Conversion of Westgate Pavements (footways) into Shared Use Cycletracks Freedom of Information Request to CDC

Conversion of Westgate Pavements (footways) into Shared Use Cycletracks Freedom of Information Request to CDC

Update

Laura Coombs emailed back almost immediately on behalf of CDC to explain it is WSCC who are responsible for these highway planning decisions. ChiCycle members find it frustrating that key elements of CDC planning agreements are delegated to WSCC highways but this is clearly no fault of Laura Coombs who kindly got back to us very quickly. Here response is as follows:

Dear Mark
Thank you for your email. Chichester District Council is not responsible for this, we believe your request should be redirected to West Sussex County Council.
Please use this link to make a request Make a Freedom of Information Request
Kind regards

  Laura Coombs
Customer Services Officer
Communities and Customer Services
Chichester District Council
Ext: 25711 | Tel: 01243785166 | lcoombs@chichester.gov.uk | Fax: 01243 776766
http://www.chichester.gov.uk
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Original Post…

Poor quality plans for highway works intended to mitigate transport problems cause by the 1600 home West of Chichester housing development, appear to be going forwards with little concern for equality rights of pedestrians or for the needs of cyclists.

Plans have been revealed that show cyclists using the South Coast National Cycleway will be routed onto unsuitable sections of Westgate pavements.

Relocating cyclists onto narrow urban pavements that round blind corners will severely disadvantage pedestrians and cyclists and it is shocking that disability groups have not been consulted and engaged with the decision making process.

To clarify what is going on within the planning process, ChiCycle have written a Freedom of Information Request to Chichester District Council. A copy is available below the horisontal line and we will publish the response as soon as it is received.


FOI Request to CDC sent 20th November 2021

WSCC highways traffic Regulation Order (TRO) CHS9038RC includes road humps and crossings on Westgate and Sherbourne Road. Drawings included as part of this TRO illustrate that there must be other plans for the Westgate and Sherbourne Road junction that must soon be decided upon. Although the (TRO) CHS9038RC does not appear to cover the conversion of Westgate pavement into shared use cycle tracks, planning agreements to permit the conversion of pavements to shared-use must be necessary in order to permit cyclists to use the parallel crossings shown in the TRO.

The relocation of cyclists from the South Coast National Cycle Route No2 onto Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements is apparently part an S106 agreement relating to the West of Chichester Development (14/04301/OUT). These works are defined under point 7 on page 22 of a document available through the CDC planning portal, listed as (11 Apr 2018-Legal Agreement-SECTION 106 PLANNING AGREEMENT-11.04.18-PART 1 OF 9). The works are defined within the S106 agreement as “A junction improvement scheme for Westgate/Sherborne Road as shown indicatively on Highway Works Drawing 7 attached to this Agreement at Appendix 8 or as otherwise agreed in writing by the County Council”.

According to the Department for Transport (LTN1/20 Appendix C Page 187)
“To create a cycle track using part or all of an existing footway (or extending the kerbs into the carriageway) the Highway Authority must first ‘remove’ the existing footway under Section 66(4) (Highways Act 1980) and then ‘create’ the cycle track under Section 65(1)”… “Public consultation is not a mandatory requirement, however, engagement with those likely to be affected is strongly recommended, particularly groups representing disabled people”.

Please provide ChiCycle with the following information

1) Will there be (or has there already been) a planning application that includes the finalised detailed plans for conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne pavements into shared use cycle tracks that are associated with the S106 agreement for 14/04301/OUT? If so, what is the planning application reference and where is it (or where will it be) published?

2) What opportunity for consultation will be given to disabled residents and/or organisations representing them, regarding this proposed conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement into shared use cycle tracks?

3) What opportunity for consultation will be given to groups who represent pedestrians and cyclists regarding this proposed conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements into shared use cycle tracks?

4) What opportunity for consultation will be provided for members of the general public who rely on safe Westgate/Sherborne footways being available for their journeys made on foot within the city?

5) When will it be decided (or has it already been decided) whether or not to remove the legal classification of footway (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) from the sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement being considered for conversion into shared use cycle tracks?

6) Has the legal classification as footway (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) already been removed from the sections of Westgate and Sherbourne Road proposed for conversion into shared use cycle tracks?

7) Who will take (or who has taken) the decision over whether or not to remove the legal classification of footway from sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement? How can the people taking this decision be contacted to lodge ChiCycle’s opposition to this scheme?

8) Will details of the planning process be published for the proposed conversion of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements into shared use cycle-tracks? Will this include details such as, planning meeting dates, agendas and attendees? Will these details be made available on line? If so, where and when will they be made available.

9) Will the outcome of planning decisions made regarding the 14/04301/OUT S106 scheme to convert Westgate/Sherborne Rd footways into cycle-tracks, be published? If so, how when and where will the outcome of these planning meetings/decisions be made publicly available?

If possible, please send an electronic copy of the response to this FOI request to mark.record@chicycle.co.uk

Many thanks in advance for information you are able to provide.

Mark Record (Secretary for ChiCycle)

Reason Given for Making the  FOI request

Drawings included as part of (TRO) CHS9038RC reveal current proposals for walking and cycling at the junction of Westgate and Sherborne Rd to be poor quality and this unsatisfactory standard of infrastructure will severely discriminate against people who walk and cycle. These changes to the streets will particularly discriminate against vulnerable groups such as visually impaired, elderly, mobility impaired and young families. ChiCycle believe, if permission is granted for these plans, it will leave CDC and WSCC failing to meet their statutory duties under the 2010 Equality Act.
Westgate is a city street carrying a crucial section of the popular South Coast National cycle route and the street also acts as a backbone linking many other local cycle networks together.
It is irresponsible to direct cyclists from this busy National Cycle Route onto busy urban pavements where they immediately round blind corners bounded by substantial brick pillars and walls. The proposed scheme ignores virtually all existing and previous DfT standards for walking and cycling and will present a serious hazard to the safety and well being of local people who walk and cycle.
Disabled residents and organisations representing them appear to have been unfairly excluded from consultation over this scheme. The opaque nature of the planning process makes legitimate opposition to this poor quality scheme difficult.
ChiCycle are considering a legal challenge to planning decisions if they permit Westgate pavements to be converted from safe footways into poor quality shared use cycle tracks. We believe that CDC is ignoring its statutory duties under the 2010 Equality Act by allowing this scheme to go forwards without adequate consultation with disability groups. However, it is difficult for ChiCycle to legally challenge this shared pavement scheme while we cannot find adequate details of the planning process made publicly available.

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