The Council, through the Common Management, are proposing to switch off the lights along the length of the Lover’s Lane path in the NE corner of the common from 10th December until March 2008 as a ‘pilot’ scheme for increasing users’ security. They already intend to remove (the few) lamps along the stretch of gravel footpath behind houses on Burgess Rd where this approach has already “been very successful”. But this is an entirely misleading comparison to use to back their contention that simply deterring pedestrians and cyclists from using the path will prevent attacks and muggings after dark. It might well, if no-one uses it, but if they do venture along there will be the additional hazards of slipping off the steep edges or colliding with unseen pedestrians to contend with in the darkness! They seem to have completely overlooked the fact it will not only greatly inconvenience people but more seriously, cyclists will be forced to resort to alternative local very busy roads where they will be exposed to far greater danger than the risk of a rare attack on the path—only two attacks have happened on this path in a year. They have, by their own admission, not consulted cyclists or cycling organisations but have since apologised for this. The minimum we have come to expect is notice of such proposals through the Cycle Forum or the Cycling Officer and at least a decent period of consultation, not just two weeks. Lindsi will be requesting that cyclists are represented on the Common Safety and Security group in the future.
Please read their case [pdf] ([word doc]) and if you are concerned to give an opinion please either contact Lin Hand (in charge of Common management) direct on T: 023 8067 1921 or email : firstname.lastname@example.org or the Campaign through Lindsi or come to the next Southampton Cycling Campaign meeting on Monday 10th December to express your views so that we may formulate or response as a body.
It is also important to copy in or contact Dale Bostock (Dale.Bostock@southampton.gov.uk) or Peter Brunskill (Pete.Brunskill@southampton.gov.uk) about this too as they are very concerned about this as they were not consulted either! You can also contact or write to the Cabinet Member for Housing and Neighbourhoods Councillor Philip Williams (e: email@example.com) who is responsible for the Open Spaces section which is in charge of the Common Management Unit.