This path has been used since time immemorial by cyclists to travel between the A27 and Warsash. It gives access to Sustrans Route 2 east to the Gosport ferry and Pompei and west via the Hamble ferry to Southampton. Recently NO CYCLING signs have been placed along the path and a very aggressively-worded sign prominently placed by the ferry landing saying that the land is privately owned (by HCC), cycling is not allowed on the path and the police intend to monitor the situation, challenge cyclists and take action. Walkers are encouraged to challenge cyclists as well!
I am sure some members of SCC will be familiar with this path and will not be aware of the new restriction. The path has never been a designated shared use path but local custom has always accepted cycling.
After investigations by Portsmouth Cycle Forum it transpires that Hampshire County Council will take into account evidence of continued cycle use of this path, and may adopt this as a shared use path:
I am happy to clarify that anyone is free to make an application to demonstrate that rights exist over a route other than those that are already recorded. In this instance I believe that you are seeking to demonstrate that the route is wrongly recorded as a Footpath as you believe that the path has been used by the public at large on bicycles for a long period and therefore ‘higher’ rights have been acquired. As I explained on the phone, this use needs to be for an uninterrupted period of 20 years or more before the use was called into question.
Applications should be made in the correct way to the County Council, supported by the relevant evidence. It is our job to assess the evidence and to decide whether it is sufficient to warrant the making of an Order to change the status of the route (to show higher rights than just Footpath).
It is therefore imperative that all those who have cycled the path during the last 20 years, and who feel it should remain open to cyclists, should complete a “user evidence form”.
Joanne Newell has kindly agreed to collate responses and submit them to HCC. Here are the instructions from Joanne:
Please find attached the 5 page User Evidence form (Questions 1 – 19 plus map)
Please complete the form, and also highlight on the map the route you have cycled (The map is not terribly clear so I have included an attachment which shows a map with the highlighted route)
If you can forward the form on to anyone else who can provide evidence of use, then that would be helpful.
Please return completed forms to:- 9 Gray Close, Warsash, Southampton, SO31 9TB.
I have put my name forward to collate these forms, as there is another section which needs completing before they can be submitted, and it may be off-putting for some people, as notices have to be served on landowners etc. Therefore if you wish me to collate your forms into one pack, then please return to me. If you wish to submit your own full application, you need to contact Sylvia at Hampshire County Council on 01962 841841 for the full pack.