The government is supposed to be encouraging cycling and walking.

In a couple of weeks shops in Lewes High Street will be able to open, but people will have to queue outside on Lewes’s narrow pavements.  How is that going to work?

So far, as far as Travelman can tell. East Sussex County Council has done nothing at all about this.  The council is responsible for our streets as well as for promoting cycling and walking.

There is no evidence of the council having applied for funding to promote this and the deadline for councils to bid for money to promote these things runs out this coming Friday.

Cycle Lewes and Lewes LIving Streets have put out the following statement:

 “Please lobby East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to support our proposals and ensure it applies for Department of Transport funding to support cycling and walking needs in Covid-19 environment.

On 2nd May, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a £2bn package to help increase cycling and walking capacity across the UK. The programme which will be published in early June aims to double cycling and increase walking to work by 2025.

Then on 9th May the Transport Secretary announced that pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements for pedestrians and safer junctions, as well as cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250m active travel fund to create an environment that is safe for both walking and cycling.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) needs to act to swiftly and apply for the first tranche of funding by Friday, 5th June.

Cycle Lewes (CL) and Lewes Living Streets (LLS) have discussed and agreed potential projects and these were submitted to ESCC on Wednesday, 13th May.

Today, we have had no clear details of the Council’s plans for applying for these funds. .

Other Councils have already drawn up plans, some have already begun to introduce changes.

Our proposals include:

  1. The removal of on-street parking along Lewes High Street, School Hill, Friars Walk and Lansdowne Place (give residents with permits free parking in off-street car parks instead)
  2. The reallocation of that space to pedestrians and contra-flow for cyclists, dependent on configurations.
  3. The restriction of loading and unloading to certain hours in these areas.
  4. The banning of all traffic from Cliffe High Street except during limited loading periods, together with rigorous enforcement.
  5. The reduction of the amount of ‘through traffic’ coming in/out of Lewes (which should use the A27 by-pass) through signage, narrower carriageways, advance stop lines for cyclists and change of phasing of traffic lights (including priority for pedestrians).
  6. The provision of two-way access for cyclists on East Street (either along its full length or to Albion Street and then make School Hill from Albion Street down to Eastgate Street two-way).
  7. The restriction of motor traffic around schools and East Sussex College during pick up and drop off times during term time.
  8. The rigorous enforcement of the 20mph and other speed limits in town, including use of all CCTV.

With Government advice to avoid public transport, it is highly likely that traffic congestion and air pollution will increase to above pre-Covid 19 times, and over the past few days we have already seen a sharp increase in car and lorry traffic in and out of Lewes and across the County. We have also noted that more vehicles are speeding than previously.

It is imperative that ESCC listens to the needs of cyclists and pedestrians and works closely with Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets to ensure that central government funding is applied for as a matter of urgency. We need to avoid increased congestion and pollution in Lewes to bring about long term health and environmental benefits in line with government policy, now is the time to act.

 Please send an email to Cllr Keith Glazier, the Leader of ESCC, the Chief Executive and senior staff using the email addresses below if you agree with our proposals: you can cut and paste from this email and/or use your own wording.

 Councillor Keith Glazier <cllr.keith.glazier@eastsussex.gov.uk>, Leader of the Council

Rupert Clubb, Rupert.clubb@eastsussex.gov.uk Director of Communities, Economy and Transport

Karl Taylor <Karl.Taylor@eastsussex.gov.uk>  Assistant Director Operations and Contract Management

Nick Skelton <nick.skelton@eastsussex.gov.uk> Assistant Director Communities

Councillor Claire Dowling <Cllr.Claire.Dowling@eastsussex.gov.uk> Lead Member for Transport and Environment

Councillor Rupert Simons cllr.rupert.simmons@eastsussex.gov.uk. Lead member for the economy

Chief Executive, Becky Shaw becky.shaw@eastsussex.gov.uk

Please copy your email into your County Councillor, Ruth O’Keeffe or Philip Daniels.

Councillor Ruth O’Keeffe- most of Lewes roklewes@eastsussex.gov.uk 

 Councilor Philip Daniels, Lewes Bridge and Ringmer.  cllr.philip.daniel@eastsussex.gov.uk

Please send Cycle Lewes and Living Streets a copy so we can share with other Councillors.

info@cyclelewes.org.uk

lewesgroup@livingstreets.org.uk

Finally, please ask friends or family to send an email if you think they would agree with our proposals for a better and cleaner environment in our Town.

 Please do this now.  There is no time to lose.