Saturday, 19 July 2014

Crawley Observer Column 16th July 2014

In my Crawley Observer this week (below in blue) I have written about the new access road off the A23 that I enabled during my time as Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture at Crawley Borough Council. This will have a significant impact on reducing traffic through Tilgate on busy days as well as through Furnace Green to some degree. We are now at the consultation stage and the link to the plans can be found here. I urge people to look at the plan and fill out the consultation which is found here.

When I was finalising the plans with Council Officers, they were adamant that Labour's plan to add a separate cycle path was unnecessary and a waste of money, as well as destructive to the woodland in the park. However, Labour are going against expert Officer advice and pushing for a separate cycle path. The consultation is badly flawed because it asks a leading question of "The council supports sustainable transport in the borough. Would you use the new foot/cycle path if funding is agreed?"

Of course people who cycle are going to tick yes to this question without realising that the planned path would be a less direct route and that dual use will be safe on the road like it already is on the road from Titmus Drive. This is all about gimmickry and the ridiculous belief that people will cycle to the park if £100,000 of your money is wasted on a cycle path. While I encourage cycling, I have a sense of realism that some Labour Councillors with a militant cycling/anti-motorist agenda do not.
Conservative team in Tilgate & Furnace Green who secured the access road

"Tilgate Park has always been close to my heart and I’ve enjoyed visiting for many years. As the County Councillor for Tilgate and Furnace Green, I happen to be the only Councillor who represents the entire geographical area of Tilgate Park and as the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture until June, I was directly involved in the park’s improvements.
Tilgate Park was vastly improved during the Conservative Council of 2006 - 2014. The Dam was raised which performed brilliantly during last winter’s record rainfall in preventing flooding downstream. We also brought in many other improvements:

·        Boating on the lake.

·        Major refurbishment of the large children’s play area.

·        Go Ape treetop walks.

·        Converted the empty pub to a Smith and Western restaurant.

·        Surfaced the Fisherman’s Car park and created more parking spaces.

·        A better golf driving range and a new clubhouse.

·        Invested in the Nature Centre and the Cafe, including new popular attractions such as the Meerkats.

·        New toilets by the main car park.
Before we left office we also secured a free-to-use outdoor gym and the new access road from the A23 to the main car park that is coming. However, I am concerned that Labour have now added an ill-considered proposal to spend £100,000+ to rip out dozens of trees to create a cycle path separate from a section of the new access road, when dual use for the road will be perfectly safe in a 20mph maximum zone that already has speed restriction and safety measures incorporated into the design.

A separate three metre wide tarmacked cycle path is against the advice of expert Council Officers, as it will destroy woodland and most cyclists will simply choose to use the safe road which will be a more direct route. If £100,000+ exists for investing in cycling, it would be far better spent improving existing cycle paths in the town, as no evidence exists that this woodland-destroying proposed cycle path is needed or will be used. This proposal for an additional cycle path has received no scrutiny whatsoever and urgently needs some."   


Laurence said...

Like you say the road can easily be used by cars and cyclists to save £10,000 to put in a cycle path, that £10,000 could be spent much better elsewhere. Perhaps to continue the good work that has been done recently repainting and re-doing lots of roads in Crawley, next road that needs to be re-painted is outside Debenhams.

Laurence said...

Agree with your comments, not worth spending £10,000 on someone that is not really needed, if it was a busy and fast moving road then definitely put a cycle lane in to make it safer to cars and cyclist alike, but this particular road is perfectly fine to be used by cars and cyclists.

Duncan Crow said...

Thanks Laurence.

Can I just point out it is £100,000+ and not £10,000.

The entire length of Southgate Avenue is being resurfaced in late August/early September. I think that just about covers outside Debenhams at it's northern end, so obviously lines won't be painted until the surface is laid.

Laurence said...

Oh sorry mis-read it, so it would really cost £100,000+, definitely not worth it.

P.S. Sorry about the duplicate comments, I submitted the first one then though it had not gone through so did another similar comment.