Update: Business leader backs Manor Royal staff call for cycle path

Rosemary French, OBE, Executive Director, Gatwick Diamond Initiative
jpco-17-12-14-RosemaryFrench SUS-141012-151725001
Rosemary French, OBE, Executive Director, Gatwick Diamond Initiative jpco-17-12-14-RosemaryFrench SUS-141012-151725001

Manor Royal employees have called for a cycle path along the A264 between Crawley and Horsham.

Gatwick Diamond Business Initiative’s executive director Rosemary French OBE raised the issue at a Horsham District Cycling Forum (HDCF) meeting last night (Tuesday April 5).

Ms French said she ‘shocked’ fellow cycle campaigners by insisting on the plan during a discussion over options for a route between the towns.

She said: “I strongly believe that we need to have the cycle route track on the A264.”

Ms French backed managing directors and workers from several Manor Royal companies’ calls for a commuter-friendly route along the A264. She said she was determined to see it built because funds were available for it through the Capital to Coast Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

She urged Horsham campaigners at the meeting who were instead calling for a cyclepath via an A264 underpass dubbed the ‘Missing Link’ to throw their weight behind the plan.

She said: “It’s absolutely critical - we are in a new age of sustainable transport.

“We have almost 100 per cent employment in Crawley so businesses are deperately trying to seek staff as they grow.

“Many of these companies have well-paid staff who want to cycle for health reasons and staff on lower wages to save money.

“People are looking for more than salary and the ability to cycle easily to work is important when people are thinking of going for jobs [in Manor Royal].”

She added: “Everyone’s talking about it but what we don’t have is someone standing up at a junction counting the number of cyclists going past.

“I’ve seen some terrible near misses with cyclists - they are flashing as much as they can but at night it’s really difficult to see them.

“[WSCC] are completely forgetting about a simple commuting problem that exists in Sussex.”

Ms French said WSCC needed to conduct a study of the need for the route in order to bid for LEP funding. She hoped developers for the Kilnwood Vale development west of Bewbush and developer for a 2,500 homes plan north of Horsham, Liberty, would back the route.

Traffic consultants working on Kilnwood Vale’s travel plan are consulting HDCF on cycle access to the housing development west of Bewbush. HDCF secretary Peter Silburn said public demand for a cycle route via an A264 underpass in Horsham dubbed the ‘Missing Link’ had increased.

A spokeswoman for WSCC said: “West Sussex County Council is working with partners to look at possible options for a future LEP bid.

“This will include investigating transport and connectivity options and any required supporting studies.”

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