CYCLEWIGHT AGM 29th November 2013
The 2013 Annual General Meeting was held on Friday 29h November at Newport C of E Primary, Hazel Close, off Sylvan Drive, Newport, PO30 5GD. About 40 members attended. Apologies were received from Alexander & Margaret Hopkinson-Woolley, Hilary Searle, Steve Goodman.
LOCAL SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT FUND: Will Ainslie
Will Ainslie the Project Manager, explained the IW Council LSTF programme. Rachel Mills, then employed by the Council, negotiated Government funding for IW proposals aimed at promotion of tourist visits to the Island based on improved public transport infrastructure, along with facilities for cycling and pedestrian use. Funding was about £4.95M and the council added about £1M from its local transport allocation, making about £5M. There is a spend profile over time, ending in March 2015.
Work started on planning and construction to implement the bid plans. Ms Mills now works for Island Roads, and the engineering and design function has devolved to Island Roads as part of the PFI arrangements put in place by the previous IW Council. Will has been employed by the council, starting on 2 September, to manage the project. There have been problems keeping the momentum of work.
Some expenditure has gone into transport pump priming, including the 4 post buses running between Ryde & Yarmouth: one of these is now fitted to take 6 bikes.
The promotion of tourism has been structured into the "Destination Management Organisation" to which Tom Ransom has been appointed.
The cycle routes being currently implemented are these:
# SHANKLIN_WROXALL: construction started in February 2013, and is two-thirds complete. A member of the public queried the legal right of the council to proceed. The council has conceded that they should have obtained planning permission for the improvements, although they own the trackbed. Application for retrospective planning permission is underway, and negotiations have agreed that the route will be designated as bridleway. Will explained that a solid base layer has been constructed, but the surface dressing cannot be applied in colder winter temperatures. Hence it is hoped to complete in late spring.
# QUAY LANE: A route was planned from St Helens to Quay Lane, Brading, but has been stopped due to land ownership issues. The short connection at Quay Lane is in fact footpath, but can be widened thanks to the generosity of a landowner. This is to be done & surfaced, but this is the total of work to be carried out. Asked about compulsory purchase Will said he did not think this was an option the council would consider. Mike Stephens said contractors were currently burying 400mm pipe along the trackbed and were leaving a mess behind. Could they be obliged to re-instate the surface as it is now? Will said he would look into this.
# QUARR ABBEY: Wootton/Fishbourne to Quarr Abbey was deliverable in this financial year. English Heritage have agreed subject to construction to a lower engineering standard which meets their environment needs. He noted there may be a future archaeological dig in the area.
# LADIES WALK: Quarr Abbey to Ryde, via golf club route. Agreement has been reached in principal with club that footpath be dedicated as a shared path. There were short steep descents which would be furnished with staggered gates to slow down cyclists while allowing through tandems, trailers & tagalongs.
# NEWPORT-ISLAND HARBOUR: Planning permission has been sought for this. It will not be constructed in this financial year, but should happen in spring/summer 2014. It is a section of the planned route to the Folly Inn and Whippingham which is being surveyed.
Derek Jackson asked about remedial work on Newport to Alverstone cycle track surface. Will said Island Roads were responsible.
VISIT ISLE OF WIGHT: Tom Ransom
Tom explained that he was appointed in mid-October to run Visit IW, to market the Isle of Wight as a tourist destination, and to bring sustainable transport thinking to bear. He sees it as his role to help Will Ainslie get the most out of the LSTF investment. The "Destination Management Organisation" will have a private sector edge, with board members appointed from the tourist industry.
Tom lived in New Zealand for a number of years before returning to the island. NZ was the first country in the world to give the vote to women, but had the worst reputation on the world for cycling. Tom was chair of Cycle Action Waiheke, which sought to improve things. His daughter's school had prohibited cycling to school, but they managed to get the policy reversed after some years.
Aukland is a city of cars, but they now realise that they should reduce car use to be in contention as an international city. He went on to outline some road improvements they campaigned to have adopted. NZ has compulsory cycle helmet wearing, which has led to much reduced cycle use. The lesson is that considerable financial expenditure must accompany a compulsory helmet law to offset the reduction in cycling.
The Round the Island cycle route is a real asset to tourism on the island as groups of cyclists pay visits over several days to the island.
COUNCILLOR JOHN MEDLAND
John Medland is Vice Chair of the sustainability committee of the new IW Council. While fully behind the LSTF project he sees the need to plan now to follow on in the future. Importantly he believes that a funding stream exists in the Solent Economic Partnership, whereby Southampton, Portsmouth & Hampshire local authorities collaborate on sustainable integrated transport projects.
John has studied the rights of way network, which extends for over 500 miles. It is rubbish as a network. There are virtually no safe connections linking different parts. It is necessary to use trunk road sections to make a joined up route, and this applies to ferry and bus termini which tourists need to use. On the other hand there is potential for a flat, off-road network using the lines of the former rail network. This would provide access across the island to sections of interest to cyclists with more hills or technical challenges. John said that he is not frightened to say "compulsory purchase order".
John mentioned some schemes he has in mind including designation of further Green Lanes. He asked those present to come up with more route options. Also needed are suggestions for more signage locations on the Island. Nigel Tibbutt said that he has liaised with the IWC for the Wayfarers Randonnee, and there has never been a year when the signage has been exactly right.
Limited time was available for Cllr Medland to speak, but see Cyclewight website for his Rights of Way Development.doc. In this he details applicable policy sources from the Island Plan, the Historic Environment Plan, the AONB Management Plan and the Local Transport Plan. These set forth the political decisions already determined to prioritise public transport and rights of way.
REVIEW OF YEAR: Tim Thorne
Tim Thorne the Chair reviewed some of the achievements of the year in which Cyclewight was 20 years old. We are represented on the Quality Transport Partnership (Val Lawson) and the Local Access Forum (Alex Lawson). We have membership of Sustrans, Cycle Touring Club, Cycle Nation. We host the IW Cycle Forum attended by a variety of representatives including from the PFI, the Road Haulage Association, and Hampshire Police.
Activities we have pursued include answering questions, replying to newspaper letters, responding to consultations, attending meetings, organising Mince Pie Ride and 10 th anniversary of Cowes-Sandown path ride, contacting planning authority re East Medina route & Yarmouth cycling centre, assisting with LSTF project, and attending Cycle Festival.
The web site is mastered by Alan Bennett and has attracted 4000 hits in a year. Three different holiday companies have made contact and have asked to put adverts on our site.
We are active on Facebook and Twitter.
For the future Tim set the following objectives:
# Road Safety campaigning, including driver education and better street design.
# Newport to West Wight route.
# Youth cycling and events.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Elections were held for the offices for the group. Results: Tim Thorne – Chair, Alex Lawson – Secretary, Colin Boon – Treasurer, Derek Jackson – Membership Secretary.
New committee members are needed, and anyone who would wish to join the committee would be welcome.
Postal charges to circulate the newsletter now amount to around £100. Tim asked members to let Colin Boon know if they wish to continue with posted newsletter, or to email him if happy to receive by email.