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Sevenoaks councillors object to county cycling plan

Town wants "joined up" approach, accuses county of "piecemeal" planning...

Kent County Council has put forward plans to make cycling safer and easier in Sevenoaks, but town councillors aren't impressed, saying they'd rather take a “joined up” approach to transport planning than the county council's “piecemeal” approach.

Kent had planned three schemes near the Bat and Ball junction which were due to move to a detailed design stage following consultation that ended on November 7.

However, the Sevenoaks Chronicle's Sean-Paul Doran reports that councillors resolved to request the county to revisit its application of the Sevenoaks District Cycle Strategy.

Councillors said they want to nsure that any future proposals represent a material improvement in the cycle network without having a detrimental impact on pedestrian safety, and represent good value for money.

Cllr Roderick Hogarth, chairman of the council’s planning committee, said: “Sevenoaks Town Council is committed to improving the transport network within Sevenoaks town, and was supportive of the Sevenoaks District Cycle Strategy during its formation.

“The town council is currently working on an integrated transport project which will consider the transport network of Sevenoaks as a whole, and will feed into the neighbourhood development plan for the town. This plan will take a ‘joined up’ approach to improvement measures, rather than the piecemeal approach of these proposals.”

John Morrison, of the Sevenoaks Cycle Forum accused councillors of using cycling as a “political football”. He said the plans had been drawn up with no involvement from cyclists, who had not had a chance to discuss them or the costs involved.

Morrison said: “This pointless town council row could have been avoided if the parties involved had consulted the Sevenoaks Cycle Forum, which had already asked for two out of three of these ideas to go back to the drawing board.

“We want all councillors to support our campaign to implement the Sevenoaks Cycling Strategy, which was approved by everyone in 2012 but which has been gathering dust.

“It’s not helpful to us when cycling becomes a political football.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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I_like_bikes | 9 years ago

Sevenoaks has some great cycling routes and it'd be a shame to ruin it with poor infrastructure.
Saying that being that I work around the Bat and Ball area it'd be great if they improved it. St John's hill is a key route that I always feel under pressure from drivers on, yet the other roads mentioned here are generally pretty "safe" roads where drivers are generally considerate.

Having a key loop that connects Kent with routes around the town centre will be great as traffic/roadworks is a huge nightmare and only gets everyone stressed.

Kent seems to be a key cycling area that is in danger of getting a few NIMBYS, etc so it's be good to get dialogue going properly with all groups.

kie7077 | 9 years ago

'Initialised' beat me to it, all infrastructure planners need to have high quality bicycle infrastructure training and standards/guidelines need to be put in place. This constant wishy-washy cycling maybe as an afterthought approach will never work.

mattbee | 9 years ago

Unfortunately Sevenoaks Town Council are not providing a "Joined Up Approach" but are trying to force cars into higher use, disregarding all other forms or transport in the process, as far as I can see.

Rather than promoting any form of cycling, they are forcing through plans for a multi-story car park right next to a footpath and Knole Park. More and more parking seems to be Sevenoaks Council's only policy at the moment.

Initialised | 9 years ago

A clear, europe-wide set of design rules for new or re-developed roads which incorporating cycle lanes by default could prevent this sort of kerfuffle from breaking out every time the subject comes up.

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