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But locals unhappy despite prospect of job creation and reduced car use

 

In what’s believed the be the first such scheme outside a metropolitan area, electronically-controlled hire bikes — like Paris’ Velibs and London’s Boris Bikes — are set to be operated in the New Forest.

The forest bikes are part of a £3.7 million plan to make cycling in the area more family-friendly, funded by the Department for Transport. It’s part of a £17 million initiative to encourage cycling in national parks.

The bike hire system is due to launch in April 2015 with an initial roll-out of around 20 docking stations and 250 bikes, according to TransportXtra.

Docking stations will be located close to public transport links, tourist attractions and accommodation in the south-east of the New Forest National Park.

The national park authority says the hire scheme is expected to create more than 30 new jobs and generate income for local businesses. It is estimated that bike use will replace 127,000 car journeys every year.

The New Forest National Park Authority is working with consultant Atkins to develop a procurement strategy and specification for the scheme. James Datson, senior consultant at Atkins, says: “The project will support existing cycle hire providers and offer further opportunities to increase cycling among the 13.5m visitors to the New Forest each year.”

Given the historical antipathy toward cycling of some New Forest residents, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some aspects of the scheme have not gone down well with some New Forest residents.

The plans include a family cycling centre at Brockenhurst, the former base of the sportive rides that are now run from outside the Forest thanks to local opposition.

At a National Park Authority meeting, parish council chairman Russell Horne claimed the potential influx of new riders was likely to increase the dangers faced by enthusiasts, according to the Daily Echo.

He added: “We had no advance knowledge of this announcement and had not been included in any part of the consultation process, even though much of the proposed activity will centre on Brockenhurst.

“The lack of consultation has led to a lack of support for the plans.

“The proposals would lead to a significant increase in the number of cyclists being channelled onto routes that are already inadequate and potentially dangerous.”

And National Park Authority member Maureen Holding, who is also a Brockenhurst parish councillor, said: “Brockenhurst was not informed that it was going to be the cycling centre of the New Forest.

We’re almost swamped with visitors in the summer. This will bring many more visitors to the area.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

27 comments

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pwake [395 posts] 2 years ago
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Someone on the New Forest National Park Authority has a wicked sense of humour...  24

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oozaveared [947 posts] 2 years ago
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I told you about this lot last week. They bought second homes in a National Park, they like the Park, the scenery, the open spaces, and the freedom to roam. The one thing they don't want is visitors coming to a National Park and sharing it. They want it to themselves.

I was born in the Forest. My brother still lives there. There are vocal newcomers who want to pull up the barricades. They even moan about the scouts using the Forest and the scouts have been using it for over 100 years.

Most locals want to earn a living. A lot of them do that in the tourism industry in around the forest. Hotels, pubs, shop visitor attractions, even petrol stations. They do want more visitors. The already wealthy and retired people that make up a very vocal group could not care less that their fellow residents often have to leave the Forest to make a living.

If you don't want visitors don't buy a second home in National Park designed for people to visit and enjoy the countryside.

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SirCav [34 posts] 2 years ago
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No lid and she appears to be wearing earplugs/headphones... #justsaying

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giff77 [1258 posts] 2 years ago
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SirCav wrote:

No lid and she appears to be wearing earplugs/headphones... #justsaying

Seriously, I mean seriously. Are you just out to pick a fight? Wind your neck back in.

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ragtag [218 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice to see that the NFA are doing their bit to encourage people to explore the forest by bike rather than cars. Would be great to get to a point where cars are actively limited from entering the park and especially at peak times. I know many countries operate this system at weekends on certain roads in their national parks to encourage use of mass transit, cycling and walking in safety.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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A complete waste of time and will only make money for those that invest in this if nothing is done about motor vehicle usage levels.

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KiwiMike [1245 posts] 2 years ago
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From now till September, we actively avoid the NF unless we are there before 10am. 11am tops. The queues through the towns are just horrific. You'd think locals would be all in favour of people parking on the edges and cycling in, spending, then cycling out.

Well, some are.

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Northernbike [229 posts] 2 years ago
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It would be great if they brought this scheme to the Dales as it would put some bikes on the road which wouldn't drop me like a stone on every hill and if all the riders looked like the one in the photo I think there'd be very little opposition

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Initialised [310 posts] 2 years ago
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Can we get this backed up by a Scottish style Right to Roam in National Parks and Forestry Commission land, greatly restricted access for cars by way of residential and business permits and congestion zone style charges (Keilder and Hamsterly kind of do this), maximum 40mph limit on anything but M roads (New Forest does this iirc). Give cyclists, horses, pedestrians etc... priority over motor vehicles on designated 'quiet routes' with a 20mph limit. Enforce speed limits with un-obtrusive Cat's Eye cameras using average speed measurement as this works better than 'at a point' measurements. Don't issue points, simply thank the motorist for contributing to the upkeep of our national treasures.

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jacknorell [974 posts] 2 years ago
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Initialised wrote:

Enforce speed limits with un-obtrusive Cat's Eye cameras using average speed measurement as this works better than 'at a point' measurements. Don't issue points, simply thank the motorist for contributing to the upkeep of our national treasures.

That would work quite well! If that was legal, I'd be for that  4

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KiwiMike [1245 posts] 2 years ago
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It would be great to see a local body propose a weekend ban on vehicles along some of the major scenic routes - say Bolderwood Ornamental or Rhinefield Ornamental drives.

That way I can personally guarantee ***ZERO*** ponies will be hurt or killed on those roads, at those times.

"But what about the disabled and obese who can only see the ponies/trees from a car" the people cry?

Simple: HORSE AND TRAP RIDES from either end.

The less-abled get to enjoy a day out with nature, horsey-types get to make money / not have horseys killed, cycling-types get not to die/be passed stupidly by motorists.

Everyone wins. Right?

Oh. Except the Verderers - you know, the pathological shits who like to see hundreds of children and the elderly ride/walk amongst 60MPH traffic on a mile of road with no verge, rather than allow footpath access to an enclosure 10 yards away - will never go for it. It's enshrined in Forest Law that "Ye who holdeth tytle o'oer earth shalle be righteously entitl'd to lunge thy '12-plate Range Rover Vogue 4.4HSE whereabouts ye lyke"

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bikebot [2149 posts] 2 years ago
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I may have to save that picture for next time I hear someone complaining about a cyclist dressed all in black.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

If you don't want visitors don't buy a second home in National Park designed for people to visit and enjoy the countryside.

Any chance we could persuade your brother and a few mates to set up a New Forest Sons of Glyndwr type group?

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 2 years ago
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Is it a prerequisite to to live in the New Forest you have to be a miserable nimby.
Roll em out, its a great idea.

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fatty [77 posts] 2 years ago
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giff77 wrote:
SirCav wrote:

No lid and she appears to be wearing earplugs/headphones... #justsaying

Seriously, I mean seriously. Are you just out to pick a fight? Wind your neck back in.

You give the impression you are looking for a fight? Calm yourself. I was happy to read SirCav's words as a light hearted comment...

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parksey [343 posts] 2 years ago
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Maureen Holding wrote:

We’re almost swamped with visitors in the summer. This will bring many more visitors to the area.

And this is a bad thing why?

oozaveared has this spot on. The New Forest is a tourist destination, and the many actual locals who make their living from tourism would only welcome more visitors.

Sadly, a very vocal group of affluent retired sorts who have moved into the Forest over the years seem to be doing everything they can to actually discourage people from visiting, cyclists or otherwise.

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giff77 [1258 posts] 2 years ago
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fatty wrote:
giff77 wrote:
SirCav wrote:

No lid and she appears to be wearing earplugs/headphones... #justsaying

Seriously, I mean seriously. Are you just out to pick a fight? Wind your neck back in.

You give the impression you are looking for a fight? Calm yourself. I was happy to read SirCav's words as a light hearted comment...

Not looking a fight. Just cannot figure out why a post in regards to a bike hire scheme in the New Forest requires a comment about the lack of a helmet etc. And anyway my pain relief for a broken ankle isn't due yet so maybe I'm a bit grumpier than normal.

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simon.thornton [44 posts] 2 years ago
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Masters of stereotypical humour.
Playing the part to perfection ............

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Forester [119 posts] 2 years ago
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I cycle in the forest every day and the roads around Brock are not cycle friendly, also the gravel tracks available to cyclists are very limited. The infrastructure needs improving as part of the package. Ironically, horse riders can go where they like and are determined to keep it that way, and it seems to be commoners who oppose access to the more remote forest most vocally. if you cycle alone, most horse riders are fine. It is a complex issue, and heavy Boris bikes may not be the answer.

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Dan Braddock [1 post] 2 years ago
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If people in the New Forest don't want cyclists then how about using the money elsewhere?

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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I wonder if the 'residents' of the new forest are ever happy about anything?

I'm almost tempted to round up a few mates and all drive down there and drive round and around causing rolling congestion with our cars, because obiously they like cars and would be happy to see a collection of such lovely cars causing/worsening traffic. I would say that i won't go back to brokenhurst (a couple of nice hotels that i've stayed at with the mrs) but i don't think the people who that would disadvantage would be the moaning whining prats that are complaining about visitors when they live in a 'tourist' destination...its a bit like people who buy a house near an airport complaining about flight noise...

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nicholassmith [92 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

We’re almost swamped with visitors in the summer. This will bring many more visitors to the area.

I know living in a tourist area must suck at times, but it's good for the life of an area for the entire year. Businesses are probably more than happy at more visitors who spend their pounds, so clearly they don't speak for everyone there.

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JeevesBath [181 posts] 2 years ago
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md6 wrote:

I wonder if the 'residents' of the new forest are ever happy about anything?

I'm almost tempted to round up a few mates and all drive down there and drive round and around causing rolling congestion with our cars, because obiously they like cars and would be happy to see a collection of such lovely cars causing/worsening traffic.

Be sure to have your bicycles on the car rack while you're at it, so you can show how considerate you're being by using the car instead of cycling.

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Paul M [362 posts] 2 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

I told you about this lot last week. They bought second homes in a National Park, they like the Park, the scenery, the open spaces, and the freedom to roam. The one thing they don't want is visitors coming to a National Park and sharing it. They want it to themselves.

I was born in the Forest. My brother still lives there. There are vocal newcomers who want to pull up the barricades. They even moan about the scouts using the Forest and the scouts have been using it for over 100 years.

Most locals want to earn a living. A lot of them do that in the tourism industry in around the forest. Hotels, pubs, shop visitor attractions, even petrol stations. They do want more visitors. The already wealthy and retired people that make up a very vocal group could not care less that their fellow residents often have to leave the Forest to make a living.

If you don't want visitors don't buy a second home in National Park designed for people to visit and enjoy the countryside.

That of course in a general sense is the curse of all pretty rural settings. Chocolate-box villages become dormitories for commuters or even worse they become weekender villages, local people are priced out of the market. The incomers shop in Waitrose on their drive down from Fulham so the local Spar goes out of business. The village school dies, soon to be followed by the village pub. As soon as someone suggests that new homes are needed to accommodate all the indigenous folk who can no longer afford the prices of the traditional properties, the incomers scream blue murder about traffic and congestion and loss of amenity or character.

The notion that local people's jobs, businesses and livelihoods could be enhanced by a scheme like this will cut no ice with the incomers. The prospect of being slightly slowed down on their journey back to the smoke or the run to the supermarket or worse still being able to access their house on foot only for a couple of hours whips them up into a lather.

It is high time the real foresters told these people to stick their objections where the sun don't shine.

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jollygoodvelo [1564 posts] 2 years ago
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Having thought about this a little more and discussed it with the soigneuse...

What about the existing businesses providing cycle hire in the Forest? In Brock especially.

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David Portland [83 posts] 2 years ago
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Gizmo_ beat me to it. I have no truck with the New Forest NITBYTWIVRM*s but the National Park has loads of bike hire companies. I'm not sure why it needs a Boris Bike-style scheme.

What would really be a boost would be an actual sensible off-road network that actually goes places, rather than random unconnected circles.

*Not In The Back Yard To Which I Very Recently Moved

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oozaveared [947 posts] 2 years ago
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David Portland wrote:

Gizmo_ beat me to it. I have no truck with the New Forest NITBYTWIVRM*s but the National Park has loads of bike hire companies. I'm not sure why it needs a Boris Bike-style scheme.

What would really be a boost would be an actual sensible off-road network that actually goes places, rather than random unconnected circles.

*Not In The Back Yard To Which I Very Recently Moved

There is a sensible off road network. The Forest has been there for nearly a millenium. The off road tracks were not created to go nowhere. The person that first walked them was going somewhere and the people that came later and made the track with their usage were going to the same place. But the places they used to go may not still be useful or aparrent. But actually you can use the tracks and paths to navigate about quite easily.

It's better if you know where you are going because some of the cycle maps are designed to give you a circular family ride from a convenient car park. But go exploring and just take a compass. You'll pretty quickly find a path going your way.