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Local government wanted to allow shared use of the promenade - but Westminster disagrees

The movement behind reintroducing cycling along the promenade at Eastbourne has been dealt a blow with the government rejecting the local council’s plans.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has told Eastbourne Borough Council that it may not amend the by-law to permit cycling on the promenade between Fisherman’s Green and the Wish Tower.

DCLG has said that it should instead implement a full cycling and walking strategy in the area.

The DCLG added that there had been numerous complaints to the shared use scheme, an announcement welcomed by objectors.

A council spokesperson told the Eastbourne Herald, “While this is a setback for a great many cyclists in Eastbourne, the DCLG has given a very clear steer that the door remains open subject to further work being undertaken.

“To this end meetings with East Sussex County Council are already underway and we can assure everyone interested in a safe and sustainable cycling and walking network across Eastbourne, the council will do all it can to advance this process.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said, “We will continue to work with Eastbourne council and the local community on the development of improved walking and cycling facilities across the town.”

A local Conservative spokesperson said, “We asked the council to pause any lifting of the by-law before an integrated cycling and walking strategy was in place.

“We want more people cycling in the town however this must be part of an integrated transport system rather than using a sticking plaster approach that doesn’t take into account the views of pedestrians and vulnerable people.”

Conservative MP Caroline Ansell said, “I’m not surprised at this decision as there was no clear plan and local consensus.”

Back in 2015 we reported how a public consultation gave hope to cyclists who wanted to use the promenade

Eastbourne’s Lib Dems suggested lifting the ban, and a 28 day public consultation began, before the final decision on creating a shared use path went to East Sussex County Council.

The opposition Conservative group on the council however, fiercely opposed any lifting of the bylaw.

Now, it seems central government has weighed in, and not in favour of the cyclists.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.