By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
HAMPSHIRE County Council’s consultation on its Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Gosport and Fareham ends just before midnight on Sunday, October 31.
The county council wants to make sure it meets the requirements of the Department for Transport Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy 2017 and have in place a plan, “for walking and cycling identifying preferred routes as ‘primary’ (which represent busy, direct, and main routes), ‘secondary’ (which represent medium usage routes through local areas, feeding into the primary routes) and core walking zones, for further development.”
This would then lead to improvements in cycling and walking infrastructure funded at least in part by central government.
One source of money could be Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s long-term cycling and walking plan ‘Gear Change’ announced in 2020, which promised £2 billion over five years to reach a target of half of all journeys in towns and cities being cycled or walked by 2030.
Gosport and Fareham are two of the five boroughs identified in the current consultation by Hampshire County Council.
Each has further information, an interactive map for comments on particular locations, and a survey form with space for more general comments.
At the time of writing, 53 respondents had completed the online Gosport survey, and 82 had completed the one for Fareham.
Philippa Dickinson is a member of Cycle Gosport is concerned that with Gosport being one of the top ten UK towns for cycling, too few residents have heard about the consultation.
So much so that tomorrow – Saturday, October 30 – she will be at the community table next to the café in Gosport Discovery Centre with details of the consultation and encouraging people to ‘have their say’ because, as she says, the borough has, “got some wonderful walking and cycling areas.”
Talking to The Globe, Philippa said that, “the online survey is quite simple to do and there is a very effective interactive map which allows comments to be placed on specific points along each route, with the facility to view and “agree” or “disagree” with comments made by others.
“It takes a little time to get to grips with zooming in and placing your pin where you want to make a comment but once you have the hang of it, it is pretty good and strangely addictive!”
However, she is concerned that many people are missing out because the information and survey are only online and there is, “a significant part of the walking demographic who do not live their lives online”, so their views are will not be taken into account.
That is what she has found when holding previous sessions about the cycling and walking consultation in Gosport Discovery Centre – most of those who spoke to her had not heard about the survey and did not use the internet very much, if at all.
Should someone wish to provide their views but are not comfortable with an internet survey, the survey form states they can email their response to email@example.com. As for the online survey, the email must be sent by just before midnight on Sunday, October 31.
Photo (top): information about the cycling and walking consultation. Philippa Dickinson, reproduced with permission