cycle and the Chichester District Cycle Forum.
ChiCycle campaigner Mark Record even asked lawyers in December 2021 to seek judicial review of the actions of West Sussex County Council (WSCC), however, the WSCC confirmed that the planned work for the Sherborne Roundabout works Road/Westgate will continue later in 2022 as The Traffic Control By-law has been approved.
A freedom of information request from ChiCycle revealed the detailed objections raised during the consultation and the basis of the judicial review was that the plans ignored government guidelines and that there had been insufficient consultation with community groups. People with Disabilities.
Due to mounting legal costs and the WSCC’s refusal to cap its defense costs under the Aarhus Convention, Mark Record withdrew its application for judicial review as it could not fund it further despite generous financial support from individuals and local groups.
He said: “I am obviously disappointed that I was unable to move forward with this application for judicial review to force the WSCC to consider national guidelines which provide design standards for safe and separated cycle paths and which advise against mixing pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas. areas.
“In my opinion, the reason for the increase in car traffic is due to an outdated attitude by local authorities that – instead of preserving or improving ‘green’ infrastructure for existing and new residents – new housing must channel their new traffic through existing residential areas.
“They do this by essentially forcing pedestrians and cyclists to diverge and share inadequate carriageways, even though this is against all national guidelines.
The founder of national walking and cycling body Sustrans, John Grimshaw OBE, wrote to ChiCycle to express his dismay at the plans.
He said: “It is a sad comment, in this year of COP26, that the Council cannot bring itself to extend the popular Centurion Way to the city centre, while maintaining the same high quality traffic-free standard. – space should be taken from the highway for the balance to shift from cars to sustainable transport – bicycles in this flat city.
Ian Swann, Chairman of the Chichester and District Cycle Forum, said: “(I am) deeply disappointed that the concerns raised at the Whitehouse Farm Phase 1 consultation meetings have been ignored and that no safe, desirable cycling provision and usable on the road has been included.
“It appears that this scheme has been pushed through to form the basis of a pending junction for a new access road, and the design does not follow Government ‘Gear Change’ guidelines or LTN1/20 guidelines.
“A fundamental overhaul of the entire access road (which will function as a western relief route/de facto bypass) is likely to be required unless appropriate investment is made in this critical junction serving two schools and the Chichester College as well as active access to travel and leisure. to and from the city.
“The WSCC acknowledged that there was not enough width for shared lanes at certain points on the roundabout, but in its response to objections noted that it was not required to comply with the guidelines of the government.
Local residents have supported improved crossing points, but are concerned that the principle of shared paths at this roundabout will set a precedent which could be used when the alignment of the access road to White House Farm is published, connecting this new subdivision of 1,600 housing units to the city centre. .
Sarah Quail, Councilor and President of the Westgate Residents Association, said: “Westgate residents are really concerned about the speed and volume of traffic along Westgate.
“As well as being a National Cycle Route, Westgate is a key pedestrian route to and from the city and we are working hard to ensure this route is safe and pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.
Westgate is not a shortcut to the city and through traffic – rat runners – is not welcome.
Cyclists on the sidewalks pose a real danger to pedestrians and as we welcome new level crossings at the Sherborne Road/Westgate roundabout, the number of cars, bicycles, elderly residents and Bishop Luffa school children who converge on this roundabout is a real concern for us. We will continue to push to reduce through traffic and enforce speed limits as well as forward plans that improve safety and road cycling segregation that leaves sidewalks to pedestrians!
Julia Smith (Westgate local resident and Westgate Residents’ Association committee member) said: ‘There is real concern about the principle of shared pavements for pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas – the guidelines of the government are there for a reason but are being ignored, and creating new shared sidewalks on a busy intersection is just an accident waiting to happen.
“It would be much better to invest properly and invest once in good, safe cycling infrastructure on the road, especially as Westgate is key walking and cycling access to the city and the number of pupils, of cyclists, traffic and pedestrians already converging on this roundabout at certain times is scary.