Thank you for allowing me speak to you about this at the open
East Bassett Residents Association meeting at Cantell School last Thursday
evening. Please see attached a copy of an email from Pete Brunskill, Sustainable
Transport Policy Manager.
Also attached is the brief report issued by Dr
Lin Hand as part of her consultations. This was the paper I handed to you for
information. You will be interested to hear that when this proposal was put to
the meeting it was greeted with derision.
It would have been much more
constructive if a properly considered formal consultation exercise had been
carried out beforehand. In this instance "pilot" means imposing the scheme on
the local community for three months without sufficient notice. The original
"very successful pilot" referred to on the west side of the common was in fact
the footpath from Bassett Avenue, behind the houses along Burgess Rd. This had
less use than Lover's Lane but the switch-off probably resulted in vulnerable
road users being put at more risk from the traffic in Burgess Road. Lover's Lane
is a very heavily used tarmac shared-use footpath and cycleway which is a
Council designated cycle 'commuter' route .
I have talked to Dr
Hand and the purpose is to discourage use at night. This seems not have been
thought through properly especially with regard to its effects on cyclists with
whom they failed to consult.
Cyclists will be forced off this otherwise
very popular direct and safe off-road route onto dangerous roads such as Burgess
Road, the Avenue or Hill Lane. I would suggest that as a result, the potential
for increased road casualties for cyclists would be far greater than the rare
occurrence of attacks here. There have been attacks in the more southerly unlit
section of Lover's Lane and the only report I found of an attack in this lit
section stated that the attack was curtailed by a passer-by proving the
usefulness of keeping the path well used. If this trial is held to 'work' are
lights to be switched off elsewhere when the problem has been displaced to other
We would be very grateful for your
being able to assist in having this reconsidered so that all lights on along
this path are kept on in hours of darkness. Some of the reasons for this are
outlined as follows:
A well used path is a safer path. Use must be
bolstered not discouraged. Seeing other users within sight or earshot gives
A well lit path means cyclists can easily see and
avoid pedestrians and other cyclists alike.
Cyclists provide a
fast moving "patrol" effect moving swiftly along past slower pedestrians and
provide a deterrent to any assailants lying in wait for
Lights are essential to see the edge of the path clearly.
This is very important as long stretches of Lovers Lane have deep edges to the
tarmac over which it is all too easy to twist an ankle or spill a cyclist off,
as I know from bitter experience - and have seen happen to others. This is
exacerbated by the tarmac path being of inadequate width.
Being able to
see clearly as far ahead as possible gives greater security. Clearing
encroaching vegetation well back to increase open areas to the sides of the path
is a good idea. Historically, Lovers Lane, was according to SCAPPS's records,
a much wider open perambulation. Restoring this openness is to be
Relying on remotely sited University CCTV cameras by clearing
even more undergrowth to allow better surveillance will not work due to the fact
that there are far too many obstacles. In addition, I believe that legally a
site's cameras must not be allowed to view or record outside the boundaries of
the site concerned.
The excuse of not being able to keep up with
inspections and maintenance properly is a very poor reason for switching off the
lights. The black painted numbers on dark green posts are impossible to read in
darkness and make it very difficult for the public to identify them when
reporting faults. There should be far less delay between reports and fixing
Entering a dark path off a well lit street immediately
puts the genuine user at a disadvantage due to the significant time it takes for
eyes to become adjusted. This is contrary to the claims that "visual range" of
potential attacker and victim are "equal" in the dark. It is wrong to suggest
there is any real equality in this relationship!
Making things easier for
walking and cycling is one of the basic elements of Sustainable Transport and
Healthy Living policy which this scheme negates especially if those put off
using this path resort to using their cars.
Residents of Bassett, Highfield,
Chilworth, Chandler's Ford etc., many school children, local college and
University students use this path. Have they been consulted and warned about
The reasons given for this move are ill considered and
unjustified. It must be stopped now in the public interest.
forward to your response
Peter and Tina
Note: forwarded message attached.
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Good this month.