The protest in Alexandra Park that was held on Saturday (May 7). Picture by Dave Smith SUS-220905-094021001

Hastings park cycle route plans: Scores march in protest at scheme

Scores of people took part in a protest at the weekend against plans to create a shared cycle path in Alexandra Park.

By Richard Gladstone
Monday, 9th May 2022, 10:37 am

The demonstration was held on Saturday (May 7) and was organised following the news that proposals for the shared pedestrian and cycling through Alexandra Park will move ahead.

The plans from East Sussex County Council have attracted controversy, with petitions for and against the scheme.

Those against the proposals argue the shared path would result in ‘inevitable conflict’ between cyclists and pedestrians, particularly those with mobility difficulties.

Several petitions were set up recently in opposition to the scheme, signed by hundreds of people.

Dave Smith, who organised Saturday’s protest, said: “We are a large group of local residents, all of whom are regular users of our Grade II* Listed park.

“We are in no way anti-cyclist but believe that the only way pedestrians will be safe will be if cyclists have their own dedicated route either along St Helens Road or Lower and Upper Park Roads.

“This would dramatically improve their own safety as well as ours. Most cyclists I have spoken to aren’t bothered about the actual park experience but in having a safe, direct route free of road traffic.

“As it stands, the scheme represents a substantial safety risk to so many different groups from toddlers running around on lawns near the route to dog owners finding their pet has suddenly run after a squirrel, bringing a cyclist down.

“This is not Hyde Park, nor is it Brighton nor Amsterdam. Alexandra Park is a narrow park and completely unsuitable for a 3m two-way path for both pedestrians and cyclists.

“The disabled, elderly and partially sighted will find themselves unable to walk through the park free of cycle lanes, it isn’t possible. In fact they get a steeper more arduous route than the cyclist.

“The fact that nobody will be able to use the toilets without crossing the shared route is unforgivable. All those who have paid the council a lot of money for their sponsored memorial benches are being completely insulted as many will now have a view of cycles going past instead of a peaceful view at their chosen special remembrance place.

“As a group we have found public awareness of this cycle path is virtually non-existent. For a scheme that’s been talked about for nine years that’s pretty shocking.

“When we have found a few who are familiar with the plan they think cyclists are getting their own dedicated lane. People are genuinely shocked when they hear what actually is coming and what the disabled and elderly will have to endure.”

Page 1 of 3