Three new cycle parking shelters have been installed in Horsham town centre but cyclist have already expressed ‘disappointment’ at their design.
West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council announced the £30,000 funding towards the shelters in Medwin Walk, Piries Place, and Lower Tanbridge Way with a fourth planned in the Bishopric last month.
However the design of the new shelters has been criticised for being difficult to use and impractical, with many cyclists opting to use the nearby railings to secure their bikes instead.
Ruth Fletcher, a member of the Horsham District Cycling Forum,thought there were ‘better designed’ shelters and felt the locations had been pickedto keep cyclists from penetrating the town centre.
While she described the shelters as ‘not completely useless’, the wider issue was why money was not being spent on improving cycle routes in, out, and through Horsham town centre.
She added: “There is no serious intention to get any real cycling infrastructure that will actually make a difference in making more people cycle.”
Greg Collins, a Lib Dem candidate for Horsham Park, pointed out that when the bid for money from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund was prepared it contained cycle parking of a different type in the Carfax. He added: “How do you justify spending money on stuff that was not in the bid?”
Nik Butler, who regularly cycles into Horsham and is standing as an independent for Roffey North in HDC’s elections, said that maintenance of bike parking loops was ‘pretty much nil’ compared to the shelters which would need looking at every year. He added: “This is a disappointment. It’s going to have a cost long-term that nobody asked for.”
Morwen Millson, a county councillor and the Lib Dems’ parliamentary candidate for Horsham, pointed out that WSCC had axed the cycling officer post and there was no in-house expertise, and felt more attention needed to be paid to the local cycling forums.
When funding for the new shelters was announced Helena Croft, HDC’s cabinet member for Horsham town, said: “I am delighted that the provision of town centre cycle parking is being improved in this way, making the centre more accessible by a more sustainable form of transport.
“There are currently no covered cycle shelters in the centre of Horsham and cyclists are often seen penetrating areas which should only be used by pedestrians. These new shelters will help clear the pedestrian zones and motivate more people to cycle into the town , park their cycles more appropriately, then proceed into the pedestrian areas on foot. It will also contribute towards less traffic congestion in the centre so it’s a win win all round.”
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