The results of a HCC funded feasibility study are at the final review stage. The strong local and national support shown by the petition, has applied pressure to both local and national government.
The South Downs National Park Authority has recently bid for funding for cycling facilities within the SDNP. The bid includes funding for the Butser Cutting cycle link.
The petition and especially the comments may have considerably strengthened that case made in that bid. Thanks to all who have signed in support of this campaign.
In the early 1990s the A3 road north from the A3(M) was replaced by a dual carriageway that, for the vast majority of cyclists, does not offer an acceptable safety level. The Highways Agency built cycle tracks alongside the A3, south from Queen Elizabeth Country Park to North Horndean and from Petersfield to Liphook.
The critical section for cyclists, through the Butser Cutting, was left without cycle provision with the loss of the primary cycling route across Hampshire’s South Downs. Over 10 years of campaigning by a large number of cyclists has so far failed to get this unacceptable road design rectified.
At a recent meeting with HCC staff the Highways Agency agreed to reconsider their objection to a cycle track alongside the dual carriageway, in the Butser Cutting, between the south end of the unused Old A3 and the QE Park entrance. Even so HA still say they don’t have funds for the work. This link would allow the reinstatement of a primary north south cycling route through the South Downs using the now unused Old A3.
With approximately 80,000 people living within 10km of QE Park, the attractive location, the consequential improved access to the South Downs National Park and the mild inclines would suggest that within 5 years the average daily transits of cyclists would be likely to exceed 200.
Advantages of link
The advantages of building the proposed cycle link would be to:
• Maximise the number of cyclists who can cycle across the Hampshire Downs;
• Enable cycle commuting between the Waterlooville/ Horndean area and Petersfield;
• Enable cycle access from south of the Downs to Petersfield Railway Station;
• Improve cycling access from the north onto Butser Hill and into the Queen Elizabeth Forest and the wider South Downs National Park;
• Improve the safety of those who already cycle along the A3 route;
• Increase the level of cycling by making additional cycle routes accessible.
Cost of work
The cost has to be established. A feasibility study is required to define the work needed on the 600m section along the A3. Also a 500m long section is required between the Old A3 and the north end of the lay-by on the dual carriageway and the Old A3 needs obstructions cleared and the surface patched. The route length being 3.3km
The Highway Agency’s more relaxed interpretation of the technical criteria suggests that this is the right time to increase political pressure for the reinstatement of the cycle route. The initial action is for a cyclists' petition that you are invited to support.