A trial of the controversial shared use of part of Seaford promenade by cyclists and pedestrians from next Easter has been given the go ahead by town councillors.
Seaford Town Council’s community services committee agreed last Thursday (November 28) to approve East Sussex County Council making an order allowing shared use between Edinburgh Road and the Martello Tower.
Cycling on this section of footway, which would link to the existing cycle path, has sparked strong reaction both for and against from residents and seafront users.
To address safety concerns, an amendment was made to the recommendations for provision for the consideration of speed limits if that was an issue raised during the trial period.
Encouraging or enforcing the use of bells was another consideration added.
Plans include a possible questionnaire survey of people using the promenade in August to gauge reaction to the trial, a repeat of pedestrian and cycle count surveys carried out in October and reports back at the end of next year as to whether the scheme should be made permanent.
Ben King, projects and facilities manager for the council, said there were mixed feelings about the proposal.
“There were concerns about the speed of cyclists on the promenade and opening it up to potentially more cycles,” he said.
“Underlying this was the fact unless the trial actually takes place we would not be able to know exactly what the results would be.
“It comes down to the fact is it justifiable to stop a family with children riding their bikes on the prom who will consider footpath users as some cyclists may be careless - the same could be said of about road users.”
He said residents felt certain areas of the road there were ‘generally unsafe’ for cyclists due to poor layouts.
“These kind of safety improvements were felt to be one of the benefits of shared use of the promenade,” he said.
Shared use of the prom was one of the requests highlighted in the Seaford Community Partnership seafront survey.
Seaford Town Council has been working with other groups, including the county council, Cycle Seahaven and Sussex Police, to achieve this aim since 2011.
The action plan included a survey count of pedestrians and cyclists during three days of October over a 12 hour period each time and it was established an order for shared use of the footway was needed.