Press Notice - 29 Jan 2014
Getting into the South Downs National Park and to University from Brighton has become safer and easier for cyclists thanks to a new cycle path officially opened today by Lord de Mauley, Under-secretary of State for the Environment. The path, created thanks to a partnership between the National Park Authority, Brighton & Hove City Council, and East Sussex County Council, allows cyclists to get from Woodingdean to Falmer without having to negotiate dangerous traffic on the B2123. The path is just one of hundreds of joint initiatives set out in the first ever Partnership Management Plan for the South Downs National Park, launched today.
More than three times as many people have already been counted cycling from Woodingdean to Falmer, starting to use the path even before it was finished. It’s more than ten years since the need for an alternative route for cyclists on this busy road was identified. But it has only been made possible in the last year thanks to a £5 million partnership investment to improve cycling across the South Downs National Park.
Dr Jon Mitchell, a keen cyclist and researcher at the University of Sussex, uses the route every day:
“This stretch of road is quite narrow, and I know that stops people from wanting to cycle. The new cycle path takes people away from the traffic and means that more people can use their bikes to discover another way to get to work or university. The path also opens up the South Downs National Park. There are fantastic views from the path, which should also encourage more people to get out and explore further on their bikes.”
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley, said:
“National Parks are some of our most treasured places and this new cycle path will open up the beautiful South Downs for more people to enjoy. Tourism is vital to provide income to our National Parks and initiatives like this help to boost the rural economy.”
Councillor Pete West Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee said:
“This cycle path means more people will have a safer journey as they travel between Woodingdean, the University, The Amex Community Stadium and the South Downs National Park. It is a beautiful part of our local landscape and I hope this will mean more people enjoy the magnificent views.”
Councillor Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said:
“In this area we’re blessed with beautiful countryside and the new cycle route will allow cyclists to follow a safe, traffic-free route through some stunning scenery. The scheme is a wonderful example of partnership working and will be of great benefit to residents of both East Sussex and Brighton & Hove, as well as visitors to the region.”
During his first visit to the South Downs since he became the minister responsible for National Parks, Lord de Mauley also met local farmer David Taylor who has diversified his traditional mixed farm to include camping and a cycle hire business.
David Taylor added:
“We introduced a campsite on our farm three years ago and in 2013 also started to offer bike hire. Being able to market ourselves as a base to enjoy the South Downs National Park and take advantage of new opportunities for cycling is a great boost to our business.”
Margaret Paren, Chair of the National Park Authority, said:
“National Park designation is adding benefits for people living in and around the South Downs through new partnerships and national investment. The Partnership Management Plan for the South Downs National Park, launched today, demonstrates how people and organisations are working together to care for and protect these very special landscapes. Our partnership with East Sussex County Council and Brighton and Hove City Council is just one of the many examples of exciting new projects that are being put in place.”
The Plan sets out a shared vision for how the NPA and its partners would like the National Park to be in the future. It includes 11 long-term outcomes, and provides a framework for communities, landowners, charities, businesses and public bodies to work together to make this vision and these outcomes a reality. In particular where all partners can make a tangible difference over the next five years. A full copy is available to read at www.southdowns.gov.uk/pmp
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